Manchester United and Chelsea season run-in analysis

Chelsea and Manchester United both have a minimum of 10 games and a maximum of 14 games to go in this season.

They’re both in the hunt for the FA Cup and the Champions League, and Chelsea still have an outside chance of taking the Premiership if Manchester United were to slip up at this crucial stage.

Let’s look at their remaining games and see whether a treble (Manchester United) or a quadruble (Chelsea) is possible.

I’m going to do this team by team, and then do an overview of the three different competitions (FA Cup, CL, Prem).

Chelsea’s season run-in

Here’s a list of Chelsea’s remaining games (times are in GMT):

  1. Chelsea v Valencia, 19:45 (Wednesday, 04 April 2007) (Champions League)
  2. Chelsea v Tottenham, 12:45 (Saturday, 07 April 2007) (Premiership)
  3. Valencia v Chelsea, 19:45 (Tuesday, 10 April 2007) (Champions League)
  4. Blackburn v Chelsea, 16:00 (Sunday, 15 April 2007) (FA Cup Semi-Final), (Old Trafford)
  5. West Ham v Chelsea, 20:00 (Wednesday, 18 April 2007) (Premiership)
  6. Newcastle v Chelsea, 13:30 (Sunday, 22 April 2007) (Premiership)
  7. (Tuesday / Wednesday 24/25 April 2007 – Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg)
  8. Chelsea v Bolton, 12:45 (Saturday, 28 April 2007) (Premiership)
  9. (Tuesday / Wednesday 01/02 May 2007 – Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg)
  10. Arsenal v Chelsea, 16:00 (Sunday, 06 May 2007) (Premiership)
  11. Chelsea v Man Utd, 20:00 (Wednesday, 09 May 2007) (Premiership)
  12. Chelsea v Everton, 15:00 (Sunday, 13 May 2007) (Premiership)
  13. (Saturday 19 May 2007 – FA Cup Final – Wembley)
  14. (Wednesday 23 May 2007 – Champions League Final – Athens)

If Chelsea win their quarter-final tie against Valencia and if they beat Blackburn, they will be playing twice a week till at least Sunday, 13th May. At this stage of the season it’s a killing schedule, but the good thing is that at least the key injured players are back now (except for Robben and Cole).

Of this list, I see Chelsea beating Valencia, although the Tottenham game will be tough on them and I think that the FA Cup semi-final will be pretty tough as well considering that it comes on the back of 3 grueling games.

Chelsea could slip up in three away Premiership fixtures after that – West Ham, Newcastle and Arsenal – although I only expect Arsenal to put up any sort of a fight.

Chelsea’s toughest games:

3. Valencia away
4. Blackburn
10. Arsenal away
11. Manchester United, home

Realistically, Arsenal away is the only game Chelsea run a real risk of dropping points. I expect the other teams to spring at least one surprise but Chelsea have that will to win and they will probably grind out the wins till the end of the season.

Manchester United’s season run-in

Here’s a list of Manchester United’s remaining games (times are in GMT):

  1. Roma v Man Utd, 19:45 (Wednesday, 04 April 2007) (Champions League)
  2. Portsmouth v Man Utd, 17:15 (Saturday, 07 April 2007) (Premiership)
  3. Man Utd v Roma, 19:45 (Tuesday, 10 April 2007) (Champions League)
  4. Watford v Man Utd, 17:30 (Saturday, 14 April 2007) (FA Cup Semi-Final) (Villa Park)
  5. Man Utd v Sheff Utd, 20:00 (Tuesday, 17 April 2007) (Premiership)
  6. Man Utd v Middlesbrough, 17:15 (Saturday, 21 April 2007) (Premiership)
  7. (Tuesday / Wednesday 24/25 April 2007 – Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg)
  8. Everton v Man Utd, 12:45 (Saturday, 28 April 2007) (Premiership)
  9. (Tuesday / Wednesday 01/02 May 2007 – Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg)
  10. Man City v Man Utd, 12:45 (Saturday, 05 May 2007) (Premiership)
  11. Chelsea v Man Utd, 20:00 (Wednesday, 09 May 2007) (Premiership)
  12. Man Utd v West Ham, 15:00 (Sunday, 13 May 2007) (Premiership)
  13. (Saturday 19 May 2007 – FA Cup Final – Wembley)
  14. (Wednesday 23 May 2007 – Champions League Final – Athens)

United’s have two tough games coming up – away to Roma and then away to Portsmouth – these two games could easily decide United’s season.

After those two, United’s next tough game is away to Everton on Saturday, and if United can win all their games till then (and that one too), they have the title in the bag.

I see United playing at Wembley because there’s little chance of Watford beating United, and in the Champions League the away leg against Roma on Wednesday will determine everything.

Manchester United’s tough games

1. Roma away
2. Portsmouth away
8. Everton away
10. Chelsea away

A lot of people are saying that United will lose to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and that the lead is effectively 3 points (or 4 if you count goal difference) but I’m not so sure. At any rate, United shouldn’t have much trouble against Portsmouth and Everton (although those are difficult games) but the game against Roma on Wednesday and the game against Chelsea on May 9 will be very, very tough.

FA Cup

Chelsea have a tough build-up to the semi-final – Blackburn aren’t the best team in the world but they will give it their best shot and it could be a banana-skin tie for Chelsea.

Manchester United have the easier game, and the easier build-up, so they are on better odds to go through.

I’d still bet on Chelsea over Blackburn though.

Champions League

Both Chelsea and Manchester United should – despite their tough ties – get through to the semi-finals. After that, if Chelsea are up against Liverpool, it’s anyone’s call (although Chelsea would be favourites).

Manchester United? They’ll have a tough time against Milan or Bayern and I’d put them on equal odds against either team. United have shown a lot of guts and resolve this season though, and I’d expect them to do well against either side.

Chelsea have the better odds on getting to Athens, but Manchester United, for me, are second-favourites.

Once in Athens though, there can only be one winner 🙂

Premiership

Chelsea have to play Arsenal AND Manchester United, United just have Chelsea.

I’d back United here, simply because we could lose two games out of seven and still win the title. Chelsea cannot afford to lose any games, and even then they might not win.

Predictions

Same as before:

Premiership – Manchester United
FA Cup final – Chelsea vs Manchester United
Champions League – Semi finals (minimum) for Chelsea and Manchester United.

I could be proven horribly wrong by Wednesday, so let’s see how it goes.

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2 Comments

  1. farbod 3 April, 2007
  2. Ahmed Bilal 25 April, 2007