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Manchester United vs Chelsea – The starting XI

by Tom Newbold

Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-finals as they look to respond to the disappointment of Champions League exit. This game comes five days after United’s previous game and a week before their next, making it interesting to see how Sir Alex Ferguson will utilise his squad.


David De Gea: De Gea announced himself at Manchester United with a fantastic save against Chelsea last season and will be relishing another tough fixture with the opportunity to prove himself.

Rafael: Rafael is young enough to cope with the heavy load of fixtures and is likely to be Ferguson’s preferred option at right-back.

Chris SmallingThe young Englishman is perhaps in with a shout of an appearance as Ferguson may rest both Ferdinand and Vidic.

Jonny Evans: Evans was unlucky to miss out on game time in midweek and is sure to be given his opportunity against Chelsea.

Patrice Evra: Last season Evra played all but two games from January to May and it would be a shock if the important Frenchman was left out of this tie.

Antonio Valencia: Ferguson likes to give his Ecuadorian winger plenty of game time and after the balance he provided to the right-side earlier in the season against Chelsea, he is likely to be picked again here.

Michael CarrickCarrick’s superior defensive abilities of any other United midfielder probably ensures his selection here up against the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar.

Tom Cleverley: Cleverley was substituted in midweek and should be ready to start this fixture if required. His energy and dynamism in midfield could be vital.

Shinji Kagawa: Last weekend’s hat-trick hero Kagawa was left out of the team midweek, so is almost certain to be rewarded with a start against Chelsea.

Wayne Rooney: Rooney is another left out of the starting line-up in midweek, so is a no-brainer for recall against Chelsea.

Javier Hernandez: Hernandez has a good scoring record against the team from London and his lack of appearances recently points to a start whilst Ferguson rests Robin van Persie.

Chelsea predictionFormation

United are likely to line-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Valencia and Kagawa on the wings, allowing Rooney to tuck in behind Hernandez. Rooney and Kagawa are likely to interchange on the left side with Kagawa coming inside frequently, as he did so successfully against Norwich.

Meanwhile, combinations between Valencia and Rafael on the right side could be extremely important as they proved earlier in the season at Stamford Bridge. If United start to struggle defensively then Carrick may look to sit in front of the back four with Rooney dropping into central midfield with Tom Cleverley, similar to how the team shaped up at Stamford Bridge in October.

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