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With two home wins in their last two games at Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United hopes to make it three home wins in-a-row as they welcome Jose Mourinho and Chelsea to the North West. Having dropped out of the top four due to their draw on Monday at West Brom, the Red Devils will be looking to seal three big points this Sunday in their toughest test of the season.
Chelsea is the form team in the Barclays Premier League (BPL) unbeaten on 22 points registering 7 wins and a draw from their 8 fixtures thus far. Mourinho himself will be aware that this is a big test for his boys against a Man United team that is improving with each game. The Blues has been tipped as favourites to lift the BPL title ahead of champions Manchester City and the Stamford Bridge team has been mesmerizing and there is also a thought that they could finish the season unbeaten.
The Blues could be without star striker Diego Costa who is still struggling for fitness with his troubled hamstring while Loic Remy has already been ruled out. Cesar Azpilicueta is suspended for this clash after receiving a red card in their win at Crystal Palace which means 29 year old Filipe Luis should feature at left back. Skipper John Terry and Gary Cahill should continue their solid defensive partnership with Branislav Ivanovic expected to be at right back.
Summer signing and midfield dictator Cesc Fabregas will be the man pulling the strings in midfield for Chelsea with Nemanja Matic providing a shield in front of the defence with his power and ability to cover the ground quickly. Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar are expected to provide the creativity for Didier Drogba or Andre Schurrle up front if Costa isn't fit enough to take part.
The Red Devils has been enduring an injury nightmare but has seen some of their senior players returning. Van Gaal is likely to stick with the back four of Rafeal at right back, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo in the centre and Luke Shaw at left back protecting the improving David De Gea in goal.
With Michael Carrick featuring in the U21 win over West Ham, Daley Blind should be the man shielding the defence with Ander Herrera his partner in the heart of midfield. Angel Di Maria is the obvious threat in attack along with Juan Mata who is up against his former club. Adnan Januzaj could play in a wide position as he did on Monday night in a 5-man midfield. With Wayne Rooney serving his final match suspension, Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie are the choices up front with the Colombian likely to start against Mourinho’s men.
This is a very big clash as Chelsea is already 10 points clear of United who cannot afford for the Blues to extend that lead. Old Trafford will be buzzing and a great atmosphere is expected with the Stretford End hoping to drive their heroes onto victory. Chelsea is the favourite in this game but at Old Trafford Manchester United can get the better of any team.
In other games this weekend, West Ham will hope to continue their impressive run when Manchester City visits Upton Park, Liverpool hosts Hull City, Stoke City travels to Southampton, Sunderland hopes to ambush Arsenal at the Stadium of Light, West Brom welcomes Crystal Palace and Swansea City entertains Leicester City at the Liberty Stadium all on Saturday.
On Sunday, Everton makes the trip to Turf Moor to tackle Burnley and Tottenham will look to bounce back from the defeat to Man City when Newcastle visits White Hart Lane. On Monday, Harry Rednapp’s QPR will be aiming to shoot down Aston Villa when they play at Loftus Road.