Manchester United take their stuttering Premier League charge to West Ham this weekend with Jose Mourinho’s astonishing feud with Paul Pogba taking centre stage.
The United manager is embroiled in a corrosive clash of egos with France midfielder Pogba that threatens to derail his side’s season.
Mourinho and Pogba were filmed in a heated discussion at United’s training ground on Wednesday, just 24 hours after the World Cup winner was told he would no longer be the team’s vice-captain.
The maverick Pogba reportedly infuriated Mourinho by making it clear he wants to join Barcelona and poured fuel on the fire when he criticised the manager’s cautious tactics in last weekend’s draw with Wolves.
There was further woe for Mourinho on Tuesday as United, with the rested Pogba watching from the stands, were dumped out of the League Cup third round in an embarrassing defeat against second tier Derby.
Against that tense backdrop, the announcement of United’s team-sheet at West Ham on Saturday will be eagerly awaited to see whether Pogba will be recalled or be consigned to exile.
The Red Devils are already eight points behind Liverpool and can ill-afford another setback in an already tumultuous campaign.
Elsewhere in the Prem, all eyes will turn to the west side of the capital where Chelsea star Hazard plans to repeat his midweek heroics against Liverpool.
Belgium in-form playmaker Hazard came off the bench to knock Jurgen Klopp’s men out of the League Cup with a superb solo strike at Anfield on Wednesday.
Hazard’s stunning late goal capped Chelsea’s come from behind 2-1 victory, making them the first team to stop Liverpool winning this season.
The pulsating encounter midweek set the stage for Saturday’s rematch at the Bridge, where Liverpool will put their six-match winning run in the league on the line against unbeaten Chelsea, who are two points behind in third place.
Liverpool have failed to win their last four meetings with Chelsea and a victory over Maurizio Sarri’s team would be a major statement of intent as they chase a first English title since 1990.