Chelsea V Manchester United - The Preview

Today Chelsea take on Manchester United in the biggest game of the season so far. Todays game may be early in the season but today Chelse...

Today Chelsea take on Manchester United in the biggest game of the season so far. Todays game may be early in the season but today Chelsea have a chance to establish a 5-point lead on the other contenders in the title race.

Its the first time we have played United since the season curtain raiser at Wembley and is of much much more importance. United know just how big the game is today. Sir Alex Ferguson has said

"We have to get our act together because our record down there has not been good for the last six years.
"It is a strange situation because we used to have a terrific record down there up until a few years ago. But we have let it slip."The players all realise it is going to be a big game and their performance is going to be important."

Carlo Ancelotti already spoke before the game as reported on this site the other day and the key for me is when he said:

"I think Manchester United have a very good team. Like us, they are doing very well because they have qualified in the Champions League and have done very well in the Premiership. But every team is vulnerable. There is not a team that is invincible,"

Today's game you could argue, couldn't have come at a worse time for United. Rio Ferdinand is out, Vidic and Fletcher are doubtful so the core of their side will be weakened and playing Chelsea you have to be strong down the middle of the pitch otherwise game over. In recent games, Alex Ferguson has played Park and Fletcher in the middle for the bags of energy that they possess. No doubt if Fletcher is fit he will adopt the same approach. Expect Rooney and Berbatov to start up front so the danger they pose with those two is obvious.

But for me even still, its all about Chelsea today. Forget United, they will be more worried about us than we are about them. Zhirkov and Mikel are back fit and available to bolster an already strong squad that Carlo has to select from today.

Its all about two things for me that will ensure the Chelsea win today and thats who he selects in midfield and the other, Didier Drogba. There is no question for me, we have the strongest midfield squad depth in the league. With Joe Cole back fit providing competition for the "sausage roll" behind the front two with Deco, with Malouda and Zhirkov fighting for one of the left sided diamond positions, Ballack and Lampard fighting for the other and Mikel fighting Essien for the holding role, its all down to who starts today that will dictate the game.

Carlo might go for the settled and balanced midfield four of Essien, Ballack, Lampard and Deco. He could swap Deco with Joe Cole and I hope he does to be honest. United will come to Stamford Bridge (let's keep it Stamford Bridge and nothing else!) will all their defensive problems and look to sit in and say to Chelsea "break us down!". Joe Cole's skill and vision could be the decisive factor in the win today and he could play a very important role.

Didier Drogba at the moment in unplayable. He is on fire, scoring goals and doing all the right things. His power and pace are second to none and when he is this kind of mood there is no one stopping him. He has given Vidic and Ferdinand nightmares in the past, we know Rio is missing so its down to Vidic today but will he be fit?

Paul Merson (closet Chelsea fan) on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday talking about the game made a bold statement yesterday. When asked about his prediciton for todays game said:

"If Vidic isn't fit and doesn't play its 4-0 Chelsea!". I'd take that right now wouldn't you?. LOL

But he has a point. If there is no Vidic then we are looking at Wes Brown & Johnny Evans or possible John O'Shea. Either of them up against Drogba will have their hands full and with Anelka lurking in and about the box this will be a long long afternoon for them.

Drogba has said in the British Press yesterday that he has calmed down alot of the diving around etc after having a talk with his 8 year old son and thank god he did. At times we have seen John Terry go over to Didier during games and "have a word" with him and its since he has got his head down and played football that he has become unstoppable and has admitted to playing "the best football of my career".

I predicit that today we may start off slow, but we will get into our stride and dominate possession. Once we get the ball into Didier then he will run riot. He showed in the week with his second goal against Madrid that he has everything in his locker. Today if United's two centre halves are not up for the fight then he can make them pay.

We just need to keep it tight at the back and make sure we do not let United on the ball so they can play their football. If we do that, get on the ball ourselves and feed Drogba then I can only see one winner today and Chelsea 5-points clear at the top of the league!


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