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Chelsea defence can set up Torres assault

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 11:27 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

The stage is set for the Premier League title showdown between Manchester United and Chelsea on Sunday.

It is likely to be a relatively open game - as many recent encounters between the two sides have been - yet there is a key difference for this match as Sir Alex Ferguson's side only need to draw.

Chelsea, on the other hand, must win. If they repeat the result they earned at Old Trafford last season, they will go top of the table on goal difference.

United find themselves in this position after losing to Arsenal last weekend, when Michael Carrick and Anderson formed a two-man central midfield - with Wayne Rooney dropping in to help out - and were overrun by Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, Alex Song and Aaron Ramsey.

But given the circumstances surrounding Sunday's match, former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin believes that United will opt for a change in personnel.


Drogba's impact has been more marked in recent games than with Torres

"I do the tactical notes for the away team in Chelsea's programme and I hate doing them for Manchester United because they are the one team that change more than anyone else," he says.

"If anyone else other than Sir Alex Ferguson changed their tactics that much you would assume they are worried about the opposition but when he adapts his tactics he's doing it because he thinks it is right to exploit the weaknesses in the other team. It's a very different thing from most managers.

"Tactically, I can't see United going 4-4-2 as they have against Chelsea in the past - they are reacting to the situation they are in. They only need a draw so there's no need for them to be so open. I suspect the sensible thing will be 4-4-1-1 with Rooney behind Javier Hernandez or it could be Ryan Giggs behind Rooney.

"They were beaten this way by Arsenal but I think they didn't use the right players. I would suspect that you can't always leave Giggs and Paul Scholes out because of their ability to be comfortable on the ball. Carrick didn't have his best day either against Arsenal and he has played well this season.

"The biggest question is over Anderson, because up until the Champions League semi-final second leg against Schalke on Wednesday, he had not done that well this season. That all goes onto the back burner if the returning Darren Fletcher is risked. If he is fit, and Ferguson thinks he is up for an entire game, he will use him."

Although Chelsea have to win to stand a realistic chance of winning back-to-back Premier League titles, Nevin does not believe boss Carlo Ancelotti will make significant alterations to his side, other than starting with Didier Drogba instead of Fernando Torres.


Touches from the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester United show how much more involved Didier Drogba was than Fernando Torres

"I think what Chelsea need to do is keep as much as possible in their back pockets for the last 15-20 minutes," Nevin says. "If they go up there and do what they are comfortable with then it is that usual 4-3-3. Everybody knows that last time in the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford they played Torres in the middle of the front three and it didn't work. I don't blame Torres for that, but that system doesn't suit him, as Chelsea do not have a scheming midfielder like Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.

"You would have Florent Malouda in there, Drogba and then Salomon Kalou or Nicolas Anelka on the right but what I would hope is, if they are not winning, then they really take a chance. What I would like to see - and I think eventually they will to do this - is Yossi Benayoun playing behind Torres.

"When they bring Torres on and not Benayoun I always think: why bother? Torres will keep making the runs and people will rarely find him, but Benayoun will because he can play the killer pass.

"Maybe that is what Chelsea will do; play 4-3-3 and then adapt a version of that with Drogba on the right of the front three and then Torres through the middle. You must have Benayoun in the midfield though."

Another key difference from the two Champions League quarter-finals between the two clubs is the return of Chelsea centre-back David Luiz.

The Brazilian made a significant contribution the last time Manchester United and Chelsea squared up in the Premier League, scoring his side's first goal and then being lucky to stay on field after a foul on Rooney.

Nevin says the defender's initial surge in form, where he also scored against Manchester City, has now dropped away and the 24-year-old would do well to keep his game simple against United.

"I think he had that initial two or three games where he was very special but then people could clearly see what his weaknesses were: he dives in too quickly and he's a bit impetuous," Nevin adds.

"But I think the manager will have told him that this is the type of game where you just do your job. Break forward when the opportunity is on but only when the opportunity is on, and don't get carried away.

"I think he will continue to try and nip in and take the ball but I'd be wary because you can't do that against Hernandez. In games like these you need to be a sensible defender."

It is that approach which has got Chelsea into this position, according to Nevin.

"For me, everyone talks about United's defence being the best around with Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar but I can't see past Chelsea's back five," he says.

"With Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry and Luiz, I don't think there is a better defensive unit, maybe in Europe.

"I've continually said that people should not write off Chelsea but it's not that amazing given that they had games in hand and United had tough away games, plus the fact that they've not been great away from home this season."

With home advantage, Ferguson's side will be odds-on to get a result but against the meanest defence in the Premier League and with Torres likely to be introduced from the bench, there is a clear strategy to throw the hosts off course.

You can also discuss more tactical issues and suggest future ideas on Twitter

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Well, Chelsea have to go for it at some stage in the game, though I imagine that Man U will come at them early as a way of setting their stall out.

    Man U have been great at home but the last team to beat them there was Chelsea so that record won't mean much to the Chelsea players.

    I'm looking forward to an open'ish game, hopefully.

    I think Chelsea can win it but I think Man U may get a point one way or another.

  • Comment number 2.

    Torres needs TIME .. He will be KEY in the FUTURE but for the rest of this season Chelsea have to stick to tried and tested methods to give themselves any chance of winning the league.

