Saturday 27, October 2012
Chelsea vs Manchester United preview
MANCHESTER UNITED face their first big test in the league this season as they play Chelsea on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.
The game also provides a chance for United to reduce the Blues’ lead at the top of the Premier League, after an almost immaculate start to the season for Roberto Di Matteo’s men. The European Champions have played eight, won seven, and drawn just once, 0-0 with QPR in the derby.
United meanwhile have won six, but lost two, leaving them with ground to catch up only quarter of the way through the season. At this stage last season, they had lost just once; the 6-1 defeat to City.
Head-to-Head, Chelsea have the upper-hand over United, with 13 wins in 40 matches, but United have won 12 times, so a win on Sunday would see that stat equaled. Another positive for the Blues is their record against United at Stamford Bridge, where they are unbeaten against United in the league since April 2002.
United came close to ending that run last season when they came from 3-0 down to salvage a 3-3 draw, but the Blues will be determined to make sure that doesn’t happen again. However United seem to be used to coming from behind this season to win matches, having done it four times this season. Their unbeaten run of five matches against Chelsea will be a boost too.
Both clubs had difficult matches in Europe this week too. United came through a testing match against Braga to secure a 3-2 win, having been 2-0 down, but Chelsea couldn’t do the same at Shakhtar Donetsk, where they lost 2-1, a loss that proves they can be beaten, without John Terry.
The former England skipper’s ban for using racist language against Anton Ferdinand means that he will miss this match, and the cup match on Wednesday, so Rooney, van Persie and whoever Fergie chooses to play with them should really be looking to capitalise upon his absence.
Chelsea will be without Terry, as mentioned, but will also have to cope without Frank Lampard, who is out for two weeks with a calf strain sustained against Shakhtar mid-week., so Eden Hazard is likely to return to the starting line-up having been among the subs on Tuesday.
Otherwise the Blues have no other problems, and with two goals in his last two games against United, Chelsea shouldn’t be too worried about David Luiz stepping in for Terry.
Sjinji Kagawa also came off injured mid-week, and United confirmed yesterday that the Japanese midfielder will be out for four weeks with a knee injury.
Anders Lindegaard has overcome an injury scare, and is available for selection, but Chris Smalling and Phil Jones aren’t quite ready to return to first team action yet.
Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra are likely to return to the starting line-up after being rested against Braga on Tuesday.
Provisional Squad (Chelsea): Cech, Turnbull, Ivanovic, Cole, Luiz, Ferreira, Cahill, Bertrand, Azpilicueta, Romeu, Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Mikel, Moses, Malouda, Hazard, Marin, Torres, Sturridge.
Provisional Squad (United): De Gea, Lindegaard, Da Silva, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Buttner, Wootton, Valencia, Anderson, Giggs, Carrick, Nani, Young, Scholes, Cleverley, Fletcher, Powell, Rooney, van Persie, Welbeck, Hernandez.
Quays News Prediction: 3-2 - It will be an extremely close game, and very difficult to predict. With United conceding so easily, Chelsea’s midfield won’t be afraid of driving forward to support Fernando Torres and putting United on the back foot. On the flip side, United will be quick to counter-attack the Blues, and without Terry at the back, there could be some confusion, allowing the United front-men to take advantage.
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