Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had had just over two weeks rest before the busy end of the season commences. Solskjaer has beaten Frank Lampard’s Chelsea twice already this season, a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford in the Premier League and a 2-1 Carabao Cup victory at the Bridge sees United scoring six goals with one in reply.
Ensuring United win this match will be important and put United back in the right direction. Falling to eighth in the Premier League at the weekend, United find themselves six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and winning this match is necessary as losing it could mean a nine point gap, drawing keeps it at six points. Solskjaer will need to get his team motivated to win as when Chelsea have dropped points recently, they have not gone all out to get what they need.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Chelsea in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
The Spanish number one will lead from the back against Chelsea. He has been in good form in the last few matches that he has played, despite conceding four goals. There have been signs of the player we all know returning and he needs to find his way – continuing to play will help him do just that. United have four matches before the end of the month and De Gea might not play in two of those; against Club Brugge in the Uefa Europa League.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams
I would like to see Eric Bailly form a partnership with Harry Maguire, but after he was missing from the bench against Wolves, it made me wonder whether he was fit. Based on this, Victor Lindelof will keep his place in the centre of defence alongside the England defender. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will start in the right-back position with Brandon Williams returning to the starting XI at the expense of Luke Shaw. I feel this is the best option at this time, granted, Williams does not have bags of experience but this is what he is getting at this moment in time.
Midfield: Fred, Nemanja Matic, Bruno Fernandes
Nemanja Matic was missed against Wolves about a fortnight ago. With him not eligible to play after service a one match suspension, he will come in at a good time. Scott McTominay is expected to miss this game, although that could be wrong. Assuming that he is, Fred will keep his place in the centre of midfield with Bruno Fernandes playing further forward, which is a position that suits him more than the one he played in the second half against Wolves. United need to be creating goals and those further up the pitch, need to be looking for the creativity and utilising it to set the club in the right direction. Failure is not an option.
Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Daniel James
With Marcus Rashford on the sidelines, United are no doubt weaker up front but will have to make do. Against Chelsea, I expect Anthony Martial to lead the line again. I would expect to see Mason Greenwood in the right and Daniel James on the left. Odion Ighalo is expected to be on the bench, but I could be wrong. This forward three is capable of getting the best results, especially with a bit of creativity in the midfield, which is what Fernandes brings to the table. Martial need to become that player who can achieve things though as in the past few matches, he’s not been doing that.
Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira; Odion Ighalo
Sergio Romero will be the backup for De Gea against Chelsea although new goalkeeper Nathan Bishop could possibly be on the bench at some point towards the end of the season. I would like to see Eric Bailly start but his withdrawal against Wolves makes me wonder if he’s fit. Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw can fill the fullback positions, if needed with Dalot also able to play a more advanced role. Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira could be useful from the bench. Odion Ighalo might be an impact player from the bench for this game, if he is fit and ready to go.