Chelsea plays Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight, which many expect could be decisive for the two clubs. The current season has been nothing short of a surprise as both Chelsea and Manchester United have been unimpressive in their campaign thus far. Chelsea are currently languishing at the 15th position in the Premier League table whereas Manchester United have lost four in a row for the first time since 1961.
Because the two sides have dominated the proceedings in the Premier League for the last decade or so, such a slump in form was not expected from the two most successful clubs in English top flight.
Monday night matchup at Old Trafford, however, could prove to be season defining for both the clubs and is worth more than just three points. A victory for Hiddink could kick start his return at the Bridge and end Louis van Gaal’s reign at the Old Trafford while a reverse result could mean that Jose’s sacrifice was all for nothing. Moreover, it would also give another lifeline to the dwindling survival chances of Louis van Gaal.
Chelsea needs to make use of the struggles and the uncertainty around the old Trafford to get an upper hand over the opponents. Moreover, this match will be a fierce midfield battle, and one must not be surprised to see some unexpected decisions by the new man. He could opt to play hazard as the lone striker to dominate midfield or play Remy to pose added attacking threat. Not much could be predicted given the fact that we still know very little about what is going on inside the Dutch’s head.
Here we take a look at the Ideal Chelsea lineup for tonight’s fixture.
Despite the fact that Courtois has constantly conceded goals this season, there is little doubt that about his spot in the starting lineup. Hiddink will not risk starting Begovic for this crucial game.
Right Back: Ivanovic
Ivanovic’s lack of pace is something that Martial and Depay will enjoy. However, he has recently made up for this lack of speed by sound positioning. Moreover, he needs to help his team during the attack through the wings.
Center Back: Terry
John Terry is a man of big occasions, and this match is indeed a big one. He needs to lead the team from the front and set an example. The way he outclasses his opposition captain, Rooney will be a big factor in deciding the outcome of the game.
Center Back: Zouma
Hiddink dropped Zouma from the starting lineup against Watford but is expected to make a comeback in this away game. He will have the responsibility to outsmart the pacey Manchester United attackers with his pace and strength. Moreover, his presence during the set pieces will be a boost for Chelsea.
Left Back: Azpilicueta
Cesar Azpilicueta will start at the Left back position. He had an average game against Watford, and he will be hoping to make some impression in this important fixture.
Matic was guilty of a crazy handball in the previous game that helped Watford to equalize. He must be desperate to prove his new boss that he is better than this. There is no better opportunity for him than a Man U game to prove his worth.
Mikel was surprisingly introduced at half-time in place of a pedestrian Cesc Fabregas. He is expected to start this game over Cesc. However, Ramires could also be started instead.
Right Wing: Pedro
Pedro has failed to impress ever since his move from Barcelona. However, his experience in big games and his ability to find shooting spaces could mean that Hiddink could be looking to give him one more chance. Oscar could be used to replace him at Halftime.
Chelsea’s best player of the season will hope to retain his spot in the starting lineup. How this game shapes, will depend much on his performance on the night.
Left Wing: Hazard
Hazard was seen limping after the game against Watford. However, reports suggest that he will be fit enough to start this game. He was lively in his substitute appearance in the last game.
Costa’s suspension will mean that Remy could deputize in his absence. However, one must not be surprised to see Hazard or even Oscar playing as a false nine. Hiddink was reluctant to introduce him against Watford as he did not use his third substitution. We could see a similar pattern here.