Man Utd vs Chelsea: Injury News, Projected Team & Predicted Score
All eyes will be on Old Trafford today as Manchester United and Chelsea will do battle with the winner gaining the upper hand in the Barclays Premier League title race.
The Reds, disappointingly, lost 1-0 against Arsenal at the Emirates last weekend, which gave Chelsea, along with their narrow, undeserving 2-1 win over Tottenham, the belief that they could nip in and steal the trophy from heading to Old Trafford.
Due to them meeting in the FA Community Shield and in the UEFA Champions League, this is the fifth time that the Blues and Reds have met, and all of those games have had an explosive edge to them.
The only time that Chelsea has tasted defeat since the middle of February was in the Champions League Quarterfinal when they were conclusively ousted by United 3-1 on aggregate. Since then, the Reds have secured a spot in the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final following a crushing 6-1 dismantling of Schalke 04 over their two semifinal legs, but it is now time for them to refocus their energy on obtaining No. 19.
Chelsea have been in very good form lately, which is the reason why that they even have a chance of retaining their title. Since losing 1-0 to Liverpool on February 6, the Blues have secured 26 points from their last 10 games – only drawing with Fulham and Stoke City. During that same stretch, the Reds have only amassed 19 points, which has been crippled by three losses to the former Big Four – Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.
The Blues are still three points adrift of the league-leaders, but United could have put them clearly out of the title race back at the beginning of March. However, the referee, Martin Atkinson, decided to make himself known and the Reds bowed out of Stamford Bridge losing 2-1. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring with a well-taken goal in the first half, but David Luiz canceled that out 10 minutes into the second half, and Frank Lampard, albeit a cheap penalty, gave Chelsea all three points and an undeserving win. David Luiz should have been booked three times in a 10 minute span in the second half, but Atkinson, who had full view of each, only booked him once and Chelsea remained at full-strength and built their momentum from there.
Chelsea have also closed the gap in the goal differential column and they are now dead even with United. The Blues were at +24 before that showdown at Stamford Bridge, but, now, they have increased their total to +38, while the Reds, disappointingly, have only increased theirs by +2 since then.
The goals have dried up for United, and they have only 10 goals in their last eight games, but they have given up eight in that same stretch. Chelsea have double the Reds output by scoring 20 goals in nine games, having made up their game in hand, and have only conceded six times.
Everyone knows that United are one of the best teams in Europe at home, and that should not change on today. At Old Trafford, the Reds have scored a league-best 43 goals and are the only team that has not allowed more than 10 goals. Because of that form, the Reds have tabled 16 wins and a draw from their 17 matches so far, which is by far the best in the Premier League. Away from Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have not been the best of teams only winning seven of their 17 games, and only have a +12 goal differential.
Sir Alex Ferguson knew that the majority of his players have been playing almost every game, which is why he gambled a place in the European final for this match. Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Javier Hernandez and Rooney were all rested for this match, and it goes without saying that each one of them will benefit from that rest.
Chelsea have no other option but to win at Old Trafford, but even though Manchester United needs just a draw to hold up their advantage in the Barclays Premier League standings, they will not be playing for just a draw.
Out: O. Hargreaves (shoulder)
E. van der Sar; Fabio, R. Ferdinand, N. Vidic, P. Evra; A. Valencia, M. Carrick, R. Giggs, J. S. Park; W. Rooney, J. Hernandez
Manchester United 1 Chelsea 1
Submitted by The United Religion
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