Louis Van Gaal takes his Manchester United team to Stamford Bridge to face Jose Mourinho and Chelsea team for the Saturday night game with the match kicking off at 5.30pm. Van Gaal and his team are currently on a six game winning run in the Premier League that has included home wins over Tottenham and Manchester City and away victories at Newcastle and Liverpool. After losing 2-1 at Swansea City towards the end of February, United’s place in the top four looked under serious jeopardy with United struggling to find their best form despite still picking up positive results and the teams around looking in good form. With games to come against Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea many were questioning how many points United would be able to get from that run of games.
Manchester United have found some of their best form for years just at the right time, the Van Gaal philosophy seems to have finally clicked into to place with the Manchester United players. In the recent games we have seen partnerships developing all over the pitch for United. Daley Blind has moved from his defensive midfield position to left-back due to the absence of Luke Shaw and Blind has developed an understanding with Ashley Young down the left flank. As we saw in the victory over Manchester City last weekend. The majority of United’s best attacks came down the left hand side with Blind overlapping Young and the pair were giving the City defence real problems. A perfect example of this was for United’s second goal when Young had got to the dead ball line and faced up against Pablo Zabaleta, he cut inside with the ball then back heeled it to an overlapping Blind. Blind was then able to lay the ball back to an unmarked Young on the edge of the area who then crossed for Fellaini to head home and put United in front.
Manchester United’s recent form has seen them cement their place in the top four and even seen them overtake neighbours Manchester City. United currently sit in third place, four points ahead of City in fourth and one point behind second place Arsenal. United are eight points behind Saturday’s opponents Chelsea with many pundits questioning whether or not United can mount a late charge for the Premier League Title. If United win this game they will be five points behind Chelsea, though Chelsea will still have a game in hand. Much as I would love to see Manchester United challenge for the Premier League Title in the final six games, this game for United should be about cementing their place in the top four and laying down a marker for next season when they should be looking to mount a serious challenge to get that Premier League trophy back. With Arsenal in Fa Cup action this weekend, a victory for United would see them move above Arsenal into second place in the Premier League.
Louis Van Gaal will surely be looking to start with the same team that started the victory over Manchester City, although to do this he will have to wait on the fitness of Michael Carrick, Carrick had to leave the pitch a few minutes before the end of The Derby despite Manchester United having already used all of their substitutes. Michael Carrick is an important part of the Louis Van Gaal philosophy, as he sits in front of the back four. This allows the more attacking players like Mata, Herrera, Fellaini and Young to aid Rooney in causing the opposition problems. Carrick also moves the ball quickly when he gets the ball and doesn’t panic. He’s the ideal screener for the defence as he reads the game so well and doesn’t dive into tackles. With Juan Mata set to be in the United starting line-up on his first return to Stamford Bridge since moving to Old Trafford in January 2014. Mata will be looking to show Mourinho why he made a mistake in selling Mata to United. Many say that the reason Mourinho didn’t fancy Mata was that he didn’t track back and work for the team. Though Van Gaal looks to have got Mata to adapt this side of his game.
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