United v Chelsea
Our Premier League campaign continues this Sunday afternoon with a visit from our title chasing rivals, Chelsea. Can United continue the fine start they`ve had this season against a side that, usually, concede very few goals and have, quite often, got a good result at Old Trafford?
The Master certainly has some respect for the Apprentice!
Ahead of the clash between Manchester United and Chelsea this weekend, Sir Alex has spoken about his opposite number, Andre Villas-Boas, possibly winning the Premier League, remarking,
"It would be an incredible achievement for someone of his age to do that."
"For a young man going to Chelsea it`s a hard challenge but he`s done very well and his team have responded."
And as for Chelsea themselves, Sir Alex had this to say about their title chances,
"They`ll always pose a threat to us."
"The Manchester teams are enjoying the publicity of the predictions that the two of us will be involved in winning the league."
"But in the background lurks Chelsea. Nobody`s talking about them and that`s an advantage."
Manchester united Team News:
The eleven that started against Benfica, in midweek, was far removed form those that have competed in the four Premier League games we`ve played this season. Sir Alex Ferguson certainly took the opportunity to rotate his squad.
But for the visit of Chelsea, we expect Sir Alex to revert to his favoured eleven, although with Vidic, Cleverley and Welbeck out there could be an argument to imply it is merely the strongest available.
Therefore, we reckon Sir Alex will opt for:-
De Gea, Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra, Nani, Anderson, Giggs, Young, Rooney, Hernandez.
Player to watch: David De Gea
Having told, in no uncertain terms, Kenny Dalglish`s daughter that De Gea will play against Chelsea, the young Spaniard will be keen to make sure he makes no errors, especially with Anders Lindegaard looking so impressive in the Stadium of Light on Wednesday evening.
Chelsea Team News:
Chelsea arrive in the north-west without the long term injured Michael Essien. There are also doubts about the fitness of Didier Drogba after that shocking concussive collision with the Norwich keeper some two weeks ago.
Apart from that, the media hacks seem t believe that Andre Vills-Boas will be adventurous and opt for a 4-3-3 formation, possibly fielding the following eleven:-
Cech, Bosingwa, Terry, Ivanovic, Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Torres and Sturirdge.
Player to watch: Petr Cech
A fine keeper and a keeper that Sir Alex openly admits he should have taken a risk with after having doubts, several years ago, about his tender age. Besides, he`s one of the very few in the Chelsea side I`d swap for those in our side!
Match Facts & Stats
Last season it was a win over Chelsea that put us, firmly, on the road to Premier League title winning glory.
The previous season it was a Chelsea victory, courtesy of an offside Drogba goal, that put the Londoners on course for a Premier League title win.
This season the fixture at Old Trafford has come a lot earlier in the season and won`t have quite the same relevance.
As far as the record books go, United have the overall edge over Chelsea. In 162 games we`ve won 70 compared to their 44.
In the Premier League though, the balance swings in their favour with Chelsea having won 13 to our 11, time to start redressing the balance.
Phil Dowd will be the man in the middle doing his utmost to keep order.
Our visitors, under their new manager, Andre Villas-Boas, have started the season unbeaten. The only blot on their copybook is an opening day 0-0 draw at Stoke. But they`ve hardly been ripping teams to shreds as the young Portuguese manager seeks to impose his own style on an aging squad. To be brutally honest I see nothing that scares me, even more so if Didier Drogba isn`t fit. I reckon United have nothing to fear and will run out winners by two clear goals, at least.
A Carling Cup fixture against the Championship side, Leeds United, is followed by a Premier League trip the Britannia Stadium, to face Stoke City, next weekend.