Chelsea vs Man Utd: Preview, Preferred Team & Predicted Score
Nearly three months after this fixture was originally scheduled, Manchester United heads to Stamford Bridge for yet another epic Barclays Premier League match with current the champions, Chelsea. Sir Alex Ferguson is preparing United, who narrowly missed out on last season’s crown by a solitary point, for another six-pointer at a place where the Reds have not tasted the thrill of victory in their last eight attempts.
United go into the match just three days after their 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic, however, Chelsea, has been off since their UEFA Champions League match with F.C. Copenhagen last Tuesday. The Reds currently boast an almost unbelievable 15-point advantage over Chelsea, albeit having played one game more, as United witnessed this weekend form and records do not count for anything – especially this season.
Chelsea aspirations of retaining their title are all but extinct, but for confidence purposes, a win against United could very well resurrect their season after suffering an early exit from the FA Cup last weekend as well. Since these clubs were initially schedule to play on December 19, Chelsea has only taken 14 points from their nine matches, meanwhile, United has taken 26 out of possible 33 points.
Stamford Bridge has usually been a fortress for the Blues, but this season the Blues have not been as been as ruthless as they have been in the past and have dropped points from four of their 12 matches – two draws and two losses. Chelsea are currently planted in fifth place, just outside of the lucrative European places, on 45 points, a far cry from their first place position and 58 point total at this same round of fixtures last season.
The Blues’s saving grace this season has been their defensive record as Chelsea have done well to maintain their lead-leaguing 22 goals against – three better than United – which has been aided tremendously by their seven shutouts in their first nine games. The reason for the Chelsea’s fall from grace has been their lack of offensive production, because their 46 goals this season is well short of the 61, which is coincidentally the same amount United has scored to date, after 26 games last year.
Chelsea was very busy in the January transfer window spending close to £71 million to bolster both their defense and attack with the signings of David Luiz from Benfica and long-time United nemesis, Fernando Torres from Liverpool.
Didier Drogba, whose career at Stamford Bridge is said to be hanging in balance on the mere fact to whether he starts against United or not, and Flourent Malouda are Chelsea’s joint leading goal scorers with nine goals apiece. Their recent dip cannot be solely blamed on their attackers, because Chelsea’s back-four, which is anchored by their shamed-captain, John Terry, and Ashley Cole, who has been in the news for shooting someone with a pellet gun.
Chelsea’s midfield, which will be the key focus against United, should consist of Michael Essien and Frank Lampard and either John Mikel Obi or their £17 million summer signing, Ramires.
These two Premier League powerhouses have already met up once this season as United triumphed to a fully-deserved 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the FA Community Shield. Antonio Valencia, who is near a first-team return after suffering a stomach-turning broken leg in September, scored the game’s first goal to give United a narrow lead going into halftime.
One of the buys of the summer, Javier Hernandez, scored his first official goal on English soil, to give United a comfortable two goal cushion, however, that was cut in half six minutes from time by Salomon Kalou. With Chelsea pushing forward in search of the unlikeliest of equalizers, Dimitar Berbatov scored a humdinger of a goal when he got in behind Jeffrey Bruma, and the Bulgarian cleverly chipped the ball over an onrushing Henrique Hilario to give United the first piece of silverware of the infant season.
Sir Alex ruled Rio Ferdinand out of contention for this match with his lingering calf problem, so the back-four should remain unchanged with John O’Shea, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra. Over the last couple of years, it has been a rare occasion that Manchester United has scored a Premier League victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but this could be the best time for the Reds to break that duck and get three more vital Barclays Premier League points.
Out: O. Hargreaves (hamstring), Anderson (knee), R. Ferdinand (calf), J. S. Park (hamstring), J. Evans (ankle); Doubtful: A. Valencia (leg), M. Owen (groin)
E. van der Sar; J. O’Shea, C. Smalling, N. Vidic, P. Evra; Nani, P. Scholes, M. Carrick, D. Fletcher, R. Giggs; D. Berbatov
Chelsea 1 Manchester United 2
Submitted by The United Religion
/ 1 day ago
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