Starting XI Prediction: 4-3-3; Rashford, Lukaku, and Sanchez tasked with sinking Chelsea at Stamford Bridge


Manchester United head to Stamford Bridge for the second time this season, taking on Chelsea in the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup. This could be the best chance for United to win a trophy this season and possibly the most realistic chance of that happening, although there is a lot of work to do in order to get there. United need to bounce back after a 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first defeat of his caretaker manager role at the club.

United have lost Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to injury and both Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian are unavailable for this match. Solskjaer did suggest that both Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong could be in the travelling squad for this game, which would be good for the pair and United, with players short due to injury. Chelsea are not in the best of form for the past few weeks, if not more. Losing 6-0 to Manchester City and 4-0 to Bournemouth in the last six matches could leave them feeling nervous.

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea is unlikely to be rotated in this match, although Sergio Romero has been used in this competition in the victories over Reading and Arsenal so far this season. It is fair to say the Argentinian could be given an opportunity ahead of De Gea, leaving the Spanish number one to prepare for Liverpool at Old Trafford on the 24 February. De Gea would be my preferred goalkeeper in this game though, no disrespect to Romero who has done well when called upon since he signed for United nearly four years ago.

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Defence: Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw

United will need to rotate the defensive line against Chelsea, still keeping some strength. I am not sure that Eric Bailly is suited to this club as he seems to make too many mistakes, despite looking like a great buy under Jose Mourinho two and a half years ago. Diogo Dalot could replace Ashley Young at right-back and Chris Smalling could replace Bailly. Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw will both keep their places in the starting XI.

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Midfield: Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

United need their best players on the pitch against Chelsea. However, rotation may be needed with Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, and Paul Pogba seeming tired against PSG on Tuesday evening. On their day, this midfield trio is able to do what needs to be done. Fred could come in for Herrera, which would be a good run for the Brazilian, who seems to have been left out at this stage of the season. Matic and Pogba may have to play on, for now.

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Forward Three: Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez

United have two very good attacking players on the sidelines through injury, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial. Marcus Rashford could switch to the right-wing, which is not ideal but would be better than Juan Mata in that position. However, Tahith Chong could start in this position, which would be great but maybe unlikely. If Rashford plays on the right, Romelu Lukaku could play in the central role with Alexis Sanchez on the left, both of them needing a performance to whet the appetites of the United faithful.

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