Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Sunday, 28 October
Kick-off: 16.00 GMT
If I’m honest, I’m dreading this game a bit. I know we’ve been the better side in the league so far this season but the game midweek unnerved me a bit. Not the defeat necessarily because Donetsk are a decent side, more the manner of the defeat and the lack of confidence and imagination we showed.
United were given a game midweek as well – although they still fared better than us – and I don’t think we’ve seen anything like their best football so far this season in spite of the clear difference RVP makes in their attack. Let’s hope we don’t see it this afternoon eh?
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In spite of our good start to the season, Roberto Di Matteo isn’t getting giddy and ahead of this game says “We’ve had a good start, but we need to show consistency over a long period of time. We have a busy fixture list now coming up. So, it will be a test for us, a challenge for us, and it will also test the depth of our squad. The players that have come in have settled in quickly and that’s been a big bonus for us, and I think thanks to the support as well from the club and from all the other team members that we already had here.”
On the game itself, Di Matteo adds “It’s still a little bit early in the season, I would say, for a game like this to be decisive. They’re a great competitor of ours and we’re playing at home and so we want to try to keep our home record very good and have a good game and keep the distance from them.”
Fergie meanwhile, is already thinking about the end of the season and the title, saying “Chelsea, City and ourselves are creating that little gap from the rest and whilst I cannot be dead certain, I would be surprised if one of us didn’t win it.” Whilst on today’s game, he sees John Terry’s absence through suspension as a bonus, saying “Terry is a loss because he has been such a dominating figure. He is the captain and has so much experience at the back. He can be a ruthless defender and a lot of the time, his presence alone was the most important thing.”
For Chelsea, Frank Lampard (calf) misses out through injury whilst JT sits on the FA’s naughty step again. Marin returns from a minor injury.
For United, Smalling has returned to training (metatarsal) and Kagawa (knee), Jones (knee) and Lindegaard (thumb) are all injured.
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Bertrand, Mikel, Romeu, Ramires, Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Moses, Piazon, Marin, Sturridge, Torres, Turnbull.
UNITED (from): De Gea, Johnstone, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Buttner, Valencia, Nani, Anderson, Giggs, Scholes, Cleverley, Fletcher, Carrick, Young, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck, van Persie.
Chelsea 3-3 United (5th February 2012)
53 goals apiece in 40 Premier League meetings between the two sides and they haven’t beaten us at Stamford Bridge since 2002 although overturned a 3-0 deficit to get a point from the game and a stream of obscenities from me last season. Got a horrible feeling that ten year home record of ours against them is there to be broken today though – it finished 1-3 in my nightmare last night!