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Starting XI Prediction: Manchester United v Chelsea – Barclays Premier League 2015/16

It is, as if, Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United, just cannot catch a break. United faced a fourth straight loss in the past three weeks, which has now seen them exiting the UEFA Champions League and dropping sixth in the Premier League table. The season which was supposed to be the defining one in Van Gaal’s career at Old Trafford seems to be turning in to his worst night mare. None of his tactical plans are working, neither are his players responding to him in a way that he would like. It has left the team’s position and the fans hurting.

There has not been any announcements from the club regarding his future at the club but it is more than likely that he will still be in charge for at least the game against Chelsea, if not longer. No matter the squad that he selects, the problems is that the players are not turning up and that’s the first thing that needs to change. But another thing that has to be corrected is playing players in their suitable roles. There also has to be a better plan B but that needs to start with having an appropriate plan A for which he needs to get it right while selecting his team.

Formation:

It goes without saying that Van Gaal will opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation as he has always been doing so in this season. If these results could not change his mind regarding the formation then nothing probably would.

Starting XI (4-2-3-1):

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

De Gea is one of the few world class players that United have in their current squad. However, the past few results do not do justice to his talent and skills. There has not been a clean sheet for past few games, let alone a clean sheet win. He can only hope to have a better defensive display by his backline in the coming game.

Full Backs: Guillermo Varela and Daley Blind

Ashley Young has been Van Gaal’s choice to play at right back in spite of having a proper right back in the dug out. However, Young might have picked up an injury in the game against Stoke City where he was seen walking to the bus in flip-flops. In such a case, it looks likely that Varela might get a shout while Blind will keep his left back position. Blind, too, has been a little lackluster in the past few games as his other colleagues but with no real backup, he will keep his place.

Central Defenders: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones

Being bang average in the couple of games after his return from injury, Jones needs to pick up his performance levels soon enough. In past few games a lot of the goals have come off set pieces and that is some thing that the team needs to fight off. Smalling has been generally solid at the back and is the only glimmer of positive that United can boast of.

Midfielders: Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin

Van Gaal might have some blessing on this front as Schweinsteiger’s imposed ban is now over and is available for selection against Chelsea. Also, with Carrick already playing so many games back to back, he might sit this one out, especially after not such great performances. Come back of the “Schmidfield” will be a huge boost for the team and the midfield play might go up a few notches with Schweinsteiger back to lead his men in the middle. Schneiderlin’s quality of interrupting a play build up, is exactly what United missed, especially against Norwich City, where they hit United on counter, twice, resulting in two goals.

Wingers: Andreas Pereira and Memphis Depay

Juan Mata has been having a torrid time out on the pitch for a few games now and Van Gaal might take a chance to play Pereira in his position. Pereira has been utilized in several positions so far and might just be deployed on the right-wing for this game. He had slightly better stats than Mata in spite of being on the pitch for just 12 minutes against Stoke City. Memphis, on the other hand has continued with his spell of inconsistency. A disastrous attempt to head back the ball to De Gea, which resulted in goal, only summed up Memphis’s night at the Britannia stadium. However, with Van Gaal’s belief in his talent he is more likely to be persisted with.

Number 10: Ander Herrera

For some reason, Van Gaal has this habit of putting Fellaini in the number 10 role, which is basically the creative center for any team. A player like Herrera will flourish in this role, rather than in the defensive midfield. With Wayne Rooney dropped against Stoke, the myth that he is undroppable, has been quashed. Hopefully, Van Gaal persists with that and lets Herrera take the role behind the striker.

Striker: Anthony Martial

The only striker with the ability of taking on players and rapid pace, United do not have much to choose from here. He has been the saving grace for United on couple of occasion, in this current run of torrid results. He had an ineffective game against Stoke but would be looking to make amends against Chelsea.

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