Manchester United welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford for Thursday’s Premier League encounter.
The Red Devils have lost their way in the top-four race with back-to-back losses against Liverpool and Arsenal on the road.
They are now six points adrift of Mikel Arteta’s side for the final Champions League spot. The Gunners also have a game in hand .
Hence, their Champions League destiny is no longer in their hands, but there must be a strong response after successive defeats.
Chelsea won’t be an easy opposition with the last three meetings ending in draws, but many United stars are playing for their futures.
With a huge rebuild expected this summer, a number of players have a point to prove to incoming head coach Erik ten Hag.
David de Gea has been one of the stand-out performers for United this campaign. He came up with a couple of crucial saves against the Gunners, but was not sufficient to pick up points. There are no doubts over his position between the sticks.
Ralf Rangnick may try to match the Blues’ three-at-the-back formation, something that has been done by several clubs against them. In this case, Harry Maguire could be reinstated into the heart of the defence alongside Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof.
Diogo Dalot started nervously against the Gunners with a couple of defensive errors, but had a positive outing thereafter. The Portuguese was unlucky not to find the back of the net, having hit the woodwork in both halves. He could start at left wing-back on Thursday.
Alex Telles had a poor outing against the Gunners. His mistimed clearance contributed to the first goal conceded. The Brazilian went on to foul Bukayo Saka in the box which gifted the Gunners with a penalty. It won’t be a surprise if Telles is dropped to the bench.
With the limited options at Ralf Rangnick’s disposal, Aaron Wan-Bissaka looks the likely choice for the right wing-back position. In the centre of the park, Rangnick faces a similar situation with Fred and Paul Pogba on the sidelines with injuries.
Scott McTominay had a tough outing at the Emirates where he struggled to gain possession, but the United graduate should once again line up alongside Nemanja Matic, who showed his class with a lovely assist for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bruno Fernandes had a dismal showing at the weekend. The Portuguese playmaker missed a clear-cut scoring chance at the start before squandering a penalty to make it 2-2.
The 27-year-old was then dispossessed by Mohamed Elneny in the lead-up to Granit Xhaka’s long-range goal. He was eventually fortunate to avoid a sending off for a late lunge on Nuno Tavares.
We fancy Rangnick to axe him from the XI. It could most likely be Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga playing behind Ronaldo, who entered the Premier League record books with his 100th goal on Saturday.
Predicted Man Utd line-up (3-4-2-1): David de Gea; Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic, Diogo Dalot; Anthony Elanga, Jadon Sancho; Cristiano Ronaldo.
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