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Chelsea vs Manchester United – The Starting XI

by Tom Newbold

Just 48 hours after Manchester United last played, they face a tricky away tie at Chelsea in the FA Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson is set to make plenty of changes to keep his team fresh and it will be interesting to see whether any players start both games.


David de Gea: Some of De Gea’s best moments for United have come against Chelsea and he hasn’t conceded in over 600 minutes now. The Spaniard is likely to be relishing another tough encounter on Monday.

Chris SmallingBaring in mind Rafael picked up a groin injury on Saturday, Chris Smalling is almost certain to start at right-back unless Phil Jones makes a surprise return.

Rio Ferdinand: Ferdinand missed out against Sunderland and was surely being saved for this crunch match at Stamford Bridge.

Jonny Evans: Evans’ youth probably puts him in the frame for a start ahead of Nemanja Vidic. Vidic also sustained a nasty blow to the face on Saturday and is likely to be rested for this game.

Patrice Evra: Evra is set to captain the side at Stamford Bridge as he comes in for the enigmatic Alex Buttner.

Danny Welbeck: Right-wing is one of the hardest positions to predict. Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are likely to be rested after involvement against Sunderland and given that Nani is only just returning from an injury set-back, Danny Welbeck could be asked to fill that role.

Michael CarrickCarrick is likely to be one of the few starting both of United’s recent games. The experienced Englishman appears a necessity against a threatening Chelsea midfield.

Tom Cleverley: Young Tom Cleverley only featured from the bench against Sunderland, meaning his energy and dynamism can be utilised against Chelsea.

Ryan Giggs: Giggs’ last minutes were over two weeks ago now. The Welshman’s experience could be a vital factor for United on Monday.

Wayne RooneyRooney is another of those who didn’t feature against Sunderland and is a certainty to start against Chelsea.

Javier Hernandez: Chicharito will be looking to replicate his impressive form for Mexico if given the opportunity against a Chelsea side he is also prolific against. He will probably come in for Robin van Persie who has played a lot recently. Hernandez’ pace and movement will no doubt give a cumbersome Chelsea defence plenty of food for thought.  

Chelsea FA CupFormation

The two potential formations are 4-4-1-1 or a 4-1-4-1 that has been used in United’s other two matches at Stamford Bridge this season. A 4-1-4-1 would see Carrick sit just in front of the defence to help defend against Chelsea’s potent attacking midfield. Cleverley would then partner either Rooney or Giggs in central midfield with the other out wide with Danny Welbeck.

Ferguson will be mindful of the way United gifted possession away easily and were overrun in midfield in the original tie and may bolster his midfield to stop that happening in this replay.

Whatever formation, Hernandez is likely to lead the line and cause Chelsea plenty of problems. Despite their recent exertions the likes of Van Persie, Shinji Kagawa and Ashley Young will probably be available to call upon from the bench, whilst Nani and Paul Scholes are also making timely comebacks from injury.

What do you think the starting XI will be?

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