Manchester United will hope to put an end to Chelsea’s undefeated start to the season during tomorrow’s lunchtime kick-off.
Maurizio Sarri’s side currently sit in second in the Premier League table and only trail Manchester City on goal difference, whilst United are down in eighth and are all already five points off of the top four.
For three of United’s players, tomorrow’s trip to Stamford Bridge will be a familiar one, having previously played for the Blues earlier in their career.
Ahead of tomorrow’s match, we take a look at the former Chelsea and current United trio who will be hoping to come away from South West London with three points tomorrow.
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea 2009-2011 and 2014-2017, Manchester United 2017-present)
In 2009, Nemanja Matic signed for Chelsea from Slovakian side Kosice in a £1.5 million transfer, just a year after spending a trial period with Middlesbrough; after just three senior appearances and a season-long loan with Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, Matic moved to Benfica as part of the swap deal which saw David Luiz move to London in January 2011.
Under the guidance of then Benfica manager, Jorge Jesus, Matic was converted from a playmaker to a holding midfielder, which saw a rapid rise in the Serbian’s development.
He returned to his former club Chelsea three years after leaving for £21 million and instantly became a first-team regular.
During his first full season in the team, Matic guided the Blues, then managed by Jose Mourinho, to their fourth Premier League title and a League Cup trophy.
When Antonio Conte took charge of the club, Matic would again prove to be vital, helping them to another league title.
Many Chelsea fans were shocked when the club decided to sell the now 30-year-old to Manchester United just months after he helped them win the Premier League in 2017 for an initial fee of £35 million. He made 151 appearances and scored seven goals during his second spell with the club.
To date, Matic has featured 57 times for United but is yet to lift any silverware since moving to the North West of England.
He has also earned 45 caps for Serbia, including starts in all three of their matches at this year’s World Cup in Russia.
Juan Mata (Chelsea 2011-2014, Manchester United 2014-present)
Perhaps one of Chelsea’s most underrated signings in the Roman Abramovich era was Spanish midfielder, Juan Mata.
In 2011, Mata signed from Valencia for £23.5 million and Blues fans were certainly not expecting the sheer brilliance they got from him.
After scoring on his debut as a substitute against Norwich City, Mata’s form and popularity took off and for the next two years, he did not look back.
With 12 goals and 20 assists in all competitions during his debut season, he helped Chelsea to win the Champions League and the FA Cup and was subsequently named as the club’s Player of the Year.
Mata then became only the fourth player ever to win the award for a second consecutive season, and his 19 goals and 35 assists in 64 appearances earned Chelsea a Europa League trophy.
When Mourinho returned for his second spell as the Blues’ boss, Mata was frozen out of the starting side, despite his incredible first two seasons for the club.
After just one goal and three assists in 17 matches, Mata was sold to United for £37.1 million in January 2014.
Mata won the FA Cup with the Red Devils in the 2015/16 campaign, before lifting the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League titles with them in the following campaign.
He is currently reunited with the man whose reluctance to play him at Chelsea lead to his exit, Mourinho.
In a red shirt, Mata has scored 41 goals and created 34 more in his 193 appearances.
Outside of football, Mata is the founder of the Common Goal organisation, which encourages people in football to donate 1% of their salary to charity. Since devising the concept in August 2017, over 50 players, coaches and businesses from across the men’s and women’s game have joined the pledge, including Juventus’ Giorgio Chiellini, Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels and FC Nordsjaelland.
Mata is also a World Cup winner, having lifted world football’s greatest team accolade with Spain in 2010. Two years later, he also helped them to win the European Championships. He currently has 41 international caps to his name but he has not played for his country in almost two years.
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea 2011-2014, Romelu Lukaku 2017-present)
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku signed for Chelsea from Anderlecht in 2011 for £18 million.
His time at Chelsea was a rather bleak one, failing to score in any of his 15 senior appearances for the club.
Lukaku was just 18 when he initially signed for the Blues, and after loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and Everton, where the young forward flourished, Lukaku signed for the latter in 2014 for £28 million.
After scoring 87 times in his four seasons, with the Toffees, Lukaku moved to Manchester United last year in a deal worth up to £90 million.
His opening season at Old Trafford saw him net 27 times in all competitions as he helped them to a second place finish in the Premier League.
Earlier this year, Lukaku scored four goals at the World Cup as Belgium finished in third place, their best-ever finish at the tournament.
At the age of just 25, Lukaku already has 45 international goals to his name, 15 more than any other player in the country’s history. He is also their 15th most capped player ever (79) and has the 28th most goals for an individual in the Premier League’s history (105).