MANCHESTER: Chelsea received a setback ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester United at Old Trafford when goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was forced to withdraw from their squad through injury.
The Belgium international, who is reported to have suffered an ankle injury in training, was replaced in goal by Asmir Begovic in Chelsea’s only change.
It was Begovic’s first Premier League start of the season.
United manager Jose Mourinho, whose side face Anderlecht in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, made four changes, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic among those dropping out.
David de Gea, Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young came in, with Sergio Romero, Michael Carrick, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and top scorer Ibrahimovc making way. Young was named captain.
Leaders Chelsea are bidding to restore their seven-point advantage over second-place Tottenham Hotspur, who cut the gap to four points by beating Bournemouth 4-0 on Saturday.
Sixth-place United are seeking to move closer to the Champions League places.