CHELSEA v Manchester United: Preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Date: Sunday, 19 January

Kick-off: 16.00 GMT

Here we go then. 

Historically one of my least favoured fixtures sees us up against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the late game today.  Why least favoured? Just because its Manchester United and controversy is bound to reign.

We just don’t have nice straight forward games against United whether it’s a dire display, dodgy decisions, or just downright disaster, its anything but straight forward – and the handbags are never far away. There’s been four red cards in as many seasons from our meetings and pre-match build up doesn’t seem to suggest peace is about to break out any time soon.

This time, it’s not Fergie coming for a glass of wine though because it’s David Moyes’ first trip to Stamford Bridge as United manager and clearly he’s already biting a bit with Mourinho messing about in the press. Let’s hope he doesn’t go all Luis Suarez on us eh?

 

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Going into this game, irrespective of form so far this season, Jose Mourinho gives respect to the opposition acknowledging “We don’t play a team who are 11 points behind the leaders.  We play against the champions. I’ve played dozens of derbies and classic matches, and this is what experience says: on many occasions, the team that looks to be in the most difficult situation is the team that appears stronger in that match. That’s why I consider this game especially dangerous for us.”

In true Jose style though, he can’t resist a little dig and adds “Globally, our team is a better team.  It improved not just in terms of what we do in the present, but especially in terms of what we’re building to build the future. By the individual point of view, some of them [United’s players] are the opposite. So I think we’re doing a fine job.”

United boss David Moyes meanwhile, completely untouched by Jose’s antagonism in the press this week says “Manchester United are not only the biggest club in this country but the biggest club in the world. Some of the results have not been what you want but I wouldn’t say the aura is fading; in fact I think the opposite.  The amount of big players wanting to join Manchester United is incredible.  Players are not looking at the share price. What they are looking at is the football club and what it stands for. It is renowned throughout the world, wherever you go, and I don’t see that [changing] at all.” Clearly the Old Trafford door is being knocked down with the January signings lining up then

 

SQUAD NEWS

For Chelsea, van Ginkel is a long term absentee and Branislav Ivanovic remains out (knee) although Frank Lampard (calf) could return. New signing Nemanja Matic, according to Mourinho, won’t be in the starting line-up.

For United, Wayne Rooney (groin) and Robin van Persie (thigh) have been ruled out through injury, whilst Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand are all doubts.

 

TEAMS

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Luiz; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Torres

UNITED (Possible line-up): De Gea; Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Januzaj; Kagawa; Welbeck.

 

LAST MEETING

United 0-0 Chelsea (26th August 2013)

 

PREDICTION

United have the better record in this fixture at Stamford Bridge, with 30 wins to our 22 and our last game at home to them saw us down to nine men and on the back of a 3-2 defeat. In our favour though is the fact that Mourinho has never lost a home game against United in two spells as Chelsea manager. In fact, with four different clubs, Mourinho has come up against United 17 times, losing only twice, with his most recent game against them ending 0-0 at Old Trafford in August.

On recent form though, in spite of some decidedly dodgy results this season, United have won five of their last six games in the league whilst we’ve won five and drawn one. So, as ever, there really won’t be a lot in it today.

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