3 key battles that will decide the game between Chelsea and Manchester United

Chelsea take on Manchester United this Sunday and it promises to be a high-voltage game. Ahead of the game, we take a look at the 3 key battles which will decide Chelsea vs Manchester United clash.

The game will be nothing less than a questionnaire for both the tactical masterminds, especially for Guus Hiddink as the 90-minutes will decide whether Chelsea can finally rank within the top-six.

Chelsea vs Manchester United: Key Battles

Who could have imagined that with only one-third of the 2015-16 season to go, the 2014-15 season champions will be sitting at the 13th position, losing one of the greatest managers, and United’s board will be having a kind of agnosticism over the Dutch manager.

However, Van Gaal’s men are having a size-mental advantage with their 3-0 fascinating win over Stoke City midweek. Ahead of the big kickoff, let us take a look on some of the key battles rather than the blue-vs-red war:

Diego Costa vs. Chris Smalling: The match changing battle?

It is really getting up hot from here. It seems as if Costa has rediscovered his form under the new manager, Guus Hiddink, who is capitalizing on him very judiciously and has bagged 8 goals already. He is on fire! Meanwhile, Smalling has been United’s top defender this far, and has started 23/24 league games.

He is the only man who can actually stop the Spaniard from making it nine-games-unbeaten run under Hiddink. Though, the whole team will have to mark him, Smalling’s defensive mate, Blind, might help him with this difficult job. Once more Costa, keeping a cool head will decide the outcome.

Wayne Rooney vs. John Terry: Can the talisman impress again?

None other than John terry will get this job, and why not? After all he is the most experienced man in the squad and it is entirely expected that a captain will step up to suppress another captain.

Wayne Rooney, like Costa, has dug out his hidden form with the arrival of New Year and scored in the thumping win over the Potters. Having scored 7 goals already and confidence in abundance, it will not be a painless job for the 35-year-old to hamper this striker.

Besides, John Terry might be playing his last match against United as rumors are flying that he will leave the club at the end of this season. So, a superlative performance against the Devils might remain as a piece of the showcase.

Anthony Martial vs. Ivanovic: Will the 20-year-old continue?

Another man, who has just started his professional career at United, and has also, started impressing fans at such a young age. He has already scored a goal against Stoke and his having the necessary confidence to step up.

If Chelsea’s defense remains as slow as it is presently, his pace will easily cut through them and he might score a couple of mesmerizing goals.

The one who will face him off is, has to be, Ivanovic. With a couple of impressive performances, though it’s late, the Serbian may have saved his season.

To keep this French youngster away, Ivanovic will have to be at his best as the pivot of Rooney and Martial can make miracles happen.

Image credit: getty