Wayne Rooney may play in midfield: How will Chelsea, Manchester United line up?

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Ahead of the massive Chelsea vs. Manchester United match on Saturday at Stamford Bridge (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) both teams have some tricky selections issues.

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United boss Louis van Gaal revealed he will be without four key players for the game at the Premier League leaders, and that skipper Wayne Rooney could play as an emergency holding midfielder. As for Chelsea, Jose Mourinho is without top scorer Diego Costa and is sweating on the fitness of Loic Remy to fill-in up top.

Here’s a look at how both teams might line up on Saturday in west London.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1)

—– Courtois —–

— Ivanovic — Terry — Cahill — Azpilicueta —

—– Matic —– Fabregas —–

— Willian — Oscar — Hazard —

—– Remy —–

Mourinho doesn’t have too many difficult decisions to make but the only real conundrum is who will come in for Costa up top. Remy is recovering from injury and the PL leaders only have veteran forward Didier Drogba as another option to come in up top. Drogba scored away at Old Trafford in a 1-1 draw earlier this season, so maybe he can do the business again? If Remy is fit he has to start but apart from that, a 4-2-3-1 formation with Fabregas and Matic in the middle looks good for the Blues.

Manchester United (4-1-4-1)

—– De Gea —–

— Valencia — Smalling — McNair — Shaw —

——- Herrera ——-

— Young — Rooney — Fellaini — Mata —

—– Van Persie —-

United’s defensive stockpile has been decimated by injuries as Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Michael Carrick will all be missing for the trip to Chelsea. Their bruising derby win against Man City came at a cost but Robin van Persie has trained this week and if he can start the game, he must lead the line. Van Gaal has talked about Rooney playing in the holding midfield role. That seems a little too drastic and will take away a huge part of United’s offensive creativity, slot him into the playmaking role instead. I would sacrifice Ander Herrera and tell him to drop in to be the lone holding midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation. The Spaniard will have to show plenty of discipline but his team needs him to do it.

Van Gaal has options if RVP isn’t fit with the likes of Angel di Maria and Adnan Januzaj in reserve. It’s just at the back where the Red Devils’ look a little shaky as young Paddy McNair and the fit-again Luke Shaw will be called upon after lengthy spells out. Their six-game winning streak could end at Chelsea, but van Gaal’s boys should go all-out attack. What have they got to lose?

Report: Man United plotting January move for Sancho

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Jadon Sancho has made it known that he intends to return to England and the Premier League in the not-so-distant future, and Manchester United appear to be weighing up a January move for the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund star, according to a report from the Guardian.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Sancho struggling early in his second full season in the Dortmund first team, Man United chief executive Ed Woodward could see this as an opportunity to acquire an exciting, young English talent at a cut-rate price.

Just last month, Sancho was dropped and fined by Dortmund for returning late from England duty. Last weekend, he was subbed off after 34 minutes — without an injury — and harshly criticized by manager Lucien Favre after the game.

[ MORE: Sterling backs Gomez after boos were heard at Wembley ]

Woodward and United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are said to be interested in signing Sancho, who they see as a summer transfer target ahead of the 2020-21 season, in January to allow the player an additional six months to settle into his new surroundings before the massive weight of expectations are fully thrust upon him.

Sancho scored 13 goals in 43 appearances (all competitions) for Dortmund last season. The former Watford and Manchester City academy product has four goals in 16 games this season.

Man City’s attempt to block UEFA investigation denied in court

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MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) Manchester City lost its attempt Friday to block an investigation into allegations it deceived UEFA while violating rules that monitor soccer club finances.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that City’s appeal against UEFA’s handling of the investigation was inadmissible. The two-time defending Premier League champions tried to stop UEFA’s club finance panel from handling a referral by investigators to impose a punishment.

“At CAS we can only hear appeals against final decisions,” said Matthieu Reeb, the court’s secretary general.

UEFA investigators had called for a severe penalty — that City be excluded from the Champions League for one season.

The file will now proceed to UEFA’s club finance judges. Any sanction they impose can also be challenged at CAS.

The latest UEFA investigation started after leaks of City’s internal correspondence and documents to German news outlet Der Spiegel last year.

The leaks implied City deceived UEFA for several years, including by hiding information that revenue from potentially overvalued commercial deals came from the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi to curb losses.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

City has never disputed the authenticity of the documents.

“There was absolutely no examination of the merits,” Reeb said of the three-judge panel’s ruling. “We cannot say whether the decision of the alleged breach of financial fair play rules are real or not.”

Friday’s ruling extends a long-standing conflict between City and UEFA in the era of “Financial Fair Play” rules which began in 2009 after consultation with clubs. The project was intended to protect clubs from reckless overspending.

UEFA rules limit cash injections from wealthy owners, which critics say penalize emerging clubs with big ambitions. Commercial deals such as shirt sponsorships that are suspected of being inflated are also assessed for the fair market rate.

City was deducted $22 million of Champions League prize money by UEFA in 2014 in the first round of FFP judgments.

Report: Bruce hopes to bring Xhaka to Newcastle in January

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Steve Bruce has prioritized a loan move to bring Granit Xhaka to Newcastle United in January, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

Xhaka, now the former captain of Arsenal after his recent confrontation with the club’s fans, is expected to leave Arsenal in January and Bruce hopes that Fabian Schar, a longtime teammate of Xhaka with the Swiss international team, will be able to persuade the 27-year-old midfielder to choose the Magpies over what will surely be a long list of clubs desperate to acquire his services.

According to the report, a number of clubs in Italy have already expressed an interest in signing Xhaka — whether or loan or permanently — therefore Bruce and Co., are likely to face plenty of competition. However, the chance to remain in the Premier League and prove his detractors — many of them Arsenal fans — wrong could be appealing to Xhaka.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

Xhaka, who is not currently injured, hasn’t made an appearance for Arsenal since the incident occurred late last month. Schar recently said that he “can’t wait to give [Xhaka] a hug” next time the two players see each other.

VIDEO: Each PL team’s best and worst player of October

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PST’s Joe Prince-Wright looks at the best (and worst) player of October for each Premier League team as the league enters its final international break of 2019.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Liverpool and Leicester City flying high, picking the Reds’ or Foxes’ best player presented plenty of worthy candidates. As for terribly underperforming sides like Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Southampton, it was a challenge for the opposite reason, though JPW wasn’t short on options when it came to worst performers.

Hit Play on the above video to see who graded out well — and not so well — for your club, and feel free to agree or disagree all you want in the comments below.