    Start with Drogba upfront alongside Malouda and Kalou/Anelka and you give urself a good chance of winning the match ...

    And please stop all these tactical analysis because we have seen more than one occasion this season that Torres just doesn't fit the style of play at Chelsea at the moment..

  • Comment number 3.

    Chelsea to win as Man U will still be thinking about CL. Though Man U will still win league.

  • Comment number 4.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 5.

    #2 Futbol_is_Dead

    I think you're right that at the moment Torres doesn't fit in and now is not the time for experimenting.

    When I read things like 'I don't blame Torres for that, but that system doesn't suit him, as Chelsea do not have a scheming midfielder like Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.' I do scratch my head a little.

    Lampard has been the most creative player in the league for years it's just that his instinct revolves around the way Chelsea have played during that time, which has benefited from consistency with the players.

    If they spend a pre-season etc working on it, then I think it can work. Experimenting during Champions League games or crucial league games is not the time though.

  • Comment number 6.

    While it certainly has the potential to be a fantastic game I am surprised that given the game should have been played before the January transfer window that no one is questioning the validity of both Luiz and Torres playing in the game in the first place!

  • Comment number 7.

    #4 Mr Chelsea

    Usually tight, yes. The match at Stamford Bridge wasn't though because Chelsea needed to win and Man U could afford to lose, hence both going for it.

    At some point though, Chelsea will need to go for the win. The trick will be whether it costs them, i.e. their caught on the counter, or whether they can turn 1 point into 3.

  • Comment number 8.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 9.

    Bring on Torres, bring on drogba, anelka n wat av u. Sunday 4pm. Manchester utd will get the three points. bcos that's wat we know how to do best . get results when it matters most.

  • Comment number 10.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 11.

    I think someone is going to miss the penalty this Sunday ... :-)

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm expecting a cracker of a game on Sunday.
    It's going to be totally different from last season:
    - back then, United played right after the Bayern Munich match, having Rooney out injured, the team tired and Chelsea fresh, much more composed, free scoring and high on spirit;
    - this time round, United will be fresh, in full strength, having just succeeded in reaching the Champions League final; Chelsea are not the team they were last season, in many ways but still are danger No1.

    Is Luis going to be preferred before Alex?
    I find that strange.

    Don't expect United to sit back.
    They'd be silly if they attempt to contain Chelsea and SAF is not known for making such errors. It's not the United way, especially at Old Trafford.
    I'm expecting a game that's tight in midfield with both teams attacking.

  • Comment number 13.

    Think United will play very similar tactics and personel as they did against Arsenal. I suspect that the problem against Arsenal was a touch of complacency and tiredness after a string of good results against Arsenal, and coming off the excellent performance against Shalke; coupled with an excellent performance from a well rested Arsenal team playing with little pressure.

    I do not think that United will make the same mistake again on Sunday. They will not be complacent in a title decider at home, and the majority of the team were rested in midweek.

  • Comment number 14.

    The return of Luiz in this game is a real boost for Chelsea. Chelsea defence though need to avoid that lapse in concentration that allowed Man. U kill off the CL game between them after Drogba's equalizer. It'll be nice if Torres can come off the bench and score.

  • Comment number 15.

    #6 jackbubble

    While it certainly has the potential to be a fantastic game I am surprised that given the game should have been played before the January transfer window that no one is questioning the validity of both Luiz and Torres playing in the game in the first place!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, give Ferguson time! He might use this if things don't go his way.

  • Comment number 16.

    @ 13, Your own cow,

    I think you couldn't be more wrong.
    In the Emirates match, Giggs was rested (I believe) specifically for the Old Trafford game against Arsenal. He's the player that adds fantasy to United's game.

    Fletcher will be fresh.
    Expect all key players for United in big, European matches to be present.
    Expect United to play against Chelsea in the same way they played in the Champions League match.
    Just, expect them to be fresh this time.

  • Comment number 17.

    # 16,

    oops... In the Emirates match, Giggs was rested (I believe) specifically for the Old Trafford game against Chelsea. ** correction** :)

  • Comment number 18.

    I made this point before. We dont make it easy for ourselves by not using the full width of the pitch. Too many times we try to thread balls through a packed defence. We need to be able to chance tact as soon as we can see its not working out rather than keep on doing the same thing for 90mins.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    We do lack width but it hasn't really done us much harm in the past with Drogba up front. Having said that, it's only because he can fashion chances himself and work in tight spaces due to his immense strength+physique. Torres on the other hand is suffering for it. The lack of space doesn't suit him; especially when we often pin opponents back to the edge of their area with 10 men behind the ball. The build up play is too slow for him; we don't even counter quickly.

    So there's some pretty substantial changes that need to be made, and doing that will take time. Because of that we should just stick with Drogba for the remaining 3 games because they are all MUST wins. Then try get Torres in for the start of next season.

  • Comment number 19.

    @16

    Agree Giggs will probably play - and so he should! I wasn't suggesting the team would be identical to the one put out at the Emirates - just similar in terms of personel and game plan ie: Rooney dropping into midfield to give us numbers in the middle of the park, whilst Hernandez terrifies the centre backs. Its just that United will do it better this time!

  • Comment number 20.

