Wayne Rooney
Rooney has netted 12 league goals this season but is set to revert to a deeper role. Getty Images

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is planning to use top scorer Wayne Rooney in central midfield for the visit to Chelsea after suffering an injury crisis ahead of the trip to the Premier League leaders.

Michael Carrick, Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have all been ruled out of the game after suffering injuries in the win over Manchester City and coupled with suspension to Jonny Evans, Van Gaal has wafer thin options in a number of key positions.

Paddy McNair or Tyler Blackett may be recalled in defence to partner Chris Smalling while in midfield Van Gaal is ready to move United captain Rooney back into a deeper position after occupying the role earlier in the season.

"I don't have another option [in midfield]," he said. "It is a puzzle or I have to play Wayne Rooney again in that position.

"Carrick is injured, he cannot play," the former Netherlands coach added. "But not only Michael Carrick -- Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo cannot play.

"It cannot be worse because it's two players in the left central defensive positions, and Jonny Evans is still suspended. Daley Blind and Michael Carrick play in the holding position in midfield, so I have to change my line-up a lot against Chelsea.

"They are all from the game against Manchester City. Blind has played on because he always wants to play on, but the tackle from [Vincent] Kompany was, of course, the reason.

"Jones, I took him off the pitch already because he injured himself in the second half. Rojo, he was complaining after the match, and Carrick was also off. So it's not surprising for me, but we had a big hope that Blind and Jones could reach this game but they could not.

"Shaw I think is training for a lot of weeks already so he can play. Van Persie is another story -- this is the first week he has trained with us, with the first team, but maybe we have to think about him."

While the game sees first play third in the Premier League, it also sees Juan Mata return to West London for the first time since his £35m move from Chelsea to United in January 2014.

Mata is expected to start, having enjoyed a rich vein of recent form, and Van Gaal admits he is keen to play the returning Spaniard against his former side.

"Normally I always put players in the line-up if they've played for the opponent, so I think Mata shall play," the United boss explained.

"I think Chelsea will be satisfied with a draw, but of course they want to beat us and we want to beat them."