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Home > Blog Post > 4-2-3-1 With Ronaldo, Sancho & DVDB | How United’s Starting XI Under Michael Carrick Could Look Like Against Chelsea

4-2-3-1 With Ronaldo, Sancho & DVDB | How United’s Starting XI Under Michael Carrick Could Look Like Against Chelsea

Chelsea vs Manchester United

Manchester United travel to Chelsea as the Red Devils aim to register their second victory in seven league games on Sunday. Following week-long speculation surrounding the appointment of a new manager, the club have reportedly agreed on a deal for the highly-revered Ralf Rangnick on a 6-month interim basis followed by which the German is expected to be positioned in a senior “consultancy” role at the club.

The Manchester United fan base has been filled with palpable optimism since the reports, however, a trip to Chelsea potentially awaits a final dent before Rangnick takes over as the club’s interim manager next week. Michael Carrick is set to remain in charge of United at Stamford Bridge, with the current coaching set-up to be assessed by the incoming German over the next couple of days.

Michael Carrick, Chelsea vs Manchester United
Image Obtained via Sky Sports

Fred is the latest addition to United’s injury list. The Brazilian remains doubtful for the trip to Chelsea, picking an ankle problem in the mid-week tie against Villarreal. In addition, Luke Shaw could miss his second consecutive game, provided he is deemed unfit owing to concussion protocols. Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba, and Mason Greenwood remain out of contention, though the former and the latter could, at most, be included on the bench this weekend.

With the appointment of Rangnick imminent, many expect United to display an energetic performance on Sunday. Having picked up a crucial victory – securing qualification for the next round of the UCL – against Villarreal mid-week, the Red Devils will be aiming to capitalize on Chelsea’s injury concerns in a bid to extract a decent result at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

Chelsea vs Manchester United: Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1)

Facing, arguably, the most proactive and consistent side within Europe in recent seasons, the Red Devils are likely to approach the game in a calculative manner. Having potentially taken notes from United’s solid performance mid-week, Carrick is expected to adopt a risk-averse, rigid approach, to secure a positive result on Sunday.

However, given the potential absence of a couple of energetic players, United could falter quickly provided they fail in executing their task diligently. Nevertheless, provided they remain disciplined for large portions of the game, the Red Devils are certainly capable of causing an upset at Stamford Bridge.


David de Gea (GK) – Having been instrumental in keeping his team from conceding in the first-half against Villarreal, the Spaniard’s form suggests he is unlikely to be dropped anytime soon. De Gea registered only his third clean sheet across all competitions mid-week and will be hoping to increase his tally going forward.

Given the hosts’ attacking prowess and United’s defensive deficiencies, De Gea’s presence will be pivotal if the Red Devils are to secure at least a point on Sunday.


Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – Wan-Bissaka’s defensive attributes will, undoubtedly, be vital if the Red Devils are to be defensively solid on Sunday. Given Chelsea’s quick transitions, the right-back’s 1v1 attributes combined with his energy will be pivotal to shutting down the Blues’ operations from the left-flank and hopefully contribute to United’s breaking up play and triggering counter-attacks at Stamford Bridge.

Having displayed a decent performance against Villarreal, the right-back will be aiming to build upon his confidence this weekend.

Victor Lindelof (CB) – Amongst the overlooked performers against Villarreal, the Swedish centre-back has grown increasingly convincing in his performances in recent fixtures. Besides displaying a solid defensive performance, Lindelof was a vital part of the team’s aggressive second-half approach against Villarreal, thus, improving his chances of retaining his place for Sunday.

Victor Lindelof, Chelsea vs Manchester United
Creator: Matthew Peters | Credit: Manchester United via Getty Images

Eric Bailly (CB) – With Harry Maguire missing out due to suspension, the Ivorian is expected to fill in as his replacement against Chelsea. Since being substituted at half-time against Manchester City, Bailly has been reduced to a squad role; failing to get minutes despite the poor form of his competitors. A rare opportunity for the Ivorian, provided he displays a remarkable performance, Bailly could potentially see an increase in minutes granted by the incoming manager.

Alex Telles (LB) – Provided Luke Shaw fails to make the match-day squad, Telles is likely to replace the English left-back on Sunday. Having displayed comparatively disciplined defensive performance mid-week, the Brazilian could potentially see his game-time improve provided he successfully executes a demanding role against Chelsea. Much like the other fringe players, a convincing performance could see Telles move up the ranks, potentially displacing Shaw for the remainder of the campaign under Rangnick’s management.


Scott McTominay (CDM) – With Fred doubtful to make the starting line-up, McTominay is likely to be deployed as the team’s defensive presence in midfield. Although the Scotsman has repeatedly failed to execute the role with assurance, given the lack of energetic options, McTominay is likely to be given the nod ahead of Nemanja Matic on Sunday. Currently enduring a sour patch of form, it remains to be seen if the Scotland international redeems himself against a significantly superior Chelsea midfield at Stamford Bridge.

Fred, Mctominay, Chelsea, Manchester United
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Donny van de Beek (CM) – Failing to kick on from his impressive cameo against Watford, a calculated game-plan saw the Dutchman deployed in a comparatively disciplined role against Villarreal. With Bruno Fernandes expected to retain his position, Van de Beek is likely to be slotted into a box-to-box role on Sunday.


Jadon Sancho (RW) – Fresh off bagging his first goal for Manchester United, the 20-year-old is seemingly beginning to deliver to his potential. Sancho’s impressive cameos earned him a start against Villarreal, and the winger is likely to make the match-day eleven against Chelsea. Given his creative vision, Sancho’s link-up ability combined with his defensive work rate may prove to be pivotal to United’s attacking approach against the Blues.

Bruno Fernandes (CAM) – Starting on the bench mid-week, the midfielder’s cameo proved to be substantial as United secured a win against Villarreal. Deployed in a deeper role, Fernandes’ discipline and eye for a pass opened up a multitude of opportunities for the Red Devils as they secured qualification for the next stage of the Champions League. Expected to adopt a similar role this weekend, Fernandes’ presence will be key to United’s goal-scoring opportunities on Sunday.

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Anthony Martial (LW) – Having provided impressive defensive cover on the left-flank against Villarreal, Martial is likely to be deployed in a similar role provided he starts ahead of Marcus Rashford this weekend. Although the Frenchman remains underwhelming in attack, his extensive work rate could potentially be the difference for the visitors.

Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – United’s most potent goal-threat, Ronaldo will have to play a major role if the team are to secure a positive result at Stamford Bridge. Having returned to the score-sheet against Villarreal, the Portuguese’s clinical finishing abilities will be critical if Manchester United are to squeeze a point against Chelsea this weekend. Provided he is given adequate service, Ronaldo possesses the ability to take the game out of the hosts’ reach on Sunday.

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