This match has the potential to be a real cracker. This fixture, for many seasons has been crucial in deciding the destination of the championship. But with Chelsea having taken a back seat (for the past few seasons) in competing for the top honors the match has lost some of its bite.
That’s not to say it won’t lack drama. Firstly, there always seems to be hostilities between both sets of players and every game always throws up a controversial moment of some sort. Secondly, there are the hostilities between the managers – Alex Ferguson and Rafael Benitez – a long running feud. The latest installment has Benitez claiming Ferguson refused to shake his hand when the teams met earlier this season, while Ferguson recently claimed Benitez is only interested in his Resume and has snubbed him (on more than one occasion) in a post-match drink.
Thirdly there is the issue of the FA Cup replay in March, which Chelsea comfortably won, thereby denying Manchester Utd the chance of going for the double – Manchester Utd will be out to avenge that defeat.
Finally, the newly crowned champions would not want the indignity of being beaten by the Blues. Ferguson is adamant his players (having already been crowned champions) do not lose their focus and has warned them about switching into party mode.
And that’s before all the other niggling rivalries (that have built up over the years between various players) start to kick-off during the 90 minutes.
Not exactly pistols at dawn, but you can guarantee there will be drama of some description – enjoy!!!
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, Sunday May 5th
Last season’s result: Manchester Utd 3 Chelsea 1
Manchester Utd form guide: DWDWWD
Chelsea form guide: WDWWLW
Manchester Utd leading scorer: Van Persie – 25
Chelsea leading scorer: Ba 15 (13 for Newcastle)
Possible team line-ups:
Manchester Utd 4-5-1: De Gea, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Da Silva, Cleverley, Carrick, Rooney, Nani, Valencia, Van Persie
Manager: Alex Ferguson
Chelsea 4-5-1: Cech; Luiz; Ivanovic; Cole; Azpilicueta; Mikel; Ramires; Mata; Oscar; Hazard; Ba
Manager: Rafael Benitez
Manchester Utd subs from: Lindegaard, Johnstone, Büttner, Hernández, Scholes, Anderson, Giggs, Powell, Smalling, Evans, Kagawa
Manchester Utd injuries: Fletcher (illness, Aug), Young (ankle, Aug)
Chelsea subs from: Turnbull, Hilário, Ferreira, Terry, Cahill, Ake, Bertrand, Moses, Marin, Benayoun, Torres, Lampard
Chelsea injuries: Romeu (knee, Aug)
• The last six clashes between these sides in all competitions have featured 29 goals at an average of 4.8 goals per game
• United have lost more games (13) and conceded more goals (55) against Chelsea than versus any other side in the Premier League.
• Chelsea have managed one clean sheet in their past 17 league trips to Old Trafford
• Javier Hernández has scored in six of his last eight meetings with Chelsea
• David de Gea is the only top-flight keeper to have made more punches (23) than catches (21) this term (source:Guardiannews.com)
Prediction: Manchester Utd 2 Chelsea 2
Image source: bluechampions.com