Manchester United - Chelsea Preview: Hosts have lost to Blues more than any other Premier League team
With the away side's place in the Europa League final secured, they turn their attentions to Champions League qualification as they attempt to get a result against the champions
By Sam Wells
Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
Valencia, Rooney, Kagawa
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole
Mata, Oscar, Hazard
Sir Alex Ferguson looks set to make a solitary change from the team that faced Arsenal as Shinji Kagawa seems primed to replace Nani, operating off the left wing.
Ashley Young (ankle) is definitely ruled out while Nemanja Vidic (knee) and Danny Welbeck (calf) are also doubtful as the strains that ruled them both out of the Arsenal game persist.
Rafa Benitez, meanwhile, appears ready to make his now-customary changes to the starting line-up as various players look set to make way from the team that beat Basel 3-1 on Thursday.
John Terry, Ashley Cole, John Obi Mikel, Juan Mata, Oscar and Demba Ba are all expected to replace
Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Victor Moses and Fernando Torres from the previous starting XI.
There are no serious injury problems for the Blues, though Marko Marin, unlikely to feature anyway, may only be fit enough for the bench as he continues to recover from a thigh problem.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Over the course of the Premier League era, Manchester United have lost more games (13) and conceded more goals (55) against Chelsea than they have against any other team in the league.
- However, Chelsea have managed just one clean sheet in their last 17 league trips to Old Trafford - a 3-0 win in December 2001, with a goal from Mario Melchiot followed by a double from Eidur Gudjohnsen.
Bet365 offer 4/7 for both teams to score in this match.
- United have hit the woodwork more often than any other team in the Premier League this season - 22 times, while Chelsea have hit it the fewest amount of times - five.
- Though it is doubtful whether he will feature in this match, of all the players to have played over 150 Premier League games, the Red Devils' captain, Nemanja Vidic, has the best win percentage of any player, having played 184 and won 136.
- Chelsea skipper John Terry (pictured right), however, boasts a similarly impressive record as the Blues have won 67 per cent of Premier League games with him playing this season and just 48% without him.
- The Blues have scored 15 headed goals this league season - the most in the Premier League.
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Top 3 Predictions
Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea FC
- 20.15 %
Manchester United 3-1 Chelsea FC
- 12.61 %
Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea FC
- 12.42 %
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Aug 2013||Manchester United 0 - Chelsea FC 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||5 May 2013||Manchester United 0 - Chelsea FC 1|
|FA Cup (FA)||1 Apr 2013||Chelsea FC 1 - Manchester United 0|
|FA Cup (FA)||10 Mar 2013||Manchester United 2 - Chelsea FC 2|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||31 Oct 2012||Chelsea FC 5 - Manchester United 4|
|4 Dec 2013||Manchester United 0 - Everton 1||EPL|
|1 Dec 2013||Tottenham 2 - Manchester United 2||EPL|
|27 Nov 2013||Bayer Leverkusen 0 - Manchester United 5||UCL|
|24 Nov 2013||Cardiff 2 - Manchester United 2||EPL|
|10 Nov 2013||Manchester United 1 - Arsenal FC 0||EPL|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
Sir Alex Ferguson's recent effusive praise of the English utility man may have raised some eyebrows - his ability to become Manchester United's greatest ever player is certainly questionable - but the 21-year-old has certainly impressed this season. He is expected to start alongside the similarly impressive Michael Carrick and will be eager to continue his current vein of form and, in turn, continue to turn heads with his bullish, all-action performances in the middle of the park.
The fan favourite has been on fine form of late, scoring three goals in Chelsea's last five games (with two of them screamers) and seemingly settling nicely into the central midfield berth that Rafa Benitez seems to have deemed fit for him to fill. With John Obi Mikel regularly chastised for his lack of prowess going forward and Frank Lampard nearing the end of his career, the eccentric Brazilian may be the answer to the Blues' midfield concerns and, if given the opportunity, he will be looking to prove as such against the Red Devils in this game.
With Chelsea having a Champions League spot to play for and Manchester United having long since wrapped up the title, this may seem like a foregone conclusion. However, the same could have been said of the Red Devils' game against Arsenal and Sir Alex's men eventually mustered up the enthusiasm to claim a point there - the same outcome is eminently possible in this fixture.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed