Manchester United will aim to keep their fleeting hopes of a top-four Premier League finish alive when Chelsea make the journey to Old Trafford on Thursday night.
The Red Devils went down 3-1 to Arsenal at the weekend, while Chelsea left it late to overcome London rivals West Ham United 1-0.
In spite of fleeting optimism that the appointment of Erik ten Hag could galvanize the Man United players – some of whom may be playing for their futures at the club under the new boss – the Red Devils once again lost ground in the race for Champions League football to a direct top-four rival at the Emirates.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 100th Premier League goal after a tragic week was a nice touch for the 37-year-old, but Nuno Tavares, Bukayo Saka and Granit Xhaka struck in a 3-1 success for the Gunners, who certainly rode their luck as Bruno Fernandes missed from the spot in the second half.
Taking just four points from 15 on offer since the start of the month and losing three of their last four means that Man United are at risk of dropping out of the European places entirely never mind a Champions League pursuit, with Ralf Rangnick’s side now sixth in the rankings and six points behind Arsenal having played a game more.
West Ham are also breathing down the necks of Man United, and reports are starting to emerge of Rangnick allegedly losing the dressing room at Old Trafford, but the Red Devils can at least take a slice of confidence from their domestic home form ahead of Thursday’s game against Chelsea.
Manchester United Team News:
United were boosted by the return of Raphael Varane from injury in the defeat to Arsenal, Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw – the former of whom has likely played his final game for the club – remain on the sidelines.
There is optimism over Fred’s chances of battling back from a hip problem in time to make the squad, and Rangnick should also consider a recall to the first XI for Harry Maguire, who was on the bench at the Emirates after a bomb threat to his home.
Both Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata can feel confident of challenging Fernandes for a place in the side after the Portuguese’s recent struggles, while Alex Telles was at fault for two of Arsenal’s goals at the weekend but is unlikely to drop out with Shaw out of contention.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Fred; Elanga, Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo