Sunday 27 December 2015

Match preview: United v Chelsea (28th, 5.30pm)

The busy festive schedule continues as United welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford for the final game of 2015 with manager Louis Van Gaal expected to remain in charge. 

At the start of the season this fixture looked like a key game in the battle for the title- but despite still being one of the biggest on the calendar, it instead comes with both sides off the pace and desperately struggling for form.

The Blues, under the stewardship of caretaker manager Guus Hiddink following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, arrive at Old Trafford in 15th place having suffered nine league losses this term already.

Hiddink took over as Netherlands boss from Van Gaal when LVG was appointed at Old Trafford and the two men meet outside of the Eredivisie for the first time in an intriguing touchline tussle.  

For all United's recent struggles, the champions baffling slump has been the story of a strange Premier League season so far, and despite our own lack of form of late, we come into this game nine places and ten points better off than the Stamford Bridge side. 

Bastian Schweinsteiger is available again for the Reds having completed his ban, Matteo Darmian is ready to return but Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia remain out.

Jesse Lingard remains doubtful but there are no new injury worries for the hosts.

Chelsea will be without first choice forward Diego Costa through suspension after his fifth booking of the season against Watford on Saturday. 

Brazilian midfielder Andreas Pereira has called for the side to "move on" following the Boxing Day defeat at Stoke, and said:

"Stoke played really well but we were better in the second half so that is something to build on.
"We have to forget about the loss and Chelsea is the next game so we need to make sure that we focus on this game, we just have to stick together and keep working hard in training.
"The fans are always great and they always support us and that's something we are really happy about.
"We have to show them our appreciation by picking up three points on Monday.
"I  promise that we will come back stronger."

This Bank Holiday Monday encounter is a tea-time kick off and is being televised live on BT Sport. 

Form guide: United D D L L L L Chelsea D L W L W D 
Match odds: United 6/4 Draw 11/5 Chelsea 7/2 
Referee: Martin Atkinson 

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