Kick off: March 2, 2011 0115 IST at Stamford Bridge, Live on ESPN
Match Referee: Martin Atkinson
|Games played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goal Difference||Points|
When I had written a preview to this fixture which was scheduled to occur two months ago, United were in the ascendancy, while Chelsea in the beginning of a slump. When the fixture was controversially postponed, it was thought, it boded well for the Champions, and that come March, we would have a title deciding battle. Oh how things have changed in 8 weeks!
The limelight to the buildup of this game has been stolen by Rooney’s elbow and Cole’s shooting extravaganza. While United fans argue Rooney’s act is getting unwarranted attention from the media, Anti United fans are of the opinion, Rooney always gets let off! Either way, IMO, it was a cynical act no matter what the reason and with the FA’s reputation for inconsistency accompanied by Clattenburg’s view of the incident, meant there was no way Rooney would get into any trouble. As for Cole, well God only knows what the hell he was doing with a rifle at work!
Cricket may be the sport of gentlemen, but in football, we somehow tend to look at only the footballer in the person and hence we move on to another exciting fixture.
Manchester United: WWLWW
- Trailing 15 points behind United, every fixture ahead is crucial for Chelsea to achieve a Champions League spot.
Head to Head
- Chelsea has never been kind to United at home, well they used to hold an impeccable home record until this season where they have already seen 2 defeats in the league. [Sunderland 0-3, Liverpool 0-1]
- United have a dismal scoring record and have failed to win a game in the last 9 visits. [last win in 2002]
- Didier Drogba has been disappointing ever since he lost out to a bout of malaria. The arrival of Torres has not helped his mood much either. With Nico and Torres getting to enjoy each other’s company on the pitch, Drogs’ has to do the the 15 min fill up|super sub striker role henceforth.
- Fernando Torres has a fantastic track record having scored 4 times in the last 3 meetings. He might be in an odd form right now in a new outfit, but he manages to bring out the best in him in the big fixtures. Watch out.
- Vidic has to be spoken in the same wavelength as Torres. Keeping him quiet will be premier priority for the Captain and he needs to be at his best.
- Nani – Cole will be a battle to watch. The Portugese is doing everything right this season and has been pivotal to United’s pole position, expect a show.
- Wayne Rooney – has scored one out of the world goal already this season, add that to the elbow and we have an extreme package available; will have to wait and see which Wazza turns up.
Manchester United: Twitter pro Rio Ferdy continues to enjoy tweeting on the sidelines [calf] while slowly but steadily Chris Smalling takes over his slot with some standout performances. Valencia has returned to first team training, while Park [hamstring], Anderson [knee] and Evans – unavailable.
Chelsea: Fitness isn’t Carlo’s worry, form is, and having had a relieving performance in Europe, the blues will look to regain control.
Squads and Prediction
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Evra, Vidic, Smalling, Rafael, Giggs, Scholes, Carrick, Fletcher, Nani, Rooney
Chelsea: Cech, Cole, Terry, Luiz, Ivanovic, Malouda, Essien, Lampard, Anelka, Kalou, Torres
I go for a scored draw 1–1