Manchester United just need a single point against Chelsea tonight to qualify for Champions League football next season.
United defeated Bournemouth 1-0 on the road last weekend and Liverpool, who had gained momentum in recent weeks, drew against Aston Villa, meaning a top four finish is now within touching distance for Erik ten Hag’s side.
Ten Hag will be hopeful of a win against Chelsea on Thursday night regardless. The London club have endured a trainwreck season and they are currently 12th in the Premier League, despite spending more than £600million this term.
Regarding team news, Marcus Rashford was absent against Bournemouth due to illness but he returned to training this week.
This clash against Chelsea is the penultimate league game of the season, with United playing Fulham on Sunday.
Follow the blog below for live updates from Old Trafford.
Rashford set to return
United have looked short of goals recently but they should have Rashford back tonight, with the forward missing the last two games through injury and illness. He needs one more goal to become the first United player since Robin van Persie to hit 30 goals in a season but he’s got only one goal in his last seven games. Rediscovering his scoring touch before the FA Cup final could be a bonus for United.
Chelsea have imploded
Imagine being told back in August that United would play Chelsea three days before the end of the season with a 26-point lead over the west London side. You would expect they might be in a title race with that kind of cushion, but while there has been steady improvement for United under Erik ten Hag, Chelsea have imploded under new ownership despite spending more than £600million on new players. They will soon confirm a fourth new manager in less than a year. They look to be done with this season and United really should get the point they need.
Wan-Bissaka impressing United figures
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s form could secure his United future as the club mull over recruiting a new right-back.
It is understood Crystal Palace started to prepare a package at the start of the year to re-sign Wan-Bissaka, 25, in the summer but that activity has gone dormant.
Bayer Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong’s representatives were encouraged by discussions with United, who initially indicated Wan-Bissaka would be moved on in the close season.
Read more here.
‘Neymar would fit in with Ten Hag’s plans’
Brazil legend Rivaldo is in favour of Neymar making a summer move to United.
“Playing in the best league in the world in the shirt of a legendary club is something that suits very well a great player like Neymar who needs a new challenge,” he told Betfair.
“Moreover, United are going through a recovery phase under coach Erik ten Hag. The team will secure Champions League qualification, have already won the League Cup and can still win the FA Cup, so I see Neymar arriving at a more structured club now and one that is ready to welcome a football superstar who will surely give a lot to them.”
Is Champions League important?
Ten Hag said: “We want to compete with the best, then you have to be in the Champions League. We want to compete with the best and be in the Champions League. In the Premier League, you have to be one of the first four, that’s not easy, many are competing for it, many think they should be in and we are one of them.”
Thoughts on the Mount reports
The main winner from the Mason Mount reports yesterday is Mason Mount. It suits his bargaining position to be linked with United as it may unnerve Chelsea to relent and meet his salary demands. An agent is not doing their job particularly well if they fail to whip up apprentice interest from United during an impasse.
United have set money aside for a striker but any more movement is compromised by the need to sell and the uncertainty of the club’s ownership. It would be odd of United to rush through a deal for Mount, neither a striker nor an out-and-out central midfielder – the two most pressing positions.
Mount’s new PR manager also handles Cristiano Ronaldo and they were happy to deride United at the time of Ronaldo’s departure. Perhaps they have come to their senses and realised United are (gradually) on the way up and Ronaldo is heading in the opposite direction. Which is why he is playing in Saudi Arabia. DONE
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Lampard breaks silence on Mount future
Frank Lampard cannot be confident that Mason Mount will stay at the club beyond the summer amid growing links with United.
The 24-year-old has a year left on his Chelsea contract and could exit in the coming months as the Blues offload players to try and stay within Financial Fair Play Rules following their mammoth spend across the previous two transfer windows.
United are one of many Premier League clubs linked with a potential move for the England star.
Read more here.
Ten Hag asked about possible move for Neymar
Erik ten Hag used his stock answer when asked about possible Manchester United interest in Neymar.
The Paris Saint-Germain winger’s future is uncertain after another premature Champions League ejection and the Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani’s interest in buying United has sparked links between the club and Neymar.
PSG are owned by Qatar Sports Investment and it has been suggested a Qatari takeover of United would lead to a marquee signing.
Read more here.
The arrival photos
Champions League football should be secured tonight.
How United should line up vs Chelsea
United just need a single point against Chelsea to qualify for Champions League football next season.
United defeated Bournemouth 1-0 on the road last weekend and Liverpool, who had gained momentum in recent weeks, drew against Aston Villa, meaning a top four finish is now within touching distance.
Our writers have had their say on how United should start.
United vs Chelsea odds
United are fancied to win tonight.
- United – 13/20
- Draw – 16/5
- Chelsea – 15/4
Odds via Bet365.
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United give team news for Chelsea fixture
Marcus Rashford is in contention to return for United in their penultimate Premier League game of the season against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Rashford missed the last two wins against Wolves and Bournemouth through injury and illness but he resumed training on Tuesday.
United will still be without long-term absentees Lisandro Martinez and Donny van de Beek, while Marcel Sabitzer’s loan has ended prematurely through injury.
Read more here.
Hello and welcome to today’s Manchester United live match blog.