Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted he will pick a similar side – but not necessarily the same one – on Sunday to the team that beat Chelsea in last month’s Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford.
United have beaten the Blues on the last two occasions the teams have met, with similar line-ups in each.
“In the Champions League games we did very well and we picked a team that was suited to the occasion,” Sir Alex said.
“With the squad I’ve got, I can make one or two small changes in personnel and it won’t really make much difference. In the last game against Chelsea, for instance, we left Antonio Valencia out and played Ji-sung Park on the right wing and Nani on the left.
“That worked really for us, particularly Ji-sung Park’s form that night, while Rooney played off the front. But I [have the freedom to] change that. There’s a chance I will make one or two changes for Sunday to the [team who played in the] Champions League game but, it won’t be to our detriment.”
While many predicted at the start of the season that United and Chelsea would do battle for the league title, few gave the Blues much chance once they slipped down the table after Christmas. In fact, at one point, Carlo Ancelotti’s side found themselves 15 points adrift of United.
Chelsea’s subsequent 12-point gain on the Reds (they go into Sunday’s game three points behind United) indicates the momentum in recent times has been firmly with the Londoners, but Sir Alex says all that matters now is the three games that remain in the 2010/11 season.
“I don’t know how many points we were in front of Chelsea at any given time,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. Where we are today is exactly where we are. It doesn’t matter what happened last Sunday, four Sundays ago, four months ago or four years ago: we are where we are.
“We have three games left – two home games, one away - and we’re three points ahead. We’re on the same goal difference and we’re playing at home. That’s where we are. Nothing can change it.”