Date:Tuesday May 8 2007
Sir Alex Ferguson will probably field an under-strength team at Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho has promised that his players would form a guard of honour but there's every chance they'll greet a weakened United team as Sir Alex ponders changes to ease the tiredness of our key players.
Manchester United are the champions now but that scarcely matters: Sir Alex had planned to rest some key men in order to have a fully fit squad for the game against West Ham where a point would have been enough to secure the title, had Chelsea beaten Arsenal on Sunday.
'The West Ham game is a very important issue,' said the boss.
'We have to respect our reputation.
'Alan Curbishley is a good friend of mine but he understands we have to respect the wishes of other managers.
'I get on very well with Paul Jewell and Alan Pardew as well. They deserve our best attention to the game and I will be picking a team to win on Sunday.
'I don't know what my team will be at Chelsea but there will be a lot of changes, simply because the players are so tired.'
Well, most of us would probably say that who cares about West Ham, let's have a real go at Chelsea's unbeaten league record at Stamford Bridge - but we are not in a position to make such decisions, and it's rather fortunate as United would not have won the league with any of us in charge!
'I know it would have been controversial,' Fergie said, referring to his claim that he would have played a weakened team had Chelsea beaten Arsenal. 'But when you consider Chelsea's home record in the last few seasons, I could have played my best team and still lost,' he admitted.
'I could have played all my youth team and kept my first-choice one for Sunday.
'In the event, I am glad we are going there as champions. It would have been some game if we weren't.'
Well, I'd lie if I said I'm shivering with anticipation right now - it will be a real anti-climax, this game. Of course, we have a trophy presentation and an FA Cup to look forward to so no complaints!
And how will this second-fiddle team line-up? Not sure yet but Fergie told as much that he would assess the fitness of Vidic and Rio before making a decision about whether to play them. I expect Giggs and Scholes starting on the bench and Saha could be recalled to the starting line-up - though it's unclear why he had not been included in the match squad against Manchester City.
Prediction: 2-0 Chelsea. An under-stregth team stands no chance at Stamford Bridge, for I'm sure they want to exact some revenge on us.
Date:Tuesday May 8 2007
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