    Agree with Number 3...Chelsea to get the win (purely because in these type of games the side that has to win usually does...the side content not to lose often can't get going...remember Liverpool vs Arsenal in 1989 etc).

    However, Man Utd should get 6 points, and by a couple of goals, in their last 2 games...not sure if Chelsea will match this in their final matches.

    As a neutral, I'm just pleased that it is at least going to the final few games...as are Sky and MOTD no doubt!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    @ 19, Your own cow,

    United will go out there to score 2 goals on Sunday.
    They will be fresh, taking full advantage of the week semi final opponent they had.
    Rooney has been playing in a more creative role for some time now.

    I'm very confident about Sunday, without underestimating Chelsea.

  • Comment number 22.

    Should be a tightly contested cracker of a game.

    I just hope that the players get on with it, and not resort to waving cards, complaining to the ref, and the likes of Drogba and Nani doing down like a US Seal shot them from the stads with a sniper rifle.

    Yeah, that's asking a lot I know, but I live in hope - particularly with Howard Webb in charge. The man is not my favourite ref, and I don't understand why he is so highly regarded and gets the "big" games. He has shown over and over (not just in WC Final) that when players are agro he just can't control the or make the right decisions.

  • Comment number 23.

    MrBlueBurns
    "Lampard has been the most creative player in the league for years"

    Who are you kidding? Lampard is the ultimate league player - rarely injured, always performs, chips-in with lots of crucial goals from midfield and puts in the hard-yards off the ball. But creativity and technical ability are not his strong suits. This has been shown time after time whenever he plays against players that do have technical quality. For England, or Chelsea against any good quality opposition, Lampard is suddenly anonymous because he needs so much time on the ball because his technique is so poor for a midfielder. Why do you think he's always been known for timing his runs, because if he gets caught on the ball he turns it over. He was heavily targeted in the last two world cups (as was Barry) as a weak link for England.
    All those years wondering why the Gerrard-Lampard axis didn't work were hilarious for anyone whose football watching didn't centre on the Prem, and the goals Lampard scored there.

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm expecting a really open game as Chelsea have to win, it's as simple as that and I can't see Utd for one moment going for a draw.

  • Comment number 25.

    Chelsea only need a draw because Blackpool will beat Man Utd anyway :)

    On a different note - Why hasn't the BBC done a better job of showing the new Women's Super League? Give it their own section please and keep us informed. I thought you liked reporting on football.

  • Comment number 26.

    @21 Football_UK

    I think you could not be more right! Although, I'm sure United will go out to score as many as possible :)

  • Comment number 27.

    I think if United score first, they'll go for a second, just with a little caution.
    If they score a second before Chelsea reply, they will try to kill off the game.

    Iffs and buts with me talking like a kid :)

  • Comment number 28.

    @7 "Lampard has been the most creative player in the league for years"

    -----------------------------------

    Much as I love him (as you see from my name), Lampard is not the pass genius that Gerrard is. This is not the whole of him, as he is obviously a fantastic player, but the best pass in the team belongs to Benayoun and McEachran.
    KTBFFH

  • Comment number 29.

    Frank Lampard has been a top class player for some years now, with many rare qualities.

  • Comment number 30.

    Van Der Sar

    Rafael ferdinand vidic evra

    Park carrick Scholes Valencia

    rooney

    Hernandez

    With Giggs coming on to replace Scholes later going wide and park slotting in centrally where scholes was playing and once we get the killer goal we can bring on fletcher for hernandez to slow the tempo down and close down chelseas midfield.

    Thats what we need to finish the game off!!although i cant see fergie not bringing on nani. . .

  • Comment number 31.

    Lamps has always been a favourite of mine but over the past 2 seasons or so you can see that he is getting tired,he has been chelseas most consistent player, Mr.reliable as they'd say,he needs support and it seems that only player who can justify lamps balls and crosses is drogba who can convert them.

  • Comment number 32.

    I'd love to see Chelsea win, for two reasons.
    1) It's always more exciting when the title goes down to the last day.
    2) As it looks decided that Carlo Ancelotti is on the way out, I think it'd be great for him to win back-to-back league titles and still get fired, because then who'd take the Chelsea job? Knowing that even serious success isn't enough to make your job safe, what right-thinking manager would walk into that? And then Chelsea can go back to where they where before Abramovich came along.

    That said, I suspect Man Utd will be too strong for them. SAF won't make the same mistake he did against Arsenal, which Chelsea couldn't exploit the same way anyway, plus it's at Old Trafford and most of the first team has been rested for this, so all things considered, Man Utd have all the advantages. Don't see them giving much away here.

  • Comment number 33.

    Howard Webb will make a bad decision on Sunday like he always does in big games!

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    The blog should have been about Lampard! For me Lampard's main strength is reading the game, which is why he times his runs so well, although he has great shooting technique as well. I don't think technically he is the best central midfielder though - I would say Essien is better in that department but he seems to be continually shifted all over the side so he never has a chance to get comfortable in one position.

    As for the weekend, much will depend on Drogba, Kalou and Malouda whose strength and pace have at times pulled us out of position. I also think that the late runs of Luiz will be something we have to look out for.

    For us I assume we will be starting with Hernandez, Rooney, Park, Giggs, Carrick and Valencia with usual defence (Rafael at RB if fit). Fletcher and Nani maybe options though. Rooney will probably start on the left although we might try and get early momentum by playing him in close tandem with Hernandez.

