Predicted Manchester United XI to play Chelsea - Moyes must gamble on Rooney

Match to be played on Sunday 19th January 2014 at 16:00. Venue: Stamford Bridge, London.

Manchester United have a good chance to close in on the top six and consolidate if they beat Chelsea away from home at Stamford Bridge.

The big team issue leading up to this game has been whether David Moyes will risk a partially fit Wayne Rooney for the match, which could potentially delay a complete recovery from a groin problem.

United can name a very strong side for the game regardless and here’s the team Moyes could go with.

GK – David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper has proven to be very important for the side, as he makes key saves at key times when his defence has parted in front of him. United need him to be on top form.

RB – Rafael

Right-back Rafael is a very important part of the back four. He’ll have to deal with Ashley Cole coming towards him and has to resist the urge to drift inside as Eden Hazard looks to pull him out of position.

CB – Chris Smalling

Smalling is a perfectly competent defender in the middle of the defence. He’ll be under a lot of pressure throughout the game and needs to announce his presence early.

CB – Nemanja Vidic

This is a very big game for Vidic and a lot of United players are going to look towards him if the match doesn’t go according to plan. Vidic can offer strength in the air and also in the face of Fernando Torres trying to get on top of him.

LB – Alexander Buttner

If Patrice Evra hasn’t got over a knock he picked up against Swansea, the Dutchman will slot into the back four. If he plays, it’s a real chance for Buttner to show Moyes that he doesn’t need to go out and buy another left-back.

RM – Antonio Valencia

Valencia’s pace will be important on the counter attack. He’s also got experience of playing in defensive positions, which is significant if United get pinned back and take a lot of pressure from Chelsea.

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CM – Michael Carrick

Carrick will occupy the space in front of the United defence. He’ll try and cut off the angles, looking to make it as difficult as possible for Chelsea to move the ball fluently through the final third.

CM – Tom Cleverley

United need someone who can get on the ball and with Moyes showing no signs of playing Shinji Kagawa through the middle, there could be a chance for Cleverley to come back into the team.

LM – Adnan Januzaj

It will be tempting for Moyes to protect Januzaj and bench him for this game. However, he’s one of the few United players who is capable of making something happen out of nothing, which is why he has to play.

ST – Wayne Rooney

If Rooney is anything close to being able to play then he’ll start. This match is far too important for Moyes to leave him out if he is playable, as United desperately need to get back into the hunt for a top four spot. Rooney can support the attack and also drop off to the midfield.

ST – Danny Welbeck

Welbeck will more than likely start because of his recent form as a striker and also because he can play out wide. Expect to see him drift to the left with Kagawa coming inside if United struggle against Chelsea’s midfield.

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