Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Thursday, 28 April. The Red Devils have been struggling immensely lately with just one win in their last five league matches. It is not expected to get any easier for them against the Blues.
Being third with 65 points in the table, Chelsea could receive a major boost in securing their Champions League spot with a win against United. However, even a victory cannot guarantee a place in Europe next season for the hosts. They are sixth, six points behind Arsenal (4th) and four points behind Tottenham Hotspur (5th), having played one more game than both teams.
Chelsea and Manchester United have everything to fight for
The last time these two teams met, the final outcome was a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in November. With the stakes very high this time around, it is unlikely that the result will be on similar lines.
Both clubs are missing some of their key players with injuries. The onus will be on the away side to capitalize on Manchester United’s poor form recently. Here, we take a look at how Chelsea could lineup against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
GK: Edouard Mendy
The Senegalese has more often than not been a reliable figure for the Blues. His sharp reflexes and shot-stopping abilities have come to Chelsea’s rescue time and again.
With 13 cleansheets to his name in the league this season, Edouard Mendy has been an impressive performer between the sticks. He will be tested against Manchester United with the counter-attacking abilities the Red Devils possess.
RCB: Cesar Azpilicueta
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has been one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League in the last decade. His versatility and balanced contribution in attack and defense make him a very effective player.
With Reece James likely to be back in the lineup, the Spaniard is likely to play on the right side of a three-man backline. Azpilicueta’s smart reading of the game will come in handy against United.
CB: Thiago Silva
While not many believed him, Chelsea instilled faith in Thiago Silva, signing him in 2020 from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian paid off the club’s trust and has been instrumental in their success.
His leadership and defensive qualities will be needed at their best when the Blues face Manchester United at Old Trafford. With the home side’s vulnerable defense, Silva might even end up scoring a goal or two through set-pieces.
LCB: Antonio Rudiger
Antonio Rudiger is arguably one of the best defenders in the world right now. The German has been in amazing form in the 2021-22 campaign, making 47 appearances in all competitions so far.
Rudiger will be a key player against Manchester United. His aggressive approach at the back will be important in Chelsea’s aspirations to win this fixture.
RWB: Reece James
Reece James missed out against West Ham United in their last game in the Premier League with a hamstring injury. With Thomas Tuchel optimistic about the Englishman being fit on time, it will be a boost for the Blues.
With his attacking approach, James has been one of the finest wing-backs in the Premier League this season. United left-back Alex Telles has not been the most effective defensively and may find it difficult against the English defender.
It was a match to forget for Jorginho against West Ham United, having missed a penalty against the Hammers. The Italian is more than a reliable figure when it comes to taking spot-kicks.
Jorginho will be hoping to bounce back with a strong performance against Manchester United. His partnership with N’Golo Kante in midfield will be a key factor in the outcome.
CM: N’Golo Kante
The Frenchman is arguably one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League. That being said, N’Golo Kante hasn’t been at his best this season.
The Chelsea midfielder should start with Mateo Kovacic out with an injury, ahead of Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Kante’s energy and high work-rate in midfield should make a difference for the Blues at Old Trafford.
LWB: Marcos Alonso
Ben Chilwell has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a cruciate ligament injury. This has only increased the responsibility of Marcos Alonso as the club’s left-back/left wing-back.
That being said, the Spaniard hasn’t disappointed. With his attacking approach, Alonso has done pretty well and remains a valuable asset when the Blues face Manchester United.
CAM: Mason Mount
Without a doubt, Mason Mount has been one of Chelsea’s best players this season as is their top scorer in the league. With 10 goals and nine assists to his name, the English midfielder has been one of the best goal contributors in the Premier League.
His creativity and attacking abilities make him a massive player irrespective of the stature of the game. Mount can exploit Manchester United’s weaknesses in defense and help his team’s cause.
ST: Kai Havertz
The German attacker may have struggled with his consistency but he has been in and around goals. Kai Havertz has so far scored seven goals and registered two assists in the Premier League.
He has come up with crucial goals this campaign and is likely to start at Old Trafford this Thursday. Between Havertz and Romelu Lukaku, the former is likely to get the nod, given his efficiency in front of goal.
ST: Timo Werner
It has not been the best of seasons for Timo Werner at Chelsea but two goals in his last three league games have helped his cause. The German striker was on the scoresheet against both Southampton and Arsenal.
Using his blistering pace and amazing goal-scoring abilities, Werner will remain a threat against Manchester United. Given his current form, he is more than likely to start against the Red Devils.