  • Comment number 36.

    6. At 12:50pm 6th May 2011, jackbubble wrote:
    While it certainly has the potential to be a fantastic game I am surprised that given the game should have been played before the January transfer window that no one is questioning the validity of both Luiz and Torres playing in the game in the first place!

    _________________________________________________________________

    I think you'll find that it was the game at Stamford Bridge that should have been played before Torres and Luiz arrived. This game was always scheduled for this week!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Excellent! Talking about refs after the gimmes Chelsea have had in the past and the 3 points doled out to them against Spurs!

  • Comment number 38.

    I reckon it will be a very intense and nervy opening 15-20 mins.
    The midfield battle will be well and truly put into perspective in the opening exchanges, and I think that whoever comes out on top from there will go on and win the game..
    Chelsea are (from what I can see) a team very much in transition. Their performances in the last 6 or so games have highlighted this, not the results though (apart from the CL matches vs Man Utd). Whereas Man Utd are very much a team that knows how to adapt to each other and is stable. The result against Arsenal last week was on the back of an away trip to Shalke, and consequently the team just didn't perform as they could have if they'd been as fresh as Arsenal.
    This Sundays Man Utd will play with a totally different intensity than what we all saw in the match at the Emirates.
    I thinking Man Utd to win, coming from suffocating and frustrating Chelsea's midfield and attacking options in the first part of the match and hitting them on the break... Then Chelsea will have to come at them even more leaving themselves even more susceptible to the decisive passing and rapidness of Man Utd's much more creative midfield and attack..
    Chelsea like to be compact.. they suffer when they are stretched.. And to have any chance they have to get their fullbacks up the pitch.

    Of course this is a game of football... and in knowing that.. We all know anything can happen!

    Really looking forward to this one!! :)

  • Comment number 39.

    The reality is this

    Chelsea have nothing to lose, United have everything to lose.

    Last week United played for the draw, and it showed.

    This week they could play for the draw

    Remember 1989 ? Liverpool could afford to lose by 1-0, United could actually probably afford to do the same because Blackburn and Blackpool offer the potential to correct the 2 goal swing a 1-0 Chelsea result would bring. Everton away is not the place to be looking for goals, and much as I have enjoyed Blackpool's approach this season, they are not even winning home games so it is quite likely they will have been relegated before OT.

    So I think United still have a safety net (even more so if Torres is played) whereas for Chelsea it is do or be done for.

    So Chelsea may actually have the greater need but lets remember in the 3 meets this year, Chelsea have been second best in 2 and half of the games so its they who have to raise the bar on Sunday.

    Mind games can be overplayed but on this occasion the winner on that score may be the ultimate winner on the 22nd.

  • Comment number 40.

    #38,

    you couldn't have put it any better.

  • Comment number 41.

    "When they bring Torres on and not Benayoun I always think: why bother? Torres will keep making the runs and people will rarely find him, but Benayoun will because he can play the killer pass.
    ---------------------------------------------
    When Torres was at Liverpool the person who always found him with a killer pass was Gerrard, not Benayoun. I don't see why Lampard can't provide for Torres, he's more than capable.

  • Comment number 42.

    All I know is United beating Chelsea by not less than 3 clear goals, you heard it here first

  • Comment number 43.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 44.

    @23

    RE: Lampard

    some good points, and as you mention a good "League player" however i'd disagree and call him a good Premier League player.

    I doubt he would score the amounts he gets in the Italian or Spanish leagues, where midfield players are rarely high scoring due to the way the game is played.

    On the continent the only people scoring 20 goals a season are central and support strikers.

    Lampard has shown that yes, against Wigan, Stoke, Middlesbrough, Bolton, Hull etc he is capable of benefiting from Chelsea overpowering the midfield area and Drogba being able to physically occupy a defence on his own.

    It was only the arrival of better players around Lampard that sparked his goals return, before this he was a decent enough player for Chelsea and West Ham but that was about it.

    Makes you wonder if somebody like David Platt was about now how he would be revered.

  • Comment number 45.

    6. At 12:50pm 6th May 2011, jackbubble wrote:
    While it certainly has the potential to be a fantastic game I am surprised that given the game should have been played before the January transfer window that no one is questioning the validity of both Luiz and Torres playing in the game in the first place!

    _________________________________________________________________

    I think you'll find that it was the game at Stamford Bridge that should have been played before Torres and Luiz arrived. This game was always scheduled for this week!!

    _________________________________________________________________

    Rightly said, what a fool to bring up such a pointless comment. Should the same thing be said about every team who had matches rearranged because of the snow. All one big conspiracy so chelsea can win the league ;)

  • Comment number 46.

    I did find strange the opinion on Benayoun having the 'killer pass' element in him. I don't think Lampard is any lesser when it comes to passing.

    As a United fan, seeing Benayoun going in to take Lampard's place would be heavenly.

  • Comment number 47.

    @ 45, jmp123uk,

    I think jackbubble has a point there.
    Although I wouldn't like it to start a discussion, by any means, it could be an indication for a modification requirement for the future.

