Should Rooney or Welbeck start for United against Chelsea?

David Moyes has a selection dilemma on his hands in Manchester United’s next fixture, with transfer speculation adding spice to the clash.

Manchester United and Chelsea meet at Old Trafford on Monday night in an early season acid test for two of this term’s Premier League title hopefuls. Both sides will look to build upon strong opening results and take the initiative in their respective quests to finish on top of the pile. However, with the Blues keen to bring Wayne Rooney to Stamford Bridge before the end of the transfer window, it adds an extra bit of spice to the clash and gives David Moyes a decision to make in attack.

United’s attacking prowess was evident for all to see in their 4-1 win over Swansea on the opening day, with Robin van Persie linking up well with a rejuvenated Danny Welbeck. With the Netherlands international sure to start, the Scottish boss will need to decide whether it is Rooney or the in-form Welbeck that acts as his strike partner.

Welbeck has had a great start to the new campaign, with man-of-the-match worthy performances in the Community Shield and for England in their win over Scotland. The home-grown talent also bagged a brace in the win over Swansea, and looks to have regained the confidence that was lacking at times last term.

The fact that Welbeck only scored one Premier League goal for the entirety of last season will have been something playing on his mind. The fact that he has hit the back of the net twice at the first time of asking indicates he can be the perfect foil for Van Persie and is capable of taking some of the goalscoring burden off the ex-Arsenal hitman’s shoulders.

To take Welbeck out of the team or to push him wide to accommodate Rooney could well have a real negative impact on a player in form who looks set to play a major role for the Red Devils this term.

Despite Welbeck’s strong start to the campaign, Wayne Rooney is an out-and-out match-winner. In a close game, like the one against Chelsea is sure to be, the England international could well be the difference between victory and defeat.

With Chelsea admitting that they will make a third bid for Rooney after the clash between the teams, Moyes will need to consider carefully how to use the forward against the Blues. The Scot has conceded that Rooney is certainly in the running to start the game.

"Wayne has got a good chance of playing. Well, he's got a good chance of playing against Chelsea, a good chance of starting,” Moyes admitted in Friday’s press conference.

United have stated that they don’t want to sell the attacker, and the only way that it seems that a move may happen is if Rooney goes public with his desire to quit the club.

Playing Rooney against Chelsea has a number of benefits. Firstly it will go some way to reassuring the striker that he is valued at United and that when he is fit he will play a considerable role in the club’s quest for honours. The start of the speculation over Rooney’s future at Old Trafford stemmed around him being dropped for the critical Champions League clash against Real Madrid last term.

Rooney will be motivated to win a regular starting berth back and prove himself to a new manager. If his thoughts are on leaving, he may even want to impress suitors Chelsea further by being the player responsible for their defeat at Old Trafford.

It is certainly a difficult position for Moyes, as he has an embarrassment of luxuries in attack. Who would you pick – an in-form Welbeck or the potential match-winner Rooney?

image: © nasmac

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