The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly influence the tie when Manchester United and Chelsea clash at Old Trafford on Thursday.

The 2022/23 Premier League season is just a few days away from ending, with the long-winding campaign reaching its conclusion. And the curtains will fall on Gameweek 37 on Thursday when Manchester United and Chelsea lock horns at Old Trafford.

Manchester United need just one more point to confirm their return to the UEFA Champions League. Erik ten Hag has positively influenced the dressing room at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils winning the League Cup this season. And clinching a top-four finish will be another affirmation of the Dutchman’s work.

On the other hand, Chelsea wanted the 2022/23 season to end yesterday. The Blues have endured a campaign from hell, with four managers taking charge of the first team thus far. And Frank Lampard’s second stint with the West London club has been disastrous, as they will finish outside the top ten.

With the game being practically a dead rubber, it does not carry much weight for either team. But clashes involving Manchester United and Chelsea are seldom irrelevant for both sets of fans. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle picks three players who can singlehandedly influence the match on Thursday.

Alejandro Garnacho

We kick off our list with a player who will unlikely start on Thursday. But he should come off the bench in the second half as he continues to build rhythm and sharpness following a long layoff. We are talking about Manchester United prodigy Alejandro Garnacho.

The teenage sensation has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Old Trafford, establishing a foothold in the first team. And despite the setback of an ankle injury, his stock remains high in the dressing room. Meanwhile, Erik ten Hag has been slowly easing him back into the thick of the action.

Garnacho will likely start on the bench again this week. But considering matches involving Chelsea and Manchester United are often too close for comfort, he might have to make his mark off the bench. And after already being a super-sub in a close game this season, the youngster is the man for the job. Meanwhile, his performances have captured the attention of Real Madrid.

The 18-year-old recently came off the bench to score against Wolverhampton Wanderers, another close game. And the Real Madrid target will need to channel a similar energy when Manchester United and Chelsea lock horns at Old Trafford on Thursday night at Old Trafford.

Thiago Silva

With Chelsea coming into the game as the odds-on favourites to lose, two of the three players on our list come from the West London club, as is customary in our feature. And the first Chelsea star on the list is Thiago Silva.

The veteran centre-back has been a rare shining light in a forgettable campaign for Chelsea. And while Silva has not been at his best since returning from an injury layoff, he has still been head and shoulders above the rest of the Chelsea defenders. And he will need to be at his best to help the visitors take something from the game.

The Brazilian defender is one of the best readers of the game in the Premier League. And if he rises to the occasion, Chelsea will likely thwart Manchester United at Old Trafford, ensuring another stalemate between the two English heavyweights.

But if Silva is not at the races on Thursday, the returning Marcus Rashford might have a field day at work. So the onus will be on the 38-year-old to bring his A-Game to Old Trafford and help salvage some pride in a miserable season for Chelsea.

Enzo Fernandez

Our list ends with a player who has been one of the rare standouts for Chelsea in the second half of the 2022/23 season. And considering Enzo Fernandez has only been at the West London club for a few months, that is a remarkable achievement.

The Argentine international forced a mid-season move to Chelsea after the Blues’ interest turned his head. He did not want to continue at Benfica despite enjoying a brilliant start to the season. And Fernandez had his way in January, as Chelsea secured his services on the deadline day.

But the 22-year-old had a Herculean task in front of him as the Blues were slipping down the Premier League table when he arrived in England. And while he has failed to turn the tide at Chelsea, he has been arguably the West London club’s best player since joining them.

The World Cup winner will need to pull the rabbit out of the hat to help Chelsea win the midfield battle. But if he is at his best, he can help thwart Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandez in the middle of the park. That will nip the Manchester United offensive moves in the bud, thus helping Chelsea immensely.

Comments 1

  1. edin isack says:

    enzo is down

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