By Andy Hyslop
- Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin in contention to return
- Both sides desperately need the three points
When the fixtures for the season were announced, many believed this fixture would a top of the table clash. Not many people guessed Chelsea would be in the bottom half of the table and United would be on a run seven games without a win.
That is the case though, United have suffered four defeats in a row. A run that seen them knocked out of the Champions League and drop out of the top four places in the Premier League.
Boxing day defeat to Stoke made it three successive defeats in the league following the defeats to Bournemouth and Norwich. Another defeat against Chelsea on Monday could see United drop as low as 10th in the table, depending on the results of teams around them.
This run of results has seen the pressure intensify on manager Louis Van Gaal, surely another defeat would see him sacked if he doesn’t decide enough is enough and walk away and into retirement.
Surely Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin will return to United’s starting line-up for this crucial game. Schneiderlin has sat on the bench in recent defeats after returning from injury.
While Schweinsteiger is available after serving his three-match ban following an FA charge after United’s 0-0 draw with West Ham.
With Schneiderlin in the team, United are yet to taste defeat and surely he will be partner Schweinsteiger after Carrick and Fellaini played the full game yesterday.
Elsewhere in the team, there isn’t much room for change unless Matteo Darmian is fit and available after missing the last three games.
Van Gaal hasn’t many options in defensive areas with injuries to Shaw, Valencia and Rojo. Darmian is likely to miss out again so we will probably see the same back four as against Norwich and Stoke.
Surely Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger will be re-united in midfield following injury and suspension. Then the front four will be likely see Rooney returning as the striker.
Martial is likely to replace Memphis on the left following the Dutchman’s error against Stoke, with Mata playing from the right and Herrera in behind Rooney.
It has been a campaign to forget so far for last season’s champions. A campaign which has seen them struggle for results in the Premier League, knocked out of the League Cup.
Only high point for Chelsea has been qualification for the Champions League last sixteen.
The results on the pitch and the apparent loss of the dressing-room has seen Jose Mourinho sacked and he is now being linked with a quick return to management with United.
Since the sacking of Mourinho, Chelsea have defeated Sunderland and drew 2-2 with Watford on Saturday. The Londoners lie in 15th place in the table, only two points above the relegation zone.
For this match Chelsea will be without striker Diego Costa, who is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Watford.
Eden Hazard could be restored to the starting line-up by Guus Hiddink after coming off the bench on Saturday.