With only six games left of the Barclays Premier League season and a possible 18 points still up for grabs for both teams, league leaders Chelsea host in-form Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
As the season draws to a close, this is arguably the biggest match left in the calendar, and with Chelsea just a few matches away from clinching the trophy and United looking to cement their place in the top four, anything could happen.
The Blues come into the match just 11 points away from being crowned champions. However, with top goalscorer Diego Costa out injured, Mourinho’s men will be wary of their opposition, who are currently enjoying a run of great form, following six straight victories in the top flight, not to mention a fantastic 4-2 win over local rivals Manchester City.
Chelsea come into the match without star striker Costa after he picked up a muscular injury in the Blues 3-2 win against Hull, and with second reserve Loic Remy also out due to injury problems, 37-year-old Chelsea legend Didier Drogba is likely to once again lead the line. Although, Mourinho will also be aware of Manchester United’s fast-paced counter-attack. Given that a loss could be devastating for the Blues, nobody would be surprised if he decides to sacrifice an attacking midfielder in order to add numbers in the middle of the field.
Predicted Chelsea XI: 4-2-3-1
Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta,
Hazard, Fabregas, Willian,
Similarly to Chelsea, United also come into the match with injuries to key players. Following the derby victory against Manchester City, Red’s manager Louis Van Gaal revealed that the team had suffered injuries to defensive players Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Michael Carrick, signalling that Rooney’s run up-front may come to an end, as he is now likely to be used in a holding midfielder role for the match. However, there is some positive news for the Devils, as both striker Robin Van Persie and left full-back Luke Shaw are set to return from injury with the latter likely to start and the former on the bench, as Radamel Falcao is rumoured to be the preferred attacking option.
Predicted Man United XI: 4-1-4-1
Valencia, Smalling, Mcnair, Shaw,
Rooney, Young, Fellaini,
Herrera, Mata, Falcao.
Match Prediction: Chelsea FC 2-1 Manchester United
Chelsea may well be firmly positioned at the top of the Premier League table with 73 points, eight points ahead of Manchester United with a game in hand. However, in recent displays they have been off the boil and have failed to provide the attractive football that we have all become accustomed to this season. Chelsea’s recent struggle came in their 1-0 win last Sunday, against a relegation-battling Queens Park Rangers side, in which they registered just one shot on target throughout the whole match. In contrast, Manchester United come into the match in their best run of form of the season, following impressive wins against Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Manchester City.
However, despite Chelsea’s poor showing in recent weeks, United’s defensive injuries will leave them open and unorganised at the back – a problem which Chelsea will surely capitalise on.
Chelsea vs Manchester United kicked off at 5:30PM live on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD. Click here to read the match report.