From Manchester United’s point of view this game will be like sniffing very strong smelling salts. The club has under performed over the last couple of months and they haven’t even played top opposition in that time.
Taking on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a club who are starting to move through the gears in perfect time for spring, is a true acid test for David Moyes.
Such is the drama at Old Trafford this season that Manchester United are no longer talking about titles but fourth position. And, with the other elite clubs all on form, there is a very real possibility that Manchester United will be competing in The Europa League next season.
They certainly can’t afford to lose this game and with the other top teams having straight forward fixtures, on paper at least, even a draw could see United lose more ground. Arsenal beat struggling Fulham, Manchester City ultimately cuffed Cardiff and Liverpool take on Aston Villa at Anfield.
But we think that the line up for this one will hold few surprises. The return of Darren Fletcher could prove to be a game saver this weekend. With Fellaini still not back to full fitness, Tom Cleverley has been awful and the midfield generally overrun. But, with Fletcher back, Manchester United will play a 4-2-3-1 with Carrick and he shielding the defence behind Januzaj, Kagawa and Valencia. Wayne Rooney won’t be fit to spearhead the attack. That could make the difference between a good looking side and one for which any points will be a bonus.
If reports are to be believed Manchester United’s talisman will miss out leaving Danny Welbeck to take his place up front. Phil Jones could be back from injury but he probably won’t be match fit in time. The same can be said of Rio Ferdinand. So, in all likelihood, Vidic and Evans will play in the heart of the defence. The other injury concern is with Patrice Evra but he usually battles through when required – a true titan.
So here is our predicted starting XI vs Chelsea, based on Wazza being injured.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea, Evra, Vidic, Evans, Rafa, Carrick, Fletcher, Januzaj, Kagawa, Valencia, Welbeck
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