No Diego Costa for Chelsea, the return of Bastian Schweinsteiger for Manchester United – there will be some switching and changing to the lineups of both teams in this Monday evening clash barely a couple of days after their Boxing Day trials and tribulations in the English Premier League.
Costa went in for a needless challenge and with it picked up a fifth yellow card of the season, which means an automatic one-match suspension. Guus Hiddink would have loved to have the striker in his ranks as he tries to solve the how-do-we-get-three-points-consistently puzzle, especially considering the Spain international scored both goals in the 2-2 draw against Watford on Boxing Day.
With Radamel Falcao still struggling for fitness and Eden Hazard not quite at his best yet – even if one of his best games of the season came while playing as a false 9, while he is also carrying a slight injury – it does look like Hiddink will go with Loic Remy up front, provided the France international overcomes the slight knock that he is reportedly carrying.
The rest of the pitch, in terms of performances, was encouraging, particularly on the attacking front, with the likes of Oscar, his penalty miss notwithstanding, Willian and Pedro doing reasonably well. That is, of course, relatively speaking and in comparison to the start of the season under Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho could indeed come into focus in this Manchester United vs Chelsea matchup at Old Trafford, if Louis Van Gaal's team continue to struggle. Van Gaal is under big pressure to deliver results, with some reports even suggesting the Dutchman will lose his job if Manchester United suffer another defeat on Monday. Mourinho, of course, is the man reportedly waiting in the wings to take over.
Van Gaal will be happy to welcome Schweinsteiger back into the squad, after the Germany international enjoyed a bit of a winter break owing to a three-match suspension. Morgan Schneiderlin is another who could come into the starting lineup, with Van Gaal likely to shake things up.
Wayne Rooney started on the bench in the 2-0 loss to Stoke City on Boxing Day, and you feel the club captain will return to the starting XI on Monday against Chelsea.
This is a game that neither team can really afford to lose, and with Van Gaal's future seemingly at stake, the home crowd will expect a much better performance from their side, particularly on the attacking front.
Expected lineups: Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Jones, Smalling, Blind; Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin; Mata, Rooney, Depay; Martial.
Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Remy.