Manchester United set to make changes for return to Chelsea


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The Independent Football

The dust may still be some way from settling on Manchester United's dramatic and controversial win over Chelsea on Sunday, but the two clubs must get ready to do battle again.

By chance, the Barclays Premier League's top two sides have been drawn against each other in the Capital One Cup fourth round and will meet at Stamford Bridge once again, just three days after last weekend's stormy encounter.

The players involved may be different - with both clubs having fielded a number of fringe players in the previous round - but it remains to be seen whether that prevents any needle from United's 3-2 win spilling over.

Chelsea were left seething when, after recovering from 2-0 down to level, they had Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres sent off before Javier Hernandez struck United's winner from an offside position.

The dismissal of Fernando Torres after a second yellow card for diving was particularly contentious and referee Mark Clattenburg has since been caught up in further controversy following accusations by Chelsea he used "inappropriate language" towards Blues stars John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata

The match was soured further after a steward required hospital treatment and objects were thrown onto the field.

In terms of the match action to come, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he intends to rotate his squad.

The 2-1 victory over Newcastle in round three saw the likes of youngster Michael Keane, Marnick Vermijl and Scott Wootton given starts along with new signing Alexander Buttner while Nick Powell and Ryan Tunnicliffe came off the bench.

Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher were among the senior players to feature but both were coming back from injury.

Ferguson told MUTV: "Obviously we will make changes for the Wednesday game.

"The squad that played against Newcastle will be in place again.

"You don't want to lose down there and we want to continue in the cup.

"Any game down there is going to be tough. There has been good progress there since Roberto di Matteo took the job. They are big games - and big games are good for us."

The game will come too soon for injured defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

Neither player has featured this season with Smalling having broken a metatarsal in the summer and Jones having been hampered by back and knee problems.

Smalling, 22, is back in training and with Nemanja Vidic currently sidelined after knee surgery, his return for United could not come soon enough.

Ferguson said: "We will try to push Chris on quickly. I don't think he will make Wednesday's game but I am sure he will be ready for the following week.

"There was some hope both he and Phil would be back for this busy schedule.

"Phil will be starting football training next Monday. He still has some running to do. The good news is they are not far away."

United's busy programme continues as they face Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday and then travel to Braga in the Champions League next week.