Predicted Chelsea XI v Man United: Hazard replaces FA Cup hero, Ivanovic braced for tough test

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Chelsea find themselves out of the top-four race and will be looking to cast a blow to Manchester United’s own Champions League ambitions at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues could be 18 points adrift of fourth by kickoff, despite going nine games unbeaten in the Premier League since Guus Hiddink’s return as interim manager.

Hiddink’s boys were frustrated by Heurelho Gomes in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Watford. Will the Dutchman make any changes for the visit of the Red Devils?

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GK: Thibaut Courtois

Will go head-to-head against arguably the Premier League’s other standout goalkeeper at the Bridge.

RB: Branislav Ivanovic

May not have slept well last night if he has watched Anthony Martial’s recent performances. The Frenchman has been on-fire of late and Ivanovic will need to be on top of his game.

Branislav Ivanovic, Chris Smalling wrestle

CB: John Terry

A week after confirming that he has not been offered a new contract by his boyhood club, Terry will face one of his greatest rivals for probably the last time – they may yet still meet in the FA Cup.

CB: Kurt Zouma

If Terry is the past, Zouma, 21, is the future of Chelsea’s defence and will get the nod over Gary Cahill.

LB: Cesar Azpilicueta

Has started more Premier League games for the Blues this season than any other player – 22 out of 24.

CM: John Obi Mikel

Mikel has started Chelsea’s last six league games after being out of favour under Jose Mourinho.

CM: Nemanja Matic

The Serbian has been well down on his form from last season, but Hiddink will still want him alongside Mikel in midfield to give Chelsea extra protection against the likes of former playmaker Juan Mata.

Nemanja Matic vs Man United

AMR: Willian

Has been overtaken by Diego Costa as Chelsea’s top scorer for the season in recent weeks. Might feel that he is due one of his free-kick specials as he has only one league strike to his name since October.

AMC: Cesc Fabregas

Missed the reverse fixture between these sides before the New Year, but is back now and close to his best.

AML: Eden Hazard

Has made two sub appearances in Chelsea’s last two league games and ended a 30-match goal drought in the FA Cup win over MK Dons. Oscar scored a hat-trick that day, but it is time for Hazard to start.

ST: Diego Costa

The Spain international relishes the big-game atmosphere and has the potential to be the match-winner if he can control his temperament. Him v Chris Smalling could be the pivotal personal battle.

Chelsea lineup v Man United

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More Stories Branislav Ivanovic Cesar Azpilicueta Cesc Fabregas Diego Costa Eden Hazard John Obi Mikel John Terry Kurt Zouma Nemanja Matic Thibaut Courtois Willian