Early team news for Chelsea clash

Friday 21 October 2022 07:00

The dust may have barely settled on Manchester United's magnificent victory over Tottenham Hotspur but the Reds are already busy preparing for the challenge of facing another of London's top clubs.

United travel to the capital to face Chelsea in a 17:30 BST kick-off on Saturday, with a reduced allocation of away fans at Stamford Bridge cheering Erik ten Hag's side on, following Wednesday's action which leaves us a point behind the fourth-placed Blues.

Graham Potter's side drew 0-0 at Brentford before the Reds saw off Spurs 2-0 at an appreciative Old Trafford.

Christian Eriksen was fit enough to come on as a late substitute against his former club, Spurs, after illness ruled him out of the draw with Newcastle United. Marcus Rashford started, in place of Cristiano Ronaldo, in the only change from the stalemate with the Magpies, but Scott McTominay did make a return from suspension in the closing stages.

Ronaldo will not in the squad for the weekend game, as communicated via an official statement on Thursday evening.

Quite how much energy the high-octane display will take out of the team is a matter of debate but Ten Hag has already spoken to the players and urged them to redouble their efforts for the challenge posed by Chelsea.

The boss will, hopefully, provide an update on the likes of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial in his pre-match press conference on Friday. 

Axel Tuanzebe appears unlikely to be available until after the World Cup, while fellow homegrown defender Brandon Williams was pictured working with Maguire at our Carrington base on Thursday.

It was interesting to see yet another Academy graduate, Anthony Elanga, handed his first minutes in the Premier League since the win over Leicester City, when introduced against Spurs.

Tom Heaton was the goalkeeper on the bench, rather than Martin Dubravka, for our midweek match.

Defensive duo working hard on recovery


Harry Maguire and Brandon Williams have been out on the grass at Carrington.


Blues boss Potter must do without Reece James and N'Golo Kante, with both set for an extended stint on the sidelines. Wesley Fofana is also out. Ben Chilwell should feature, though, after being rested for the Brentford draw, while Conor Gallagher is a doubt after being taken ill.

"I haven't spoken to the doctor but Connor just felt ill," explained Potter. "He felt like he was going to be sick. You could probably see that in his first 15 minutes, he wasn't quite himself. So, hopefully, it's just a 24-hour thing and he will be okay. Hopefully, he recovers quickly."

Kepa Arrizabalaga has been in goal, in place of Edouard Mendy, and the west Londoners have been utilising their squad to good effect. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang only came on for the final 10 minutes on Wednesday, as Ruben Loftus-Cheek started at wing-back, Armando Broja led the line and Carney Chukwuemeka enjoyed only a second outing in Chelsea colours.

Brazil veteran Thiago Silva was only the bench after picking up a knock.