United will be looking to make it consecutive wins in the Premier League when they travel to Stamford Bridge in the Sunday afternoon kick off.
Van Gaal will be satisfied with the performance on Tuesday night against Stoke as it was the first time in many games United scored two goals in the first half. The result was a huge in terms of chasing for the top four finish. With five points separating United in fifth to four place Arsenal, the race for top four will be on as there are still fixtures against Arsenal, Man City and Leicester to play for. All in contention to challenge for European places next season.
The fixture against Chelsea comes at a time where they have had a horrid season in defending their crown. They have not played as champions and that is why Mourinho was shown the exit. Now the club under the control of Dutchman Guus Hiddink, the ship is beginning to sail at the Blues as they are still within the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup competitions. It is far stretched task for Chelsea to aim for top four with 16 points behind Arsenal.
Van Gaal could name an unchanged team to the one who beat Stoke comfortably. The Red Devil’s will be without Marcos Rojo, Schweinsteiger, Young, Valencia, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw. Memphis and Pereira could start on the bench. Chelsea will call back Hazard into the starting line-up, Pedro remains a doubt while Remy and Falcao are injured. New recruits Pato and Miazga lack match fitness.
United will need to be on their toes especially whoever is marking Diego Costa, the provocative striker is well renowned for causing tensions between defenders to deceive the referee of misjudged tackles and getting himself in trouble. He is hot tempered but that also plays into his style of play which we all know he is capable of flourishing under the spotlight. If these two sides were amongst the top four, the fixture itself would have much more expectations surrounding it. However, seeing Chelsea struggle to perform to their best and failing to even defend their title shows how much football can change in the matter of months.
For Van Gaal it is an opportunity to start to push towards the top four finish and pile pressure on the other teams. It is a no brainer that Leicester City are enjoying the Premier League and their season seems to be gaining momentum and oppositions are fearing them. It is very competitive and to see a side break through the recent top five of Arsenal, Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City, it brings a breath of fresh air to see a team who were involved in the relegation battle to now being considered title challengers.
Rooney has been scoring lately and his link up with the rest of the attackers shows United are getting back into their strides. Goals for Rooney and Lingard against Stoke was a boost to the team as fans have wanted to see more attempts at goal. The goal from Martial was spectacular as United played on the counter and the finishing was like Andy Cole’s. So there is plenty of time for Martial to develop and score goals.
Possible starting XI:
Chelsea; Courtois, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Costa.
Man Utd; De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson, Carrick, Herrera, Lingard, Mata, Martial, Rooney.