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06 June 2023

Man Utd eye first win at Chelsea in decade

By Reuters

Manchester United's injury problems have improved before this weekend's Premier League trip to Chelsea with long-term midfield absentees Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley back in the squad, manager Alex Ferguson said on Friday.

Other players back in the frame for Sunday's match are winger Nani, striker Wayne Rooney and goalkeeper David de Gea as the champions seek their first Premier League win at Stamford Bridge for a decade.

Young has been sidelined for several weeks with a knee injury, while Cleverley has been out of action since October with an ankle problem.

"We're are a bit better this week... we hope that Rooney, Nani, Young, Cleverley will all be in the squad," Ferguson told a news conference.

"It is more likely Tom will play against Chelsea reserves on Monday but he is travelling with the team anyway."

De Gea missed the side's midweek victory over Stoke City but is expected to return to action in place of the injured Anders Lindegaard, who played in six of seven matches between Dec. 21 and Jan. 22.

"It looks like Lindegaard will be out for at least four weeks, maybe five to six, with ankle ligament damage," Ferguson added.

"We don't know what his recovery from injuries is like, so we'll have to wait and see, but I would have thought at least four weeks."

Meetings between Chelsea and United have in recent seasons played key parts in the championship with the last seven titles having been won by one of the two clubs.

This season, Chelsea are a hefty 12 points off the pace in fourth place and all but the most optimistic fan would rule them out of contention for the title.

With the best away record in the league, having lost one and won eight of 11 games, United head to London in good shape to pick up three points that would take them top of the league if leaders Manchester City fail to beat Fulham the previous day.

"Hopefully our form will stand up as it did in the Arsenal game," Ferguson said, referring to their 2-1 win at the Emirates stadium in their last away game in the league two weeks ago.

"It's not an easy game going to Stamford Bridge, we've not beaten them since 2002... the last seven years we've fought with them for league titles so you expect it to be a hard game and it will be."

United are level on points with neighbours City, with 54 from 23 games, five ahead of third-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Ferguson's side beat Chelsea 3-1 at Old Trafford in the league in September in what he called a "crazy" game where "it could have been 20-18" but he was not expecting a repeat."I don't think it will be anything like that, I think it will be much tighter, I'm sure of that," the manager said.