Chelsea host Manchester United as the English Premier League comes to an exciting finish to the title run-in. Though Chelsea boast of an 8 point lead over United, with a game in hand, as Van Gaal put it, anything is possible a mathematicallya . But does the former Barcelona manager really stand a chance against his former disciple Jose Mourinho?
Status: Injured- Carrick, Blind, Rojo and Jones
Though in great form, Manchester United are currently suffering from a series of injuries that has left the squad depleted. With Robin Van Persie already injured, Manchester United will be without the services of Michael Carrick, Daley Blind, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo with Jonny Evans still serving his suspension.
Michael Carrick has been the key man leading Manchester Uniteda s resurgence lately and his absence at Stamford Bridge is likely to hurt Van Gaal. However the absence wouldna t have been catastrophic had it not been coupled with an injury to new signing Daley Blind who had earlier filled that defensive role in the squad. With both Blind and Carrick out injured, Manchester United are left without a defensive midfielder in the line-up against Chelsea.
So will Van Gaal be able to find a solution as he faces his former disciple in a mouth-watering Premier League fixture?
The Dutchman has the option to either play Ander Herrera in that defensive role or drop Wayne Rooney back in the midfield. With Fabregas and Hazard running the show for Chelsea, a weak defensive midfielder would essentially amount to handing over 3 points to Jose Mourinho.
Manchester Uniteda s Defensive Liability
With Daley Blind out injured, Luke Shaw is likely to replace the Dutch international with Antonio Valencia resuming his role on the right flank. Questions have been raised regarding Valenciaa s positioning sense as he is often found out of position and wanting in his defensive responsibilities. Coupled with Luke Shawa s presence on the left flank, a player who has struggled with fitness and injuries, Manchester United will be left exposed in their defence as Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are out injured too.
Chelsea will look to make the most out of this and one can expect Hazard and Willian to attack Van Gaala s team with intensity and pace down the flanks. A momentary lapse against a lethal side such as Chelsea could tilt the game in Mourinhoa s favour.
However Van Gaal could rely on the likes of Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Fellaini and Young to see him through this crucial fixture. With the addition of Angel Di Maria, Manchester United have the firepower to ask questions at Stamford Bridge and hence Van Gaal does have the chance to teach his former pupil a valuable lesson in football.