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Manchester United take on Chelsea on Thursday night in the final midweek Premier League fixture of the season. The home side will be hoping that this one is a farewell to Thursday night matches for the foreseeable with the Red Devils only needing a point to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
Erik Ten Hag has enjoyed a successful for first season at the club already having ended United’s six-year trophy drought in February when his side beat Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final. Finishing inside the top four and bringing Champions League football back to Old Trafford would be further proof that the Dutchman has the club back on the right track.
For Chelsea, the game is merely an opportunity to try and reinstate a small slice of pride in what has been a dismal season for the Blues. Currently languishing in 12th place, Frank Lampard’s men already know they will be ending the season in the bottom half of the Premier League bale but a win over United could provide their supporters with a bit of joy to end the season.
The match is set to kick off at 20:00 UK time and viewers will be able to watch it on SkySports Main Event and SkySports Premier League.
Manchester United Team News: Marcus Rashford returns to training
The big news to come out of Manchester United in recent days is the news that Marcus Rashford has once again resumed training. The England forward has missed the previous two games with Wolves and Bournemouth with a leg injury and illness but is now back and expected to start the match against Chelsea.
With Rashford back in the team, Ten Hag may well elect to play his star man up front. Although Rashford’s best form does typically come from the left, he is also a better option up front than Wout Weghorst and Anthony Martial. Rashford moving up front would also mean that either Jadon Sancho or Alejandro Garnacho can get a start.
Ten Hag on Marcus Rashford: “Yesterday he returned to training. He looks quite fit but we have to see today what is the outcome of the training, how did we recover, and then we will make our choices.”
— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) May 24, 2023
In terms of other injuries, Manchester United remain without Lisandro Martinez, Donny van de Beek, Phil Jones and Marcel Sabitzer all of whom won’t play again this season. Scott Mctominay, who returned to the matchday squad against Bournemouth, is available once again and could make a start after coming off the bench at the Vitality Stadium at the weekend.
With a huge FA Cup final with Manchester City just ten days away, Ten Hag will be desperate to secure the point his side needs for Champions League qualification on Thursday night so that he can give his star player a well-earned rest against Fulham on Sunday.
Chelsea Team News: Benoît Badiashile joins the injury list
Speaking ahead of the visit to Old Trafford, Frank Lampard revealed that Benoit Badiashile had picked up a hamstring injury that will keep the young French defender out for some time. Lampard said:
“It’s a big blow for him. I’m really disappointed for him. He’s come here and he’s impressed. In the games just before he got injured, I was really happy with him. I think he’s going to be a really good player for the club.
“The injury is unfortunate. It’s a bit of a complicated injury in his hamstring. We’re probably talking months rather than weeks, unfortunately. That’s all I’ll say at the minute. It’s a little bit complicated for him. But hopefully, for him, the time of it being over the summer means he’s not missing games and he comes back stronger.”
From Chelsea’s recent training video, looks like the actual video of Badiashile injuring himself in training pic.twitter.com/zpJrRYTFXI
— Felix (@FelixJohnston_) May 19, 2023
Badiashile’s injury means that Chelsea go into the game with Manchester with seven first-team players out injured. Other sidelined players include Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell, Armando Broja, Marc Cucurella, Reece James and N’golo Kante.
With a long list of absentees, Lampard will be banking on some of his experienced players to get the young ones through this one. Raheem Sterling is one man who will have a point to prove on a personal note after being dropped by Gareth Southgate in his latest England squad.
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