United train.

Early team news for Chelsea clash

Thursday 22 October 2020 15:00

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has plenty of key decisions to make as he ponders his team selection for Saturday's visit of Chelsea.

The boss will have been buoyed by the exceptional performance in Tuesday's 2-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League but knows the Reds need to gain a first home victory of the season, despite some stunning form on the road.

One of the first questions to answer is whether he will retain the formation used from the start in France, with three central defenders flanked by Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles.

If he does, that will obviously mean three centre-back slots are up for grabs. Skipper Harry Maguire could be available after missing the midweek victory but Eric Bailly is likely to be out until next month. Axel Tuanzebe promoted his claims with an outstanding display in his first match since last December, while Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw were also impressive in the middle.

Shaw, of course, could easily revert to the left-hand side if we switch to a flat back-four, while Telles will hope for a first Premier League appearance, after being an unused substitute at Newcastle United. 

In midfield, Fred and Scott McTominay have earned praise from the manager for their efforts, but Paul Pogba also looked the part when coming off the bench in his homeland. Nemanja Matic is an option to figure against his former club, while Juan Mata and Donny van de Beek are available to add creativity, even if there must be doubts over Jesse Lingard as he was unable to make the flight to Paris.

Daniel James started the last league match at St James' Park and scored on his debut in this fixture last season. Edinson Cavani is training hard and will be racing to get match-fit in time but Ole will provide an update on the Uruguayan attacker on Friday. 

Mason Greenwood has been absent with a niggle but may come back into the reckoning, particularly as fellow striker Anthony Martial sits out the second of his three-match domestic ban. 


Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has confirmed recent recruit Edouard Mendy is his new first-choice keeper, dislodging Kepa Arrizabalaga. Thiago Silva played in midweek against Sevilla, after overcoming some fitness issues, and only a second clean sheet of the season, in the 0-0 stalemate, will have pleased Lampard.

The west Londoners have a powerful squad with a number of options, as Billy Gilmour appears to be their only player sidelined. Olivier Giroud, who has a good previous record against United, was left on the bench for the 3-3 draw with Southampton last time out in the league, but Hakim Ziyech came on to make his debut. 

Talking Point: United's defensive shape


Will Solskjaer stick with the back three that produced our best performance of the season, or revert to a back four?

Ole will hold his exclusive pre-match interview with us on Friday morning, and will also host a press conference with journalists, which you can follow on the Official App and ManUtd.com.

We will also keep you abreast with Lampard's media call and any updates on Chelsea's team news.

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