A few weeks ago this game would have been a nailed on Chelsea victory, but a recent stutter by the Blues, and United’s return to imperious form has brought the result into question.
Louis van Gaal has rejuvenated the Red Devils side after a poor start to the season, and although there are a few key figures missing, we take a look at what could be three important battles in the intriguing game at Stamford Bridge.
Branislav Ivanovic vs Ashley Young
Young has enjoyed an amazing resurgence this season, and he will be coming up arguably the best right-back in the division. The English winger on the left of midfield will be the main creator in the side, and offers the real pacy attacking threat to put balls in the box.
This means he will take advantage of Ivanovic’s one big weakness - his own desire to attack.
The Serbian loves getting forward, occasionally putting his own back-line under pressure, but this can also work into his own hands. Not only will Young have to track back to aid his left-back in the defensive work, but it opens up space for Willian to cut inside and help on the middle of the pitch.
An intriguing battle, and one which could be the main source of goals.
Wayne Rooney vs Nemanja Matic
The injury to Michael Carrick means a midfield reshuffle for United, and the likely outcome will be Rooney dropping into an attacking midfield role. This means he will come up against Nemanja Matic, who has not been at top form in recent weeks.
Rooney has yet to excel in this deeper role, and his physical play will likely be stalled by Matic’s influence. However, if given the space to play, the Englishman’s vision is second to none, and he could be the creator of a number of chances.
Both figures will have to be on top form for their respective teams to guarantee success at Stamford Bridge.
Thibaut Courtois vs David de Gea
Not a battle in which the opponents will come against against one another, but a vital one nonetheless.
The best two goalkeepers in the division, de Gea and Courtois will be looking to keep shutouts in a game likely to decided by few chances
Over the course of the season de Gea has been the better stopper, but Courtois has made the better saves, and thankfully for him, has been playing in front of a much better defence.
Goalscoring opportunities will be few and far between in the tie, and both ‘keepers will play a key role as the two teams fight for an important victory.
Which battle will be most important? Answer our poll and comment below to get in on the discussion!