Manchester United vs Chelsea – an English Premier League game which neither can afford to lose, with the former under added pressure as their manager Louis Van Gaal tries to hang on to his job. A loss and Manchester United could be looking at a new manager; a win and there will be a stay of execution.
United have lost their last three Premier League games and are winless in the last five, with Van Gaal's job under serious threat as a result. Some reports have suggested Van Gaal will be sacked if Manchester United go down to Chelsea on Monday, and looking at the way the team have played over the last few weeks, that is a real possibility, even against a struggling side like the Blues.
Manchester United's season went from bad to worse on Boxing Day, when Stoke City handed them a deserved 2-0 loss, with the defence looking troubled and the attack seemingly bereft of ideas. Goals have been a big problem for Manchester United all season, and now, with the defence also finding it difficult to quell goals, the team's form has taken a nosedive.
Managers are paid big bucks to so sort out such crises, and Van Gaal needs to show he still has it in him to get out of this rut, starting with a win against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
"You can say we can quickly get over this defeat by playing against Chelsea but in the time in between, you have to recover because the players have given everything," Van Gaal told MUTV, hardly instilling confidence in the fans who have shown their displeasure at the results and the manager's dour brand of possession-hogging football.
"Then you have to manage that you are very confident to start the Chelsea game, and that you dare to play football -- our football. It is very difficult to do that in just two days but we shall try."
Chelsea have shown signs of their old self in the last couple of games, not co-incidentally after Jose Mourinho was let go by the club. The forward line looks a lot better, and Guus Hiddink will, no doubt, set his team up to hit Manchester United on the counter at Old Trafford on Monday.
Diego Costa, however, will be a big miss for Chelsea, but the option of Loic Remy's pace could be a blessing in disguise for the Dutchman, who is relishing his return to the big English Premier League stage.
"When I was asked [to return] I could have said I wanted to relax at home, I had plans to go on holiday, but my partner looked into my eyes when I got the call and said we're not going on holiday, we're going to London, which means I had the feeling I could contribute something," Hiddink said of taking the interim reigns at Chelsea.
"For me, when I literally feel the thrill in my stomach, I say OK, step forward and that was the case. It's always nice to be involved in intense games, as it was on Saturday [in the 2-2 draw against Watford] and as it will be again [against Manchester United at Old Trafford]."
Where to Watch Live
Get the highlights of the match HERE
The match between Manchester United and Chelsea is scheduled for a 5.30 pm local time (11 pm IST, 12.30 pm ET) start. Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD1 will broadcast the match live in India, while the online live streaming options are on Starsports online and Hotstar.
Live TV coverage for viewers in the UK will be on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultra HD, while Manchester United vs Chelsea can also be watched via live stream on BT Sport Online.
PPTV Sports and LeTV will broadcast Manchester United vs Chelsea live in China and Hong Kong, while viewers in Singapore can watch the match live on 104 mio, with live coverage of the match in Thailand on CTH.
Watch the Chelsea's visit to Manchester United live in the US on NBC Sports Network, with the live stream option on NBC Sports Live Extra. Audience in Canada can watch the action live on Sportsnet World, while the EPL action can also be live streamed on Watch Sportsnet World.