Match Preview: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Needing just the one point to guarantee Champions League football for the 2023-24 season, Manchester United‘s final Premier League home game of the season takes place on Thursday, as Chelsea make the trek to Old Trafford.

The Red Devils are on the brink of sealing a top-four finish thanks to their 1-0 win over Bournemouth last weekend, while the mid-table Blues lost by the same scoreline to newly-crowned champions Manchester City.

Sitting three points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand, the fourth-placed Red Devils will assure themselves of a place in next season’s Champions League – where Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle United will also be present – should they avoid defeat on Thursday night, but they will get a second bite of the cherry against Fulham on Sunday if they fall short here.

Ten Hag will no doubt aim to wrap up a top-four finish on Thursday before attention turns to their FA Cup final date with bitter rivals Manchester City, and despite a few frailties on the road, Man United have been the toughest nut to crack at home in the current Premier League season.

Indeed, the Red Devils have conceded just eight times at the Theatre of Dreams in the 2022-23 top flight – winning each of their last four without shipping a goal and keeping clean sheets in each of their last six – which certainly does not make for pleasant reading for a goal-shy Chelsea crop.

As well as their known plethora of absentees, Man United were forced to cope without Marcus Rashford for the second week running against Bournemouth; the Englishman missed out against Wolverhampton Wanderers with a leg injury before coming down with a bug.

Rashford is expected to fight off his illness in time to start at Old Trafford, but all of Lisandro Martinez (foot), Tom Heaton (ankle), Donny van de Beek (knee), Marcel Sabitzer (knee) and the departing Phil Jones (knee) will watch on from the sidelines.

With Rashford fit and firing, Anthony Martial will be expected to make way after his sour reaction to being substituted against Bournemouth – which Ten Hag played down after the game – and the Red Devils head coach should name his strongest lineup on Thursday before potentially resting players against Fulham if their top-four spot is rubber-stamped.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Lindelof, Shaw; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Fernandes, Sancho; Rashford

About Vince Rosetta 195 Articles
A life long Manchester United fan based in the US.

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