Chelsea v Manchester United: Diego Costa in ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in stats-based XI

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Chelsea v Manchester United: Diego Costa in ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in stats-based XI
By WhoScored.com

Diego Costa, David de Gea and Paul Pogba all make it into the team
Diego Costa, David de Gea and Paul Pogba all make it into the team
Costa or Zlatan? Blind or David Luiz? Fellaini or Kante? See which players make it into a stats-based Chelsea v Man Utd XI…

Ahead of Sunday’s Stamford Bridge showdown, much of the focus will be on Jose Mourinho’s return to his former club. But what about the players on the field?

Here, WhoScored.com reveal their highest rated combined XI of the two sides this season based on over 200 raw statistics…

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David de Gea – WhoScored.com rating 6.60
While the Spaniard hasn’t been at his best this season, he was back on form against Liverpool last time out and the 25-year-old edges out Thibaut Courtois (6.38) for the goalkeeping position. De Gea has not only conceded fewer goals than his Belgian counterpart this season (eight v nine) but also made more than twice as many saves (21 to 10).
Antonio Valencia – WhoScored.com rating 7.48

The right-back position was one that Mourinho was expected to strengthen this summer but it appears Antonio Valencia has done enough to convince the Portuguese he needn’t splash out, and understandably so after a strong start to the campaign. The converted winger has made more tackles than any other United player (23) – including a superb last-gasp challenge against Liverpool on Monday night. Up against an out-of-sorts Branislav Ivanovic (7.03), he comfortably made the cut.

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Eric Bailly has made more interceptions than any other Man Utd player
Eric Bailly – WhoScored.com rating 7.30

Eric Bailly has impressed since his big-money summer switch from Villarreal and the strong, athletic 22-year-old has shown he’s able to read the game well, too, with a team-high 29 interceptions. He’s also proven comfortable in possession by completing 88.8 per cent of his passes.

Daley Blind – WhoScored.com rating 7.68

When Mourinho was appointed as manager and subsequently signed Bailly, many felt Daley Blind’s days at United may be numbered. Not so, however, as the Dutchman’s versatility and consistency has proven an invaluable asset to his manager. Deployed at both centre-back and left-back this season, the sense of calm Blind brings to the United defence is abundantly clear and with averages of 2.7 tackles, 2.7 interceptions and two assists to his name, the 26-year old is United’s highest-rated player so far.

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Cesar Azpilicueta – WhoScored.com rating 6.97

The only Chelsea man in the rearguard, Azpilicueta has become known as Mr Dependable in a Blues backline that has been far from it for some time now. The Spaniard isn’t in the mould of a modern day attacking full-back but gets through a huge amount of work, with only N’Golo Kante having completed more passes for Antonio Conte’s men this season (437).

Cesar Azpilicueta takes the left-back position in the combined XI
Cesar Azpilicueta takes the left-back position in the combined XI
Marouane Fellaini – WhoScored.com rating 7.47

While managers have come and gone in recent years at United, Marouane Fellaini has remained a readily used weapon for the club. He may have his doubters but the Belgian has had a very solid start to this campaign, completing the most tackles per game of any player for the Manchester club (3.5), while unsurprisingly winning a lofty 4.8 aerial duels per game and completing 89.9 per cent of his passes.

Ander Herrera – WhoScored.com rating 7.40

Herrera produced a man-of-the-match performance against Liverpool. Seemingly everywhere on the pitch, the midfielder completed a season high of 11 interceptions in a single game, while figures of seven tackles and six dribbles were not bettered in gameweek eight of the Premier League. Another impressive showing on Sunday would surely see the 27-year old cement his place in the side.
Chelsea vs Man Utd
October 23, 2016, 3:30pm
Live on Sky Sports 1 HD
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Willian – WhoScored.com rating 7.67

Given compassionate leave for the game against Leicester following the tragic passing of his mother, Chelsea dedicated the win to Willian and the players, fans and manager would no doubt love to have the Brazilian back available this weekend. The 28-year old was a rare bright spark for the club last season and has begun this campaign in a similar vein, scoring twice and creating the most chances per game (3.8) of any Premier League player thus far.

Paul Pogba – WhoScored.com rating 7.60

Pogba has received plenty of criticism for his performances since his world-record transfer but the Frenchman leads the way for Mourinho’s men in terms of passes (66.4) and dribbles (2.6) per game. However, from an average of 3.3 shots per outing – and given some of the chances that he has had – Pogba should have more than the solitary goal to his name.

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Paul Pogba has had his critics but makes the cut for the stats-based XI
Eden Hazard – WhoScored.com rating 7.59

Hazard seems to be flourishing in Antonio Conte’s favoured formation, given the freedom that he wasn’t afforded under Mourinho last year to work his magic upfield. With three league goals to his name already this season from a much-improved three shots per game, the winger is once again completing more dribbles per game (4.4) than any other Premier League player.

Diego Costa – WhoScored.com rating 7.60

Completing the line-up to take his place ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in this top-rated XI, Costa is back firing on all cylinders under the stewardship of Conte. With two assists alongside a league-high seven goals, the Blues frontman has scored three more than United’s number nine and from considerably fewer shots per game (three to 5.1).

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