  • Comment number 48.

    to 29#
    with no clear qaulities, is this why (and i wont be drawn into an argument about this) he basically made scholes reitre from england? is this why he has scored so many goals in the last 6 seasons - a clear qaulity. Has had many assits- a clear qaulity, has been able to turn games (all be it, not all of the big ones) - a clear qaulity.
    Football is about goals, and lamps get em. Yes gerrard is more athletic and a better takler, bit more flair, box to box...whatever. Lampard is mentally and statistically a beter player- reads the game better.
    Both their performances for england do not do them justice.
    He has many qaulities!

    Not many thoughts on how the game will turn out - maybe it is impossible to predict how it will pan out.
    My heart says, we are due a good united - chelsea clash, perhaps a 3-2 and torres to score the winner. But my head says a typically dull as usual (apart from the last to games) match 1-1 is the most likely result, hoping for a 1-0 chelsea...every chelsea fan would take that. and why not? After all....
    THATS WHY WHE'RE CHAMPIONS! THATS WHY WHE'RE CHAMPIONS! THATS WHY WHE'RE CHAMPIONS!

    LINEUPS:

    VDS
    EVRA FERD VIDIC RAFEAL

    CARRICK SCHOLES
    PARK ROONEY NANI

    HERNANDEZ

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    CECH

    IVANOVIC TERRY LUIZ COLE

    ESSIEN
    RAMIRES LAMPARD

    MALOUDA DROGBA KALOU

    torres and benayoun to come on!


    ANY THOUGHTS? not criticisms or remarks about validity or stupidity i.e FOOTBALL UK
    THANKS!

  • Comment number 49.

    Benayoun is quite a versatile player. He is (or at least was, before the injury) fast, he is intelligent and can read the game, he can deliver great crosses, and don't forget that he is great to play in the air and score! Plus he knows how to 'use' Torres. I also noticed that crosses from David Luiz are the most efficient with Torres. The rest of the team for some reason either ignores him or they just too greedy and want to score their owns, keep the ball too long, lose position and eventually lose the ball.

    I would play Torres and Benayoun in the first half. If they don't score, play Drog&co...

    Hope Howard Webb is not going to live up to his reputation, and there is a good chance ;)

  • Comment number 50.

    @47,

    I dont think its really a valid point. Games are rearranged all the time, its just the luck of the draw that chelsea strengthened between the original date and the new date. Can't really be used as an excuse, anyway the game in question has been an gone.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think it will be an interesting rather than exciting game & wouldn't be surprised to see a low-scoring draw, which would obviously suit Man Utd more than Chelsea.

    Very surprised to see Howard Webb given the game with all of the comments aimed at him over his Old Trafford performances. I felt that Webb & Atkinson were the 2 that would definitely not be given it as they would both leave the Premier League in an invidious position if they had poor performances.

    Agree with the earlier poster in that I feel Webb is the ultimate example of 'The Emperors New Clothes' in that the more people say he is our best referee it becomes accepted against all available evidence.

  • Comment number 52.

    @ jackbubble,

    on second thought, I think not using players purchased on the window transfer period on postponed matches that should have been played before the window opens can't really work out. For example, in a keeper's case, what if a keeper has been purchased and both other keepers are injured? It happens.

    It's something like bringing back the dialogue on scrapping the winter transfer period, in my opinion, so it becomes complicated due to many interests on this.

  • Comment number 53.

    # 48, krisiordanov88,

    THAT'S WHY YOU'RE CHAMPIONS! THAT'S WHY YOU'RE CHAMPIONS!
    :)

  • Comment number 54.

    34. At 14:46pm 6th May 2011, Dillon wrote:

    Man Utd vs Chelsea with Webb as ref, lets just give it to Man U already. Webb has already decided it.


    http://newsthump.com/2011/05/03/man-united-set-to-recall-howard-webb-for-crucial-chelsea-clash/
  • Comment number 55.

    Torres put them to the sword and at least put a slight smile back on the faces of the fans you slapped!

  • Comment number 56.

    "Carrick has played well this season."

    He had a golden fortnight involving the quarter finals against Chelsea and the media has blown this out of all proportion. He has been woeful for the rest of the season and was destroyed without giggs alongside him against Arsenal last week. Almost want another bad performance by him against Chelsea tomorrow so that Ferguson leaves him for the Barca game. Anyone remember 2 years ago?

  • Comment number 57.

    It will all boil down to how much MU want it. Whenever they don't want it enough, they fare badly - Arsenal was a classic example where they wanted it more than MU did. Provided MU want it enough, they will (effectively) wrap up the tile on Sunday (apologies to Blackburn / Blackpool fans)!

  • Comment number 58.

    Let's not diminish Arsenal's win, last week.
    They were much better than us and this time they even defended well in the second half. They were worthy winners.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ 54. At 15:34pm 6th May 2011, jacksofbuxton,

    Poor article.
    Poor research in journalistic terms.
    You need more names there, to make it look funny and far more graphically modified images.

    Good try though :)

  • Comment number 60.

    The more I think about it, the more I fancy Chelsea to win this match. Had a draw earlier in the week but now I fancy 2-1 or even 3-2 to Chelsea. Both have solid defences normally but I reckon mistakes and decisions will cost goals.
    Good to see United rivals have stepped up to stop them walking it, at last.
    Please check out my regular rant - That's right, I said it...
    http://scottssportsandsocial.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 61.

