Date:28th April 2022 at 11:00am
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Manchester United host Chelsea on Thursday, with the Red Devils needing a win if they are to have any chance of securing a top four spot this season. 

Ralf Rangnick’s side have been in awful form of late, winning just two of their last ten games across all competitions.

The form of captain Harry Maguire, as well as the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, has been particularly criticised, and Rangnick is now also having to deal with something of an injury crisis.

The Red Devils could be without as many as seven senior players, including Maguire, Fred, Jadon Sancho and Luke Shaw.

Here, we take a look at the possible line up that Rangnick could select for the visit of the Blues.

Goalkeeper

A rare positive during such a below-par campaign for the club, David De Gea will continue in goal having played every single minute of the Premier League season so far. The Spaniard briefly lost his starting spot to Dean Henderson as the back end of last season, but regained the number one spot over the summer and hasn’t looked back since.

Defenders

Rangnick may have to field a makeshift back line with a depleted roster to choose from. At right-back, Diogo Dalot will start once again, having played in five of the last six in the league. The Portuguese appears to have moved ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the pecking order anyway, but the Englishman’s injury means Dalot is certain to start.

In the middle, Harry Maguire is absent through injury, so Victor Lindelof will most likely step in to partner Raphael Varane. The pair started together in the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last time out while Maguire was among the substitutes, but the Englishman’s injury means they will once again start alongside one another.

Varane will be without defensive partner Harry Maguire

On the left, Alex Telles will start with Luke Shaw ruled out through injury. The Portuguese has started six of United’s last eight league matches, and may well have started regardless of Shaw’s injury. The full-back is yet to score this season, but may fancy his chances going forward against Cesar Azpilicueta.

Midfielders

Rangnick’s midfield options are also depleted, with Paul Pogba and Fred both missing. Scott McTominay will be deployed in central midfield, most likely alongside Nemanja Matic. The pair will be tasked with adding an extra layer of protection in front of United’s leaky back line, a role that Fred has often been asked to perform.

In front of the pair, Bruno Fernandes will most likely start in an advanced midfield role, depending on the formation Rangnick opts for. The Portuguese has been criticised for his form of late, having failed to score in any of his last 10 matches across all competitions. The midfielder has just nine league goals to his name this season, three of which came on the opening day against Leeds, compared to 18 last term.

Fernandes has been out of form for several weeks now

Forwards

In attack, Rangnick will be without Sancho, and Marcus Rashford will expect to start in his place on the left. The England international has also been in poor form of late. He has just four league goals all season, and hasn’t scored since January in the competition. Rashford has a good record against Chelsea, though, scoring five goals and providing three assists against the Blues.

Through the middle, Cristiano Ronaldo will start. The Portugal international has only scored in four league games in 2022, but hat-tricks against both Tottenham and Norwich mean he has eight goals in that time. He has only scored once against Chelsea throughout his career, though, and has never done so in the league.

Lingard’s only tow goals this season both came inside the first five games of the season

Flanking Ronaldo on the right will be Jesse Lingard. The attacking midfielder has struggled for game time this term, starting just two Premier League games. He is also without a goal since the middle of September, and could be up against Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger on the left of Chelsea’s back three.

While United will be missing a number of first team players for the visit of Chelsea, the Blues’ shocking record against the Red Devils, particularly at Old Trafford, will give United reason for optimism. Chelsea’s only two wins against United since 2018 have both been in the FA Cup, and they haven’t won at Old Trafford since 2013. Thomas Tuchel’s side have their own injury worries, too, and this one looks set to be a fascinating encounter.

 
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