Ahead of Manchester United’s date with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, I’ve put together what I believe to be the best line-up between the two sides. I’ve based the line-up on form coming into the game and selected players that have impressed since the turn of the year.
Saturday’s game could prove pivotal for a number of reasons. A United win could spark their title bid back to life. Whereas a Chelsea victory would almost certainly mean they will go on to win the title.
Valencia – Smalling – Terry – Azpilicueta
Carrick – Matic
Hazard – Fellaini – Young
I’ve gone with a 4-2-3-1 formation, which is generally used by both sides.
The goalkeeper choice was probably the easiest decision of them all, David De Gea’s brilliance all season would put him in any line-up. Courtois has also been spectacular for Chelsea, but in terms of consistency and the sheer amount of points saved, De Gea has to be in the side.
The back 4 could’ve easily been a full house for Chelsea. Their defence all season has been fantastic, and in no doubt the best in the league. To leave Cahill out of the defence seems a little unfair, however it has to be said, Chris Smalling’s performances of late have been almost faultless. Not only has he been a rock for United, he’s chipped in with a fair few goals of late as well and Valencia gets the nod for his attacking prowess in a debateable call ahead of Ivanovic.
Michael Carrick’s form since his return from injury has been a huge stepping stone in United’s rise. He simply could not be left out of this side. Whether he will be available for the game remains to be seen, his absence would be a huge loss for United. Nemanja Matic has been one of the best midfielders in the league all season long, without a poor performance to name. Although Herrera’s form has been brilliant in the last few games, you simply cannot ignore Matic’s consistency all season long. He, along with Carrick, are must-have’s in this XI.
The front 3 are fairly self explanatory. Hazard has been hailed as the best in the league by his manager, with his performances this season, you can see why. On the opposite flank is Ashley Young, a player who’s turnaround has been remarkable, but more relevant to this, a player who’s form has to see him in this XI. The decision to include Fellaini in the advanced midfield role was a tough one. Fabregas could well have been picked, had this XI been based on the entire season. However, recently Fellaini has made his name as one of the toughest opponents in the league, he’s United’s secret weapon.
The striker in this team was always going to be between Wayne Rooney and Diego Costa. Costa has been one of the best strikers in the league this season, and is certain to make the Premier League team of the year. However, as far as recent form is concerned, Rooney had to take the spot. Since Rooney started playing as a striker once again for United, things have really started to click. Even though on occasion he hasn’t chipped in with the goals, his work rate has not gone unnoticed.
It was hard leaving out so many talented players from this team. Players such as Courtois, Cahill, Fabregas, Herrera, Ivanovic, Mata and Costa have all been extremely unlucky and merit a special mention. The game on Saturday looks set to be yet another enthralling game, like so many this season. As far as the final score goes, I can’t call it either way. Therefore as my score prediction I have to go with 1-1.