    I have to say that i don't see a Chelsea win on the cards. I think it'll be a 1-1, maybe a 1-0 United. But the Premier League has a funny way of having the team who has been on top for the majority of the season winning.

  • Comment number 62.

    So Chelsea fans are already moaning about the ref before a ball is even kicked. After the last 3 league games between United and Chelsea, Chelsea have had far more favourable decisions than United. It's laughable especially as you're only in this position because of the poor reffing at SB earlier this season and how about the ref gifting you 2 goals last week.

    What happened when we had a fair European ref in Europe last month where there wan't any dodgey decsions

    So lets judge the team performances when they have a European ref

  • Comment number 63.

    @56

    I agree, terrible. People seem to be forgetting his mis placed pass in the Semi Final too. He offers nothing going forward and in terms of a physical battle, i'd much rather face Carrick than the equally unskilled but more aggressive Fletcher.

    Fact is, when SAF lines up with Park and Fletcher in the CL final, he will almost be admitting he is hoping to nick a goal on the break and hold out...it could win him another Trophy but Man Utd under Ferguson will never win a CL trophy comfortably, on all 3 occasions they have appeared lost.

    Chelsea completely dominated in 2008 apart from a decent 20 odd minutes at the beginning. 1999 was smash and grab despite being completely outplayed for the most part and 2009 was a complete choke against Barca.

    I'll never forget Ferguson in Moscow, he was completely dumbfounded by the time it reached penalties it looked as though he didn't have a clue what was going on

  • Comment number 64.

    @62

    I think a stonewall penalty not being given was dodgy. In my opinion the ramires sending off was a little harsh. Probably didnt have to but at OT almost always going to happen as would with most stadiums.

  • Comment number 65.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 66.

    Man Utd 35 16 1 0 43 9 5 9 4 28 24 38 73
    Chelsea 35 14 2 2 37 11 7 5 5 29 17 38 70

    Ok bear with me here.
    I think a draw should be worth 1.5 pts. Thats half a win. Currently a draw, in points, is too near to a loss, only 1 point isn't enough.

    Look at the current table. Utd have only lost 4 games to Chelsee's 7 but they have drawn more, 10 to 7.
    Total would be 78 pts to 73.5 pts in Utd's favour.

  • Comment number 67.

    @ 63

    Just incase it hadnt come to your attention, the winner of any final doesn't necessarily have to be the better team on that particular day. In a lot of finals there is always an element of luck, nobody remembers who the better team was, just the name of the team on the trophy!!!

    As for sunday, Sir Alex is well aware what needs to be done, and(obvious to all) is more than capable of getting the job done. He will remind the players a win is a win no matter how pretty or scrappy it comes by, and by hook or crook just to get the result.

    UNITED 2-1

  • Comment number 68.

    @ 59#
    its not about the names or the quality its about the message it portrays, which it portrays very clearly, although over the top and largley untrue (in terms of intent) is very funny , surely even for some die-hard united fans that appreciate all he has done for them over the years...along with a few other refs and members of the FA.


    Do you [football uk] genuinely believe you will win on sunday? i think a 1-1 is more predictable or chelsea to nick it(hopefully not a ref decision], i think we have the impetus, good form and better squad over all, any confidence or high you may have been playing on is gone, apart from rooney your side lacks creativity, hernandez was absent at the bridge and his goal in the CL was offside. I cant see you hurting us.
    Ive just put a £5 bet united wont win anything this season...any one prepared to guess the odds on that?

    And yes that is why we are champions... ;) x

  • Comment number 69.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 70.

    @ 63,, tomefccam,

    actually, I agree with you.
    What does SAF want to do with Carrick and Fletcher?
    He should show them the door in the summer - dead wood!
    And what about Park and Gibson?
    Brainless chicken who run without purpose in the pitch.
    I can't believe he insists on all of four of them!

    And why keep over 35 players? what for?
    Scholes doesn't stop getting sent off while Giggs is anonymous in most matches.
    There is only one solution: out!

    And what about O'Shea, Evans and Brown? a waste of wages for mediocre.
    OUT!

    And Smalling made a mistake in the home Schalke 04 match.
    OUT!

    Don't forget Vidic who is a constant danger for a red card and Ferdinand who is always injured: OUT!

    And Rooney wanted to leave: show him the door!
    And Nani keeps falling while Valencia was out for most of the season, while he doesn't score as many. OUT!

    I really, honestly, can't believe how United are expecting to win a trophy with SAF as a manager.

    Discuss.

    P.S. what team do you support, tomefccam ? :)

  • Comment number 71.

    I'll never forget Ferguson in Moscow, he was completely dumbfounded by the time it reached penalties it looked as though he didn't have a clue what was going on

    ==============================================================
    I'll never forget Terry crying. I have never laughed so much in my life. Well done for the goal in which 2 United players slipped.

    Too bad you wont win it this year....
    Roman is like Henry VIII, He treats his managers like Henry did hios wives. If they dont deliver the Champions League then he's gone

  • Comment number 72.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 73.

    @ 68, krisiordanov88,

    make up your mind: do you want me to reply to your postings, yes or no? :)

    In answering you if I believe United will win on Sunday, I have to admit I have sleepless nights, lately.
    All I think of is how I will dare come back to these blogs Monday morning, without changing my nickname first, at least to my old one.

