CHELSEA vs United: Preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Date: 5 February 2012

Kickoff: 16.00

 

This afternoon, we either will or won’t be at home to Manchester United, depending on if the country falls apart again over a bit of adverse weather.  Wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had a game snowed off but I’m going to let my superstitions dictate and inflict a preview on you either way.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending which way you look at it), with JT out of this one, we won’t have yet another handshake issue today, so in the absence of another will-he-won’t-he moment when Rio limps onto the pitch, any drama in the build-up is likely to come in the form of the odd snowflake here and there.  Riveting stuff.

 

 

MANAGERS’ VIEWS

Going into this game, AVB has a few thoughts to share with us on Torres, our current situation and the future, saying “Fernando has been having a tremendous team impact, we are not just looking for Fernando the goalscorer, but Fernando the team player.  We’ve been working on his movement for some time in order to adapt to how we are playing. A goal against United would of course trigger it all but even then there has to be continuity afterwards.

We should have a lot more points, it’s true, and I’ve told the players it’s unrealistic to think about the title after the irregularity of our results, the Premier League is out of the question but we are still technically in three competitions.  The two leaders are out of the FA Cup and out of the Champions League. United are playing for one major competition, we are playing for more. The Champions League is not just a wild card, it’s a real objective, but of course we have first to get past Napoli.  I don’t think we’ll finish lower than fourth, nor do have I any doubt I will be here next season. We have a strong belief in the current project.”

As for Fergie, well he’s clearly sticking to the stance that injuries are no excuse and he won’t be mentioning them, saying “There is no doubt freshness will help.  When Ashley got his injury at Fulham it was just at a point when his game was starting to shade a little bit.  His early form was fantastic and we were really pleased with him but there were just a couple of games when it looked as if we were ready to give him a break.  It turned out to be an enforced one but he is fresh now and his training performances the last two weeks have been really good.  Cleverley is an excellent young talent.  He does our chances a lot of good because we have been carrying the burden with limited resources.”

 

 

SQUAD NEWS

For Chelsea, John Terry (knee) misses out again with Ramires (knee) and Mikel (hamstring) whilst Ashley Cole is suspended.  Frank Lampard could return, with Gary Cahill also a potential starter.

For the poor depleted United meanwhile, they welcome back David de Gea and Tom Cleverley.  Ashley Young, Nani and Rooney are also all available. No surprises there then.

 

 

TEAMS

CHELSEA (from): Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Chalobah, Hutchinson, Bertrand, Romeu, Essien, Lampard, Mata, Malouda, Meireles, Torres, Sturridge, Lukaku, Turnbull.

UNITED (from): De Gea, Amos, Smalling, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evra, Evans, Fabio, Fryers, Cole, Carrick, Cleverley, Scholes, Pogba, M Keane, Valencia, Park, Giggs, Young, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck, Berbatov, Hernandez.

 

 

LAST MEETING

United 3-1 Chelsea (18th September 2011)

 

 

PREDICTION

Ok, so what have we got then? Well, as arrogant cocky as they are, they haven’t beaten us in the league at Stamford Bridge in our last nine meetings.  We’re also unbeaten in all competitions so far this year and surprisingly enough, a point better off than this time last season. United, on the other hand, do have the best away record in the top flight and will undoubtedly be a lot fresher than us with all the bruises now healed and band-aids removed – and that’s without even mentioning our defence! Confident of a result then? Not a bit.


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