?Well, considering Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemingly doesn’t know his best starting lineup, we thought we’d give it a go.
Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea on Monday night following the inaugural Premier League winter break. The Red Devils are now armed with the knowledge that fifth place may be enough for Champions League football following Manchester City’s European ban, and the 13-time Premier League champions need to get their act together quickly.
Having failed to win – or even score – in their last three league outings, United can move within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea with a win in London, while even a point would move the Red Devils up to seventh.
With the increasingly high stakes of Monday night’s clash clear for all to see, let’s take a look at who should start for Manchester United against Chelsea.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
David De Gea (GK) – While the Spaniard may not be living up to his esteemed reputation this season, ?De Gea is still one of the league’s best shot-stoppers. He may very well be busy against an exciting and dynamic Chelsea forward line, and his cat-like reflexes and knack for the spectacular may come in handy.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – Given Chelsea’s exciting wide men, ?United will need a full-back who can defend properly – not that there is much competition for the 22-year-old’s place. Wan-Bissaka has proven himself to be a strong and committed defender, racking up the second-most tackles in the English top tier this term.
Victor Lindelof (CB) – One area in which United have actually been relatively strong this season is defence. Lindelof’s partnership with Harry Maguire has blossomed, helping the Red Devils pick up points in spite of their struggles in front of goal. However, there is still plenty of room for improvement at the back as well.
Harry Maguire (CB) – United’s big summer signing has helped stabilise the spine of Solskjaer’s side, even if the Englishman’s leadership skills are not quite up to scratch. Big and powerful, Maguire will have to be on top of his game to deal with fellow countryman Tammy Abraham – should the ?Chelsea striker be fit.
Luke Shaw (LB) – Many people will be expecting United to start with a back five at Stamford Bridge, but Solskjaer would be smart to stick with a back four to aid his side’s attacking potential, and make the most of Chelsea’s defensive frailties. With that in mind, Shaw should get the nod ahead of young Brandon Williams, with his experience and intelligence in and out of possession key.
?Fred (DM) – Arguably the most improved Premier League player of the season, the Brazilian is starting to showcase the talents that seemingly merited his enormous price tag before joining the Red Devils. His work ethic and quality distribution make him a key cog in United’s midfield, and, without the injured Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, his presence in the centre of the park will be essential.
Nemanja Matic (DM) – Another forgotten man at Old Trafford, the Serbian has re-ignited his United career in recent weeks. The absence of McTominay offered Matic a route back in to the team, and the midfielder snapped it up, forming a strong partnership with ?Fred.
Juan Mata (RM) – Another with an eye for flair is Mata. The veteran has re-emerged as one of United’s most competent and creative midfielders in recent games, and given the Spaniard’s time at Chelsea came to an abrupt end, he should be highly motivated on Monday night.
Bruno Fernandes (AM) – Well, the hype didn’t quite match the debut. While Fernandes looked fairly comfortable against Wolves, United’s lack of attacking ambition and creativity made life difficult for the Red Devils’ new January addition. Expectations will be high for the midfielder on Monday, and his flair will be important in carrying a struggling United attack.
Daniel James (LM) – With United’s counter-attacking style most prominent against the big boys, the Red Devils will undoubtedly look to play on the break against Chelsea. As a result, James’ pace with and without the ball make him a necessary addition to United’s forward line, and the Welshman can even play off Anthony Martial up top.
Anthony Martial (ST) – ?The above picture is ?Martial pointing to the net he should be finding more often. In the absence of Marcus Rashford, sole responsibility for goals has fallen on the striker’s shoulders, and he hasn’t responded very well. With Odion Ighalo now in the picture too, Martial needs to pull his socks up and get his shooting boots on at Stamford Bridge.