Chelsea v Manchester United - My take on what's happening in Manchester!
For the first time in years, Chelsea take on Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and will be overwhelming favourites to take three point...
For the first time in years, Chelsea take on Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and will be overwhelming favourites to take three points! With Robin Van Persie out and reports that Wayne Rooney is also doubtful, Chelsea must take advantage on Sunday.
I for one cannot remember the last time any of the sides have come into a game as clear favourites because in recent years both sides have beaten each other home and away, it's quite literally been too close to call if all of us are honest.
On any given day, either of the sides could turn up and turn the other over and throw form out of the window. No matter, it's a game every single one of us look forward to and Sunday is no different.
Looking at United from the outside in, I cannot help but think that David Moyes made the wrong decisions in the early days at United and it's those decisions that have affected the well oiled machine that was Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson.
We keep hearing people waffle on about how United won the Premier League but were not a good team or had a squad that was not anything like previous squads that won the Premier League. I am of the opinion that the League table doesn't lie and you finish where you deserve to be!
In fact, we can safely say that Chelsea have been shit for the last two seasons finishing 25 points and 15 points off the top of the League so we cannot argue with the table at the end of the season.
Now I believe that the manager makes all the difference and you only have to look at the return of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea as fact. Chelsea are picking up points and winning games that in recent seasons we would not have. Chelsea dropped points all over the place under AVB and Rafa Benitez (before he finally got his act together!) but this term, the Mourinho factor has already made a difference!
Under Ferguson, United knew how to win games, how to grind out results and did so on a regular basis. They may not have played well but they still kept picking up points along the way and took advantage when others around them dropped important points.
Now back on the subject of David Moyes and the mistakes he made in those first few days. I cannot help but feel that the upheaval within the back room team Fergie had at his disposal, played a significant part of their so called demise this season.
Think about it, the players came to Old Trafford every day and worked with coaches and the manager that had been there, seen it, done it and time and time again. They trusted in each other, worked together to be the best that they could be and as I said, United were a well oiled machine!
As soon as Fergie took a step back and moved upstairs the general feeling changed for all of us. Every preview ahead of the new season when asked, people would respond and say that anyone that can finish above United would be champions. Now, that's not the case as their local rivals Manchester City are now considered the benchmark.
It was always going to be difficult for Moyes to adjust. We kept hearing quotes from people connected with the club that Moyes would be given time to settle in just as Sir Alex was all those years ago.
However, the decision to remove Mike Phelan (Assistant Manager), Rene Meulensteen (First Team Coach) and David Steele (Goalkeeping Coach) and replace them with Steve Round (Assistant Manager), Chris Woods (Goalkeeping Coach), Jimmy Lumsden (First Team Coach) and Phil "Steptoe" Neville (Coach) backfired!
In an article with the United Fanzine "United We Stand" dated in September, Eric Steele is quoted as saying:
"He listened to the manager's [Ferguson] advice but he wanted to be his own man. I didn't want to leave. Why would I? I knew that David was coming in and wondered who he'd bring.
You had the United perspective - the manager saying: "Keep what we've got, keep the continuity, work with them and they'll guide you through".
'You're taking on a massive machine here. You've gone from Marks and Spencers to Harrods.'
As we all know, it's proven (short term) to be a massive mistake as United have been out of the top four for most of the Premier League season so far.
Change takes time and although we kept hearing that Moyes would be given that, Jose Mourinho has done his bit in recent days to fan the flames in Manchester by saying:
“My feeling, which is based on years of communicating with Sir Alex and some inside information, is Man United are not happy, but they are calm.
They trust David. David trusts them. I don’t think David is under pressure. The pressure is something virtual. It is something that comes from the media as a consequence of not having the best results.
The most important thing in all of this is not the pressure that comes from the outside, it’s the reality of the inside.
The manager is calm and they are thinking this is our manager for the next two, three, four, five years. So they’re all together and are going to rebuild again a big team. The bad results will finish.
They will get back on track, although it is probably too late to win the league because they’re too many points behind the leader.”
I just wonder what happens if United lose to Chelsea on Sunday and again to their rivals in the second half of the season? What happens to the club and to David Moyes if they finish outside the top four?
I personally believe they will pull it together and finish the season better and WILL challenge for fourth place but surely United fans have to concerned.
A win against Chelsea would give everyone there a huge lift with without their two main strikers, it's a big ask! United's form has been stop, start all season as demonstrated with a defeat at Sunderland followed by a win at the weekend.
For once, Chelsea are massive and clear favourites, even United fans have to feel the same even though they do not want to admit it. Jose's team are on a good run of form and with Eden Hazard playing arguably his best football, Chelsea will test United in a much different game to Old Trafford earlier in the season.
Manchester United are not the same under Moyes as under Ferguson at the moment. With Van Persie and (potentially) Wayne Rooney absent, Chelsea must take advantage this weekend!
Carefree & KTBFFH!