    Thankfully, being spring with such beautiful weather, I have an excuse when cold, not stopping sweat slides across my forehead, making me look like having just come out of a swimming pool, fully clothed.

    I have a bad feeling about this match.
    You?

  • Comment number 74.

    United have had many favourable decisions this year when it comes to players staying on the pitch....messrs Neville, Rooney and (especially) Vidic being the main beneficiaries. Just cos Luiz didn't get the sending off he should have in the last meeting means nowt. It happened so what?

    It all comes down to who wants to win on Sunday...........whether chelsea 'go for it' as I suspect they will..and need to..and whether United have the bottle to play an open match. All United fans will say 'we always do' but recent history doesn't back that a la games against Chelsea at SB this year and last in the PL and CL and the last 3 times they played Barcelona in the CL in which they attacked for about 15 minutes in all!!??.

  • Comment number 75.

    Newbs wrote
    He treats his managers like Henry did hios wives. If they dont deliver the Champions League then he's gone

    -----------

    Henry the VIII expected his wife to deliver the Champions League year on year? Strange.

    ----------------
    Glad you got my point. And for the record, his wives have won the European cup the same amount of times as Chelsea

  • Comment number 76.

    59. At 15:45pm 6th May 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    @ 54. At 15:34pm 6th May 2011, jacksofbuxton,

    Poor article.
    Poor research in journalistic terms.
    You need more names there, to make it look funny and far more graphically modified images.

    Good try though :)


    Interesting when you only gently tug the strings of Un**ed certain fans can't stop themselves from dancing around like a puppet.

    I don't think I'll bother putting a smiley face in though.
  • Comment number 77.

    @ 74, BlueTintedSpecs,

    Just 2 questions:
    1) Should United play at Stamford Bridge, on the away leg of a Champions League match, looking for the win?
    2) Having won the away game and being a Champions League home leg, should they attack non stop like there were 3 points to be won?

    You puzzle me with your logic.

  • Comment number 78.

    So did Henry win it six times then?

  • Comment number 79.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 80.

    @ 76, jacksofbuxton,

    You're so illustrious... just amazing! :-)

  • Comment number 81.

    #77

    Not particularly saying they should but all I keep hearing from the United friendly media and their fans is how they only know one way of attacking stylish football which clearly aint the case. That's my logic. Basically you win a game/tie whichever way suits just don't dress it up as something it isn't.

  • Comment number 82.

    Drogba is 80% power and 20% technique. He is not going to bully Vidic and Ferdinand, never has done. I would still start with Torres, no matter what the pundits say..

  • Comment number 83.

    #82 fabulousRedsReds

    Why?

    Drogba is doing the business and more or less has consistently done so.

    Torres has not done much at Chelsea.

  • Comment number 84.

    @82, Chelsea's record over Manchester United would prove that your'e central defenders have been bullying on many occasions!

    Cmon Chelsea

  • Comment number 85.

    @ 81, BlueTintedSpecs,

    I would be really curious to learn the result if someone added the shots on/off target throughout the season for all Premiership sides.

    I have a sense I can tell where about United would be.

  • Comment number 86.

    i wish for a replay such as #73...no smug remarks, its nice isnt it?
    i too, so shall be watching it, with but a few chelsea fans only at my house, because i cannot bare to be in the pub with mostly united fans(i live in the south btw), as im sure united fans wont want us muggy lot there if we win, because i will go barking mad, im sure you can understand why? this all shows i too have no clear idea of what will happen, and can only hope for the best (for my team) vise versa.
    All i can say is if you win/draw and ultimately win the title, without any controversy or red card or bad decision i will bow down. Any thing less and i will wave a torrent of abuse at such injustices!

    The game itself will go either two way (not result).
    cagey tight game, with few goals, a red card it not two (both teams) and but a few controversies

    or it will be a cracker, loads of goals and in the end a deserved winner (no draw) and a showcase for the premiership (wishful thinking i know)

    after all this i have reached no real conclusion so a repeat of the game at the bridge; ref decisions', penalties and all will be the most likely outcome!

    But i'll take it, can you blame me?

    Also how can you underestimate fletcher, he was your unsung hero for your back-to-back-to-back titles. Flare players and goal-scorers are all good, but the bench mark of good teams is industry and hard work ethic, think of essien, makelele, tevez, keane, viera, gerrard & alonso(08-09) that win the ball back and can make a half decent tackle (keane & viera questionable).

  • Comment number 87.

    83. At 16:35em 6th maj 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    #82 fabulousRedsReds

    Why?

    Drogba is doing the business and more or less has consistently done so.

    Torres has not done much at Chelsea.
    ________________________________________

    Agaainst any other team I would start with Drog right now. Arsenal, Liverpool whatever.. But for a one-off against Ferdinand and Vidic, no. You need trickery plus power to deal with these guys. The will deal with Drogba's power all day long. Torres has had the better of them in the past because he har more tools on the grass, and strong as well.

  • Comment number 88.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 86, krisiordanov88,

    tell me about it.
    I will be watching the match in a pub full of Chelsea fans.
    It gets even worse: they know I support United and every time United or Chelsea come close to scoring, they'll be giving me one of those Chelsea looks...
    I'm already doing self containing exercises.

