United have the perfect opportunity to gain the perfect revenge for losing our Premier League title to Chelsea last season. If all goes to plan we can knock the West London side out of the Champions League and at the same time end their slim chances of winning a trophy season. With United leading, from the first leg, 1-0 the pressure will be on the London side to attack and hope to get an away win. On present form, you`d have to back United would you not?
For our quote we`ll raid the Chelsea locker just to show you how dangerous this tie could be for us.
Eleven points behind us in the league and out of both domestic cups even Yossi Benayoun realises the Londoners are drinking at the last chance saloon, remarking,
“Everyone knows we`re playing to save our season. We know it`s the most important game of the season. We have to save our season and try to qualify for the semi-finals.”
They can but hope!
United Team News:
Sir Alex rested several of his squad for the visit of Fulham on Saturday. But, you can bet your bottom dollar the big boys will be back out on parade as Sir Alex seeks to tie up this quarter-final and set up a likely semi-final tie against the German side Schalke 04.
That means that there will be recalls for Van Der Sar, Rio Ferdinand and with Wayne Rooney`s ban not covering European football, the return of the in-form striker.
Also available will be Sir Alex himself who will be able to take his customary seat in the dug-out, something he can`t quite do in the Premier League, what with the remainder of that five game ban to serve.
As for the starting eleven, it might not be too far removed from that which started at Stamford Bridge less than a week ago.
Player to watch: Wayne Rooney
Has now scored in his last two games against Chelsea, both at Stamford Bridge. What price three in three and a nail in the London sides hopes?
Chelsea Team News:
Carlo Ancelotti brings his squad to Old Trafford with no injury worries. His two long term injury victims – Alex and Benayoun, both made appearances in the narrow win over Wigan at the weekend.
One absentee will be David Luiz who is cup-tied.
Ancelotti will have to choose who he starts with in attack out of Torres and Drogba, although one national tabloid proudly proclaimed he could play a front three of Torres, Drogba and Anelka.
Recently, Chelsea have played 4-4-2 to accommodate Drogba and Torres, this time though they could revert to their tried and trusted 4-3-3.
Player to watch: Fernando Torres
You just know it, don`t you! If it is to go all pear-shaped for United then Torres, despite his lack of a goal since moving to Stamford Bridge, will be the man to do it.
Match Facts & Stats
This season United, apart from the Premier League game at Stamford Bridge, have had the upper hand on Chelsea. The season started with a 3-1 win over the Londoners in the Community Shield and we go into this tie leading 1-0 from the first leg in London, possibly a crucial away goal.
But, Chelsea were the last team to win at Old Trafford, in the Premier League, winning 2-1 back in April 2010, a win that helped them secure the Premier League title.
United`s home form is damn good this season and is the reason we`re still in the hunt for a unique treble.
Providing we don`t concede an early goal, United hold all the aces for this tie. Chelsea don`t look the same team they were last season and are there for the taking. It`s not being boastful but I can see us winning this by at least two clear goals.
Next up is a small matter of an FA Cup semi-final, at Wembley, against our local rivals Manchester City.