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Picking the Right Manchester United Starting XI to Take Down Chelsea

Wayne Rooney
Wayne RooneyAlex Livesey/Getty Images
Terry CarrollContributor IIIMarch 7, 2013

After the devastation of Real Madrid, Sir Alex Ferguson should have no difficulty motivating Manchester United against Chelsea on Sunday.

The big question is: Can he motivate Wayne Rooney? Or will he even pick him?

There have been many times so far this season where we have had questions surrounding Rooney's fitness. Back in August, despite six weeks of rest and the pre-season, he was disgracefully unfit. Considering he is probably United's highest-paid player, that was frankly unprofessional.

Sir Alex Ferguson has also alluded to this, even as early as the start of the season. In October he was quoted in The Telegraph as saying: "He is very stocky, he is going to have to train well all the time..."

Again in December, he referred to his star player needing three games to get fit. So it is no real surprise that there are now rumours that Rooney may be "surplus to requirements" this summer, explaining his absence from the starting lineup on Tuesday.

Indeed it would also validate rumours about Robert Lewandowski coming to United.

So that's the big question of the week.


Remotivating the team

Until Sir Alex Ferguson's Press Conference on Friday, we won't know his state of mind nor any injury reports.

Unsurprisingly, Assistant Manager Mike Phelan reported on Tuesday evening that Sir Alex was "too distraught" to face the media after United's defeat by Real Madrid.

Unsurprisingly, because apart from the result, his eyes looked full of tears as he stood on the touchline shortly before the end.

Former City player Rodney Marsh has even speculated that Sir Alex might retire at the end of the season. Given he never played for United and probably hardly knows the manager, we can take that with a pinch of salt.

You can be sure that both the manager and his team will be even more fired up to win the remaining Double following the unfortunate demise on Tuesday.

So motivation won't be difficult for the team or for any individual. Indeed with probably only Paul Scholes and Phil Jones unfit, there will be no shortage of competition for places.

However, there now remains only a maximum of nine-straight wins and United would be certain of the Double. On that basis, there would seem to be no reason for Ferguson not to play his strongest, fittest team in every match until success is guaranteed.

The final question therefore is about tactical formations and who fits best. Wayne Rooney is just one of those who missed out on Tuesday and must come into contention.

Given that Chelsea often play a 4-2-3-1 formation, there is every incentive to match up. 


Suggested team

Surely Sir Alex will keep the core of the same team, but we should not be surprised if Jonny Evans returns for Rio Ferdinand. The latter was lucky to escape a massive sanction for clapping in the referee's face after the Real Madrid match.

And Shinji Kagawa should get a start after his stellar performance last weekend. Nani showed us he is back to his ability to tear apart a defence.

So our proposed team is as follows: 

David De Gea

Rafael Evans, Vidic Evra 

Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley

Nani, Rooney, Kagawa

Robin Van Persie

What team would you pick?

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