David Luiz v Zlatan Ibrahimovic: the key battle when Chelsea face Manchester United analysed

David Luiz and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will clash at Stamford Bridge
David Luiz and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will clash at Stamford Bridge

Will David Luiz or Zlatan Ibrahimovic come out on top when Chelsea host Manchester United? We check the stats…

Luiz and Ibrahimovic played their final game together for Paris Saint-Germain on May 21 – the 4-2 French Cup final win against Marseille – bringing to an end two trophy-laden seasons as team-mates.

Just over five months later, the pair are set to renew acquaintances, this time as rivals when Luiz’s Chelsea host Ibrahimovic’s United on Super Sunday.

David Luiz and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG 2014-2016

Seasons 2
League titles 2
Trophies 6
Starts together 51
Wins 35
Draws 8
Defeats 8

Luiz returned to Stamford Bridge for £30m on transfer deadline day to play under Antonio Conte, his sixth different Chelsea manager over two spells. The fifth of those managers was Jose Mourinho, who is back at Stamford Bridge as United manager on Sunday, 10 months after leaving Chelsea 16th in the Premier League table.

Ibrahimovic and Luiz enjoyed success together at PSG
Ibrahimovic and Luiz enjoyed success together at PSG

Of Luiz’s 148 appearances for Chelsea, 34 came under Mourinho in 2013/14. Although the Blues finished empty handed for trophies that season, Luiz, often from a midfield position, did help contribute towards the best defensive record in the Premier League (conceded 27 goals). In fact, Chelsea only conceded five goals in Luiz’s final 13 Premier League games under Mourinho.

David Luiz record by Chelsea manager

Ancelotti Villas-Boas Di Matteo Benitez Mourinho Conte
Apps (all comps) 12 28 29 40 34 5
Starts 11 28 26 37 29 5
Win % 67% 43% 62% 65% 59% 60%
Goals conceded per game 0.75 1.0 1.4 0.9 0.76 1.4
Clean sheet % 33 39% 31% 35% 50% 40%

Zlatan has never played alongside or under Chelsea boss Conte, but the Italian has made a significant dent on Ibrahimovic’s remarkable record of league title wins. The Swedish striker has finished top of the league in 12 of the last 13 seasons, the only exception being 2011/12, when Conte led Juventus to the Serie A title in his first season in charge, finishing four points above Ibrahimovic’s AC Milan.

Ibrahimovic has gone four Premier League games without a goal
Ibrahimovic has gone four Premier League games without a goal

The only other manager to prevent Ibrahimovic claiming a league title in the last 15 seasons was another man with Chelsea connections – Guus Hiddink – with the Dutchman leading PSV to the 2002/03 Eredivisie title, with Ibrahimovic’s Ajax runners-up.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last 15 seasons

Season Club League position Title-winning manager
2001/02 Ajax 1st Koeman
2002/03 Ajax 2nd Hiddink – PSV
2003/04 Ajax 1st Koeman
2004/05 Juventus 1st Capello
2005/06 Juventus 1st Capello
2006/07 Inter 1st Mancini
2007/08 Inter 1st Mourinho
2008/09 Inter 1st Mourinho
2009/10 Barcelona 1st Guardiola
2010/11 AC Milan 1st Allegri
2011/12 AC Milan 2nd Conte-Juventus
2012/13 PSG 1st Ancelotti
2013/14 PSG 1st Blanc
2014/15 PSG 1st Blanc
2015/16 PSG 1st Blanc

Despite this being Ibrahimovic’s maiden Premier League campaign, it will be the fourth successive season in which he has faced Chelsea following a string of Champions League ties with PSG. They were usually eventful occasions for the Swede, with two goals, an assist and a red card in the three most recent meetings.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic record against Chelsea (all for PSG)

Date competi

tion

Result H/A Goals Shots Assists Red cards
Apr 2014 CLQF 1st leg W3-1 H 1
Feb 2015 CLR16 1st leg D1-1 H 5
Mar 2015 CLR16 2nd leg D2-2 A 1
Feb 2016 CLR16 1st leg W2-1 H 1 7
Mar 2016 CLR16 2nd leg W2-1 A 1 4 1

So far so good for Ibrahimovic against Chelsea – unbeaten in five games out of five – but if Luiz and company bring that record to an end on Sunday, it would see Chelsea move five points clear of United in the Premier League.

David Luiz is back at Chelsea - but was an important player for Jose Mourinho first time around
David Luiz is back at Chelsea – but was an important player for Jose Mourinho first time around

Ibrahimovic will be doing his utmost to make sure that isn’t the case, and to end his current four-game run without a Premier League goal. Another goalless appearance for Zlatan would make this his longest League drought for over six years.

 

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