Premier League Super Match Time: Chelsea vs Man United
It’s a big match moment at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea eager to host Man United in Week 18 on Sunday 19 December.
Chelsea lost 3-1 in the traditional opening game of the season when they met the Red Devils in the Community Shield Final at Wembley on 8 August. In the wake of that result, there was a lot of speculation about how the league season would play out.
Before that game, United were being talked about as too dependent on Wayne Rooney, who hadn’t scored a goal since March. Furthermore, Rooney’s poor form at the World Cup in South Africa did not bode well for Sir Alex’s charges.
Berbatov and Nani had proved inadequate replacements for the departure of Ronaldo and Tevez, in the 2009-10 season, when the Old Trafford side fell within a point of the title, capitalizing on Rooney’s prolific form throughout the season.
United’s victory in the Community Shield final was fueled by second-half substitutes Berbatov and Nani combining brilliantly up front, and bolstered by new signings in Valencia and Hernandez, and an aging Scholes, who belied his years with some spectacular passes.
Van der Sar was safer than ever between the posts; Vidic and Evans were solid on defense. Rooney, who only played in the first half, was calm, except for a brilliant square pass to Valencia in an aerial ball by Scholes, who set up the Valencian goal. Carrick kept it simple with short, snappy passes, while Park and Owen had quiet games without showing much energy.
While Hernandez’s goalscoring ability was highlighted when he scored United’s second of the game, it was Valencia who stood out on the day with their runs down the right flank. Cole just couldn’t handle the Ecuadorian’s pace and cunning.
In Cech’s absence, Hilario did his job between the posts for Chelsea. He was disappointed by the back four with Terry who seemed to have shaken off the ghosts of the World Cup. Although Ivanovic and Ferreira were efficient without being brilliant, they were exposed to dangerous crosses following Cole’s inability to close the gap on Chelsea’s left flank.
Lampard, in deep midfield, like Terry, seemed to still be in the throat of his World Cup hangover, while Mikel, who accompanied him, did not do enough to close the space in the rival midfield.
Kalou was the only bright spot with brilliant runs and dribbling, but suffered from a lack of support from his attacking teammates. Anelka appeared offline and did not pose any threat to the United goal. Malouda showed glimpses of his potential but like Kalou he looked for supports that he didn’t get.
Drogba fresh off his surgery that kept him out of much of the World Cup was a shadow of his former self when he came on as a second-half substitute, while Sturridge and Benayoun weren’t given enough of a margin to show off their prowess, in a brief second. . half cameo
Much proverbial water has flowed under the Premier League bridge since the Wembley match that snapped a run of three successive defeats for the Red Devils against the Blues.
Chelsea started their season brilliantly with back-to-back 6–0 wins, albeit against much weaker opponents at West Brom and Wigan. they followed that up with wins over Stoke, West Ham and Blackpool, and after five weeks of games they seemed to be on the run with the league title, even as arch-rivals Man United recorded a pair of away draws against Fulham and Everton, interspersed by home . wins against Newcastle, West Ham and Liverpool, in their first five games.
Away defeats to Man City and Aston Villa on either side of a home win against Arsenal dampened the Blues’ momentum somewhat, but they remained top of the table even as Bolton, the Sunderland and West Brom snatched a point each from the Red Devils. in their next three games.
The Old Trafford side began to get their groove back with back-to-back wins in their ninth and tenth games against Wolves and Blackburn; United won their ninth and tenth against Stoke and Tottenham to keep Old Trafford’s hat in the ring.
The following matches took the heat out of Chelsea’s campaign, with three defeats to Liverpool, Sunderland and Birmingham, and two draws to Newcastle and Everton. With just the lone win in this span, against Fulham, Ancelotti’s side were suddenly third in the points table after leading it for 15 weeks.
Meanwhile, Manchester United recorded wins against Wolves, Wigan and Blackburn, along with draws against Man City and Aston Villa in their games from 11 to 15. With game 16 against Blackpool canceled due to inclement weather, United are sitting pretty , only one point behind. new Arsenal table toppers.
A look at the last nine league games between Chelsea and United makes for interesting reading. Chelsea have enjoyed overwhelming dominance over the Red Devils during this span, posting five wins and only one solitary loss.
Chelsea’s record at home this season has been excellent, winning six of the eight games they have hosted, losing just one and drawing the rest.
United’s record away from home hasn’t been very good in terms of games won; Along the way, Sir Alex’s side have won just one game while drawing six.
Both teams should go with a full eleven on December 19. Chelsea will welcome Lampard’s return to the fray, and that should give the Blues the stability they currently lack in midfield.
Possible Chelsea starting eleven: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Kalou, Drogba and Anelka.
Possible Man United starting eleven: Van der Sar, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Anderson, Park, Berbatov and Rooney