Manchester United welcome high-flying Chelsea to Old Trafford on Sunday knowing that anything but a win virtually rules Louis van Gaal’s side out of the title reckoning barely nine matches into the campaign. United are ten points off the pace and Chelsea will be looking to exploit the defensive worries of the home side to claim their 2nd win at Old Trafford in 3 years. Let’s take a look at the lineup Louis van Gaal may start with to rattle Mourinho and co.
Formation: 4-4-2 diamond
David De Gea
David De Gea had a shaky start to the season but made amends with a man of the match performance against Everton. The Spaniard is one of the best shot-stoppers in the world and would be called upon against a very strong Chelsea attacking foursome.
Rafael, Jones, Rojo, Shaw.
Rafael is an integral part of the diamond system as the Brazilian offers much needed width down the right flank, providing attacking options with his overlaps and quality crosses into the box. Remember the Rooney goal vs QPR?
Phil Jones blows hot and cold. Miserably out of position for West Brom’s second goal on Sunday despite a disciplined performance in the match. The young England defender needs to step up against the Blues.
With doubts over Jonny Evans’ and Chris Smalling’ availability, Marcos Rojo is likely to continue in defence, despite being prone to crucial positional errors.
Luke Shaw is one of the most promising left backs in the world, and having been brought up in a family which supports Chelsea, the 19-year old would be keen to make an impression.
Blind, Fellaini, Di Maria, Mata.
Although Daley Blind gets little support from an inconsistent defence, the Dutchman has been pivotal to Manchester United this season. And how he stops the likes of Oscar and Fabregas from calling the shots would make an interesting watch.
Marouane Fellaini came off the bench to score his first United goal against the Baggies and would be an able replacement for the lightweight Ander Herrera.
Angel Di Maria has been in scintillating form since joining United and should overcome his injury worries to start against Chelsea. The silky Argentine has 3 goals and 4 assists since joining United and would be the man van Gaal would look at to create chances for the likes of van Persie and Falcao on Sunday.
Mata had a game to forget against West Brom and seems to be struggling to link up in Wayne Rooney’s absence. But the Spaniard will have a point to prove against his former employers.
Van Persie, Falcao.
Robin van Persie looked ineffective against West Brom and would be looking to produce an inspired performance to kickstart both his and United’s campaign.
Falcao was used as a super-sub at the Hawthorns on Monday, but his aerial prowess and technical ability makes him a threat against a Chelsea backline which have no lack of quality or experience.