Under-pressure Louis Van Gaal is on the brink as his Manchester United side prepare to host Chelsea in the Premier League this evening as speculation over his future at Old Trafford continues.
The Red Devils haven’t won in the top flight since November 21, and have lost their last three league games – including Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Stoke.
They have slipped to sixth in the Premier League table – three points behind Spurs in fourth and six behind local rivals Manchester City in third.
But the Manchester United manager has checked in to the team hotel as normal and is expected to be in charge for the crunch match.
Chelsea’s season has been remarkably worse, with new interim manager Guus Hiddink taking charge of his second game back at the Stamford Bridge helm after a 2-2 draw against an in-form Watford on Boxing Day.
The Blues remain just two points above the relegation zone – sitting in 15th place – and are 10 points behind their opponents on Monday evening.
Manchester United: Van Gaal must decide whether to restore captain Wayne Rooney to his side after the Manchester United captain came off the bench for the second half at the Britannia, but was unable to turn the tide.
Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger returns from suspension for the game against the Blues and defender Matteo Darmian has a chance of making his return from a hamstring injury, but Jesse Lingard (hamstring), Marcos Rojo (shoulder), Antonio Valencia (foot) and Luke Shaw (leg) are out.
Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, Varela, Darmian, Borthwick-Jackson, Smalling, Jones, Blind, McNair, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini, Depay, Powell, Mata, Young, Pereira, Martial, Rooney.
Chelsea: Hiddink is without Diego Costa for Monday’s trip to Old Trafford after the striker picked up a suspension in the draw against Watford.
The Dutchman has also spoken of his belief that Radamel Falcao lacks match fitness, so Loic Remy is likely to start in Costa’s absence.
Eden Hazard and Jon Obi Mikel came on as substitutes against Watford so are in contention to start – possibly at the expense of Cesc Fabregas, who came off at half-time.
Provisional squad: Courtois, Begovic, Ivanovic, Fabregas, Zouma, Rahman, Ramires, Oscar, Falcao, Hazard, Mikel, Traore, Kenedy, Pedro, Remy, Matic, Willian, Cahill, Terry, Blackman, Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Djilobodji.
Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal:
“The scrutiny is all right for me, I am used to that.
“I have received that (support) all the time but we have lost today so there is a new situation.”
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink:
“I don’t want to go back in the recent past. That’s why when I had my talks with people before taking the job.
“I said I don’t [want] much info, I want to have my eye and use my experience to see how they manage and act on the training pitch. Then everyone has his chance.”
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight league and cup games against Manchester United (W5, D3).
- The Blues have won six Premier League games at Old Trafford – more than any other visiting side.
- Five players have been sent off in the last six league meetings.
- United have lost four competitive matches in a row during a single season for the first time since October-November 1961.
- They have lost three successive league games and are without a win in seven matches in all competitions.
- Louis van Gaal’s side have averaged just 1.22 goals per game in the league this season, which is their lowest tally in a league campaign since 1989-90 (1.21).
- However, they have the division’s best defensive home record, conceding just three goals.
- Chelsea are aiming to go three league games without defeat for the first time this season.
- The Blues have taken just five points from the last 27 available away from home.
- They are without an away victory in the league since beating West Brom in August.
- Chelsea have scored just twice in their last four league away matches.
- Guus Hiddink has won his last three competitive meetings with Louis van Gaal, all with PSV against AZ Alkmaar in 2005-06.
Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea
Both teams have been in shocking form of late and with both teams missing important player’s, it’s hard to see where the spark is going to come from. We are predicting a drab and uneventful stalemate here.