There’s no doubting that Chelsea are a formidable force at the present time.
A 3-0 victory over Leicester City almost doesn’t do justice to quite how dominant Thomas Tuchel‘s side were at the King Power Stadium.
There was a sense of fluidity and cohesion that ran through the team, even as Mason Mount, so often the standard-bearer, had a quiet game.
All of this without the club’s record signing, Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian is near to a return from his ankle injury, and he is expected to partake in team training on Sunday and Monday. Thomas Tuchel believes if everything goes perfectly he could be available for Juventus and Manchester United.
The former Inter Milan star was signed to provide the focal point that the Blues had so often missed last season, but his absence has forced Kai Havertz in that role.
In his 62-minute outing against Leicester, the German international exhibited everything needed, bar a goal.
The 22-year-old battled up against the physical presence of Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu.
He shone in coming to the halfway line to collect the ball, spinning Evans who had hoped to intercept and then driving towards Schmeichel’s goal. The Northern Ireland international trailing at the Chelsea stars heels, could only bring him down.
Havertz was relentless in his duty, whether it was holding the ball when the Blues midfield needed an outlet or chasing down a lost cause to force a throw in.
When Lukaku is at his best, and even somewhat below, there’s no doubting he can do the same and more as a forward, but returning from injury, he will have to prove he is up to the task to usurp Havertz.
It was surprising to see the German’s appearance cut short, perhaps being offered a rest ahead of the match with Juventus, but it’s clear he is rated by Tuchel.
Speaking ahead of the game with Leicester he said: “This is the right club to bring out the best in him. He simply needs time and grass doesn’t grow faster if you pull it, it still takes time. He is still young, hungry and ambitious.
“We want the best out of him today and tomorrow but at the same time, he is still only 22. There are some years to come from him. If he fights for it, as he fights now to adapt to the Premier League and his positions, there will be goals and assists under his belt. This is sure and I have no doubts.”
Regardless, of who lines up against Manchester United, their defence will be in for a test.
Even before a 4-1 defeat to Watford and the suspension of Harry Maguire, the Red Devils had trouble being combative in defence.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side ranked bottom of the Premier League for total tackles and duels won, 19th in interceptions, aerial duels won and errors leading to a shot.
They won’t be given an easy time against Havertz or Lukaku, or maybe even both.