United have the perfect opportunity to put another title contender firmly in their places when they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea. Having taken three points off of Arsenal on Monday night, another three off of Chelsea will stand us in good stead as the festive season approaches. With Chelsea`s form being best described as ‘ragged` this is probably the perfect opportunity to strike a mortal blow to the London sides diminishing title hopes.
On Sunday we can deliver a hammer-blow to Chelsea`s chances of retaining the Premier League title. A win would put us six points clear of the London side and with a game in hand, it`d be a lead that would be very hard to chase down.
Sir Alex Ferguson is perfectly aware of this fact ad summed matter sup with a one line quote at his pre-match press conference, stating,
“Sunday is a massive game. That will go a long way to establishing what happens at the top of the league.”
Chelsea Team News:
After having seen his squad weakened by injury in recent weeks, Carlo Ancelotti now has almost a full squad to choose from. Our spies in London tell us that the only players Carlo can`t call on for this important clash are Benayoun, Alex, Bosingwa and Zhirkov.
More than likely to make a start is the influential Frank Lampard who has been absent, through injury, for the longest period of his career. With John Terry back in the starting eleven and with Didier Drogba back on the score-sheet last weekend, we`ll not listen to any excuses from the Chelsea support if things don`t go the way they might expect the fixture to go.
Player to watch: Didier Drogba
The Ivorian striker, hit by malaria earlier this season, will prove to be a tough opponent for Ferdinand and Vidic to control. When he`s on top form he`s a handful for anyone let alone the best centre back pairing in the Premier League!
United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson will be disappointed that Paul Scholes has failed to off the knock that kept him out of the Arsenal fixture.
Not available for selection, due to long term injury, is Antonio Valenica, whilst Owen Hargreaves and Michael Owen are both still recovering from short-term injuries.
With Chelsea having exhibited defensive frailties of late, it`ll be interesting to see whether Sir Alex matches Chelsea`s anticipated 4-3-3 formation or goes for a 4-4-2 with Rooney and Berbatov up front.
Player to watch: Rooney
Rooney against John Terry promises to be a fascinating duel; could Stamford Bridge become the place where Wayne scores his first goal from open play since March?
Match Facts & Stats
I`m tempted to gloss over last season and those two defeats inflicted upon us by Chelsea, two defeats that, ultimately, cost us a record breaking Premier League achievement and instead concentrate on our last meeting whereby we beat them in the Community Shield, at Wembley, in August. But I won`t!
I`m hoping that those two defeats and the subsequent outcome of our wonderful trophy will spur us on as we seek to right a wrong.
Stamford Bridge hasn`t been a happy hunting ground for us in the past eight years, we`ve not won once, but with us defending an unbeaten start to the season and Chelsea not having won in their last five matches, has there ever been a better time to trample all over them!
The referee will be Martin Atkinson who will be ably assisted by his assistant referees Peter Kirkup and Mike Mullarkey with the fourth official being Peter Walton.
I`ve never been more confident when it comes to going to Stamford Bridge! Chelsea are there for the taking and they know it! If we keep our cool, weather any early storm and play as we have been playing recently, this has away win stamped all over it!
A home fixture with Sunderland beckons on Boxing Day