The two sides that were the major talking point of Europe throughout the 2007-08 club season take center stage this weekend and a lot is on the line. Can Chelsea shake this run of disappointing form and prove that they are legitimate title contenders? Or will this match mark the end of what’s been a great run? Will Manchester United signal their intent of three-peating in the Premier League? Or will the Red Devils defense finally be found out?
MANCHESTER UNITED WILL WIN BECAUSE no one in Premier League matches is scoring on them, especially at Old Trafford. The Champions are on a staggering run of 7 consecutive matches without conceding a goal in the Premier League, and have only conceded three goals in 11 league matches at Old Trafford. Sir Alex’s men are doing what the other title contenders aren’t, and that’s getting points at home. 31 out of a possible 33 points. They’ll need to make this a wide game not only to stretch the Chelsea midfield, but also to pin Bosingwa back. They’ll need to stamp their ability to keep the ball and be solid in defense.
CHELSEA WILL WIN BECAUSE they have no trouble scoring in away matches in the Premier League. Further, Scolari’s men will be boosted by their great road form this season where they have taken 26 out of a possible 30 points, scoring 23 and conceding 3 in the process. Anelka in particular will be an interesting figure in this match if selected, 7 of his 14 league goals have come away from Stamford Bridge. Chelsea is going to have to find a way to establish some width themselves in this match, or else they could end up being rather predictable in attack. Which will fall on……
X-MAN: Joe Cole. For Chelsea to be able to go and at least share the points with Manchester United, Cole will have to be the man to provide width, and further up the pitch. Bosingwa’s runs will be important as well, but Cole has had some impact performances in matches like this. He’ll be needed heavily in this game.
HOW I SEE IT: These two will try and go at each other in the first 15 minutes, and then you’ll see the two teams settle into the match. Both teams have been in excellent form in their respective situations: United at home and Chelsea away. With Patrice Evra back in the fold, look for Manchester United to make a lot of use of the left flank, attempting to expose Bosingwa. They’ll have success and jump out to a 2-0 before Anelka pulls one back. The title race will be on.
PREDICTION: Manchester United 2, Chelsea 1.
Also See: Manchester United v. Chelsea – Live Blog