Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick might be forced to put out an inexperienced squad against Chelsea due to an injury crisis. The side is down to 14 first-team players as the German tries to make a comeback after a poor run of games.
Meanwhile, the Blues look in better form despite their Champions League exit a few weeks back. They laboured to a late win against West Ham last weekend to move closer to securing a top-four finish. Chelsea have not won at Old Trafford in over nine years. This would be a great opportunity to set that record straight and a morale boost before the FA Cup final next month.
Hannibal Mejbri managed to get a few minutes against Liverpool during their 4-0 loss at Anfield. Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata can expect substitute appearances in tonight’s game for sure. United’s U23 left-back Alvaro Fernandez could serve as backup to Telles while forwards Shola Shoretire and Garnacho might be called up from the U-19 squad.
The pairing of Varane-Lindelof is expected to continue in centre-back ahead of De Gea. Matic will take up Pogba’s spot and will provide some freedom for Bruno Fernandes to attack. Elanga and Rashford will look to support Manchester United talisman Ronaldo upfront against a strong Chelsea defence.
Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani have long term calf injuries which put them out till the end of the season. This means they might not play in a United shirt again since their contracts are expiring this summer. Now would be a good time to give opportunities to Lingard, Hannibal and other upcoming academy stars.
Harry Maguire is out with a knee problem and Rangnick confirmed that Sancho is suffering from tonsillitis. The Manchester United winger scored last time they played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and will be a huge miss. A lot of hopes will be pinned on Anthony Elanga for a similar performance this time. Rashford will replace Sancho on the left flank and will relish the opportunity to get back to goal-scoring form.
Ralf Rangnick will hope that Aaron Wan-Bissaka can make it into the squad if he passes a late fitness test to provide cover for Diogo Dalot. Telles will continue at left-back with Shaw out for a few more weeks. Shaw has been suffering from a leg injury and recently underwent surgery to get the bolts removed from his leg. Fred could miss three to four weeks with a hip injury, which is a huge blow to a midfield already plagued with injuries.
No suspensions in the Manchester United team this week.
Manchester United expected line-up against Chelsea (3-5-2): De Gea; Lindelof, Varane, Jones; Dalot, Mctominay, Matic, Telles, Fernandes; Elanga, Ronaldo.
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Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea
Given their current form, there is no way of believing Manchester United coming out with a win tonight against Chelsea. But the Red Devils are a team that can surprise and give a strong performance on their day. They have a team full of firepower and if Ronaldo gets into his stride, no team is safe.
In the last few weeks, the United team seems to be slightly lacklustre and missing the competitive edge. With no trophies to play for and Champions League qualification almost out of their hands, they might find it difficult to motivate themselves. On the other hand, the Blues seem to be looking at securing third place, which requires only three wins out of the last six remaining games.