    I suppose I can take the result too.
    Let's hope United win.

    With regard to that industry you talk about, add Drogba to the list.
    I hope Essien becomes his old self, for Chelsea's sake.
    See? I can even make wishes for your players to improve.

  • Comment number 90.

    #85

    Most Shots...........CHELSEA..........523.........on target 230......44%
    3rd........United..............429...........on target 199..........46%

  • Comment number 91.

    #87 fabulousRedsReds

    In the last three meetings, Drogba has scored two goals against Man U, by hook or by crook.

    Even if he doesn't score, he could well win a ball in the air and then the likes of Malouda, Lampard and Anelka could take the second ball.

  • Comment number 92.

    82#
    i feel as if your comment was aimed at Ancelotti as an attempt of reverse psychology.
    Drogba's touch is second only to perhaps xavi and messi's!
    he has fantastic technique, easily one of the more skillful chelsea players.
    Although against vidic and rio, skill doesnt always win unless its in abundance (messi)
    he will try and batter the central defense on sunday...dont you worry he will start!
    Can i remind you of recent encounters or perhaps 08 final in moscow where he battered vidic and ferdinand for all of the 109 mins he played, who where then the two 'best defenders' in the world...so much as bentdner is the self proclaimed 'best player' in the world (what world would this be?)

    this is an opinion of many players, pundits and football fans alike...
    drogba on his day, on form in the mood - even at 33 years of age, is unplayable...no question, utterly undependable, he is colossal. Different player to messi but makes a similar impact on a game when on form!
    This to is a widely spread opinion: drogba cannot always screw his head on and can be bad tempered and lazy, when he is not in the mood he is quite and at time detrimental to the teams success

    lets see which one turns up (fingers crossed chelsea)

  • Comment number 93.

    @ 90, BlueTintedSpecs,

    Thanks.
    I won't question your data, but it's just fine for the United's view point.
    Even 3rd is not that bad and by no means shows any indications of a team that bases their game defensively.

    So, on another note, United have more shots on target and higher goal/shot ratio, or am I mistaken?

  • Comment number 94.

    80. At 16:29pm 6th May 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    @ 76, jacksofbuxton,

    You're so illustrious... just amazing! :-)


    I'm so well known for my previous achievements?

    Well,I did once win a "potato most like it's owner" competition.
  • Comment number 95.

    @ 94, jacksofbuxton,

    Jacket Potatoes are a favourite snack in England or am I mistaken?

  • Comment number 96.

    #93

    Correct they have a slightly higher goal/shot ratio but you are very much mistaken..........as they clearly have less shots on target. The stat only shows that Chelsea are more attacking. But my point aint about who atacks more or whatever only that United don't attack every match if it don't suit their game plan. END

  • Comment number 97.

    with regards to drogba youl see in my previous comment! essien is an iffy one for me i dont know what to make of his future, i cant figure out why his form has dipped, he was one of only 4 names that would always be on the team sheet, ancelotti should not have played him in some of the games in the winter - he was awful!

    Lol thanks, but what do you mean chelsea smile.
    As im writing this, my friend pointed out the beauty of these near-anonymous blogs, i could not fathom such a conversation/debate about football with any of my friends that are united fans, as it would escalate into a fight of some sort!

    I think a key point on sunday is, who play nani or valencie, bosingwa or ivanovic. these decisions will have a part to play
    Drogba rooney lampard etc...i fear they will not show up as they should, on the other hand, the most likely to show up (unfortunately for me) is rooney...sad really, when in a match like this you wold expect (if you were delusional) that all 22 players + subs show up and play right!

    if we lose fairly and play well, i will be only half as angry...but still monumentally angry!

  • Comment number 98.

    @ 96. At 16:56pm 6th May 2011, BlueTintedSpecs,

    I was referring to shots on target/total shots ratio.
    Yes, it appears from your data that Chelsea have more shots than United.
    Still, though, 3rd doesn't talk about a defensive side, does it?
    Do I put END too? :)

  • Comment number 99.

    #97 krisiordanov88

    The thing with Essien is that he tried to be all things to all men when Lampard was missing and Ramires was finding his feet. Ultimately he couldn't do it all and it cost him a three match ban when he stupidly got sent off in the final moments of the home game against Fulham (I think).

    Since then, he's been trying to re-assert himself, prove he is good and maybe just trying to hard.

    Last weekend, and the game before, you could see that he was settling and was back to his powerhouse self.

    Come next season, with a first choice, settled midfield where everyone knows their roles, I would confidently say at this time that he will be back to his awesome best.

    That's how I see it anyway.

  • Comment number 100.

    @ 97, krisiordanov88,

    See how civilised we are in these blogs?
    It has nothing to do with that thing called House Rules, of course.

    I can answer your questions, for you.
    I would expect, if any of Nani / Valencia start, to be Nani and be replaced at some point in the second half by Valencia.
    Drogba will definitely start the match and it is likely Kalou to come in the second half if a fresh Chelsea attacker is needed. It wouldn't be a surprise if Torres came on in the last 10-15 mins.
    And Ivanovich, I believe, is your choice for left back, ahead of Bosingua.

 

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