Reds to capitalise on Chelsea blues

Sir Alex Ferguson reports no fresh injury concerns ahead of Manchester United’s fixture with Chelsea to Old Trafford this Sunday, in a match billed both as a clash of generations and a marker for the new season. Now in his 26th year at Old Trafford, 69-year-old Ferguson stands in marked contrast to his callow opposite number, André Villas-Boas, the 33-year-old Portuguese who won the treble with Porto last season. Yet, each is desperate to gain early ground in the Premier League title race.

Aside from from the clash of personalities the fixture will serve as a barometer for Chelsea’s challenge this season. In contrast to swashbuckling United performances in the Premier League, Chelsea’s pedestrian start – despite four wins in five – has brought both media and internal criticism, with striker Fernando Torres complaining of his team-mates’ sedentary pace. Hardly surprising given the ageing nature of Chelsea’s squad and the frustration that the 27-year-old Torres must feel. One goal in 22 for his new club gives the Spaniard little ammunition for criticism though.

But, says Ferguson, despite the ageing legs and in-fighting at the west London outfit, Chelsea will pose a significant threat to The Reds’ title ambitions this season. Indeed, Chelsea is the only side to boast a positive head-to-head record against United in the Premier League era.

“It will be a fantastic game,” Ferguson told reporters on Friday.

“The games with Chelsea over the last seven years have been very close affairs. There’s usually only one goal in it and I think it will be tight again on Sunday. They’re a team with great experience and they’ll pose a challenge to us. Chelsea will be there at the end of the season. There’s no doubt about that.”

With United having beaten Chelsea three times last season the Reds start as favourites at Old Trafford but it is the contrast with the Premier League’s youngest manager that fascinates. Indeed, Ferguson drew parallels with his own start at United, having been successful at a young age in Scotland. The difference, of course, being that the young Ferguson had more than a decade in management before signing on at Old Trafford.

“It’s similar to when I came from Aberdeen, I’d achieved something,” added Ferguson, who won the European Cup Winners’ Cup with The Scottish club and broke the Auld Firm duopoly.

“André Villas-Boas won the Double last year so that’s a help. That stands him in good stead in terms of the start of his tenure at Chelsea. After that, the impression that the players get from him in terms of his knowledge of the game and man-management skills, that’s all in the future. The new coach has started very well. It’s a hard challenge at his age but he’s acquitted himself very well and his team have responded, which is what you hope for as a new manager at a club.”

Manchester United v Chelsea, Premier League, Old Trafford, 4pm 18 September 2011Ferguson will be able to call on an almost fully fit squad for the tie, save for injured quartet Rafael da Silva, Nemanja Vidic, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley. The latter pair is a significant loss, with the youngsters having started the season in such exhilarating fashion. Cleverley is likely to miss the next three weeks but Welbeck is well ahead of schedule and has begun training with the first team once again. The injuries should mean both Javer Hernández and Michael Carrick start at Old Trafford on Sunday.

“We came through the Benfica game without any injuries,” added Sir Alex.

“We have a full squad for Sunday. They’re all giving me headaches. Darren Fletcher, Ji-sung Park, Antonio Valencia, they’ve not been involved because the team have been playing so well. I’ve decided not to tinker with that. But now we come to the time of the season where we need our squad – we’ve got European games, Carling Cup etc. Danny Welbeck’s back training now. He could maybe be ready for the following week [at Stoke].”

In Cleverley’s stead the oft-criticised Carrick will start his first Premier League game of the season. The 30-year-old Geordie is likely to be paired with a rejuvenated Anderson, who is enjoying his best start to a campaign after four years at Old Trafford.

The creative burden, from central areas at least, is again likely to fall on Rooney, who will resume his partnership with Hernández at Old Trafford after the Mexican sat out United’s bore draw with Benfica on Wednesday night. Rooney’s stunning early season form has brought 10 goals in six games for club and country, including successive hat-tricks. Should the England forward score twice against Chelsea he will become the first player to reach double figures after five games of a Premier League season.

Rooney bills the tie with Chelsea as United’s biggest test of the season to date, after the Reds conjured up comfortable wins against Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.

“Obviously Arsenal are always difficult but with the injuries they had when they came to Old Trafford we were the favourites to win that one,” the striker told ManUtd.com

“The Chelsea game’s going to be difficult and we need to be at our best. They’ve got a few new players – I saw Daniel Sturridge started the last game and Juan Mata played as well. I’m sure they’ll have a few new ideas to go along with the new signings they have, but I’ sure we’ll be able to cope with that. This is going to be another big game and if we can win we’ll go five points clear of Chelsea and keep our winning run going at the start of the season.”

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas will be without striker Didier Drogba, who is still on the sidelines following an early season concussion. It is unlikely to save Torres’ place in the side with Nicolas Anelka set to start. Influential midfielder Michael Essien is unlikely to return before February with another serious knee injury.

Yet, Villas-Boas has attempted to play down the fixture’s importance in the season, despite the five point advantage that victory for United will bring.

“Our importance in the game is minimal. It’s for the players to exploit their talents and enjoy their game,” said the 33-year-old.

“We face Man United perhaps in their most tremendous moment of motivation and flair and style and a team that has made its impact at the beginning of the Premiership, different from last year. It provokes a good challenge and I think motivation will be the key factor in the game and hopefully (we can) come back from Old Trafford with a win.”

Chelsea has won five times at Old Trafford in the Premier League era, more often than any other team. Few expect the Londoners to repeat the feat on Sunday.

Match Facts
Manchester United versus Chelsea, Premier League, Old Trafford, 4pm, 18 September 2011.

Likely Line-ups
United (4-4-1-1): de Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Jones, Evra; Nani, Carrick, Anderson, Young; Rooney; Hernandez. Subs from: Lindegaard, Fabio, Evans, Giggs, Evans, Fletcher, Pogba, Park, Diouf, Owen, Berbatov.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Bosingwa, Luiz, Alex, Cole; Ramires, Meireles, Lampard; Mata, Anelka, Sturridge. Subs from: Hilario, Ferreira, Malouda, McEachran, Mikel, Kalou, Torres, Romeu

Form
United: WWWWD
Chelsea: DWWWW

Referee
Referee: Phil Dowd (Slovenia)

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Comments

  1. reddread says

    Certain to be our sternest test so far, no matter what Chelsea perceived woes might be. Real dangermen upfront, in particular Sturridge, who is a real livewire and unpredictable to boot. Their midfield keep the ball well and will create chances. That said, we will do the same, and they are arguably shaker at the back than we are. Should be an interesting game, that’s for sure…

  2. han says

    if bollockless plays, it is going to be a long afternoon…
    i’d stick berbs on in the middle instead – at least he can hold the ball and pass forward rather than sideways or backwards ffs

  3. says

    at last a proper side, not wounded by injury – with a young enthusiast manager who has an excellent grasp of tactics and moreover bollocks – dropping tozza bringing on sturridge, dropping that immobile in-bred Terry for a more dynamic defence but last but not least, dropping another rant favourite, that great village idiot of English midfield, Frankie Lampard.

    since during the season to date we have proved that we are the most destructive counter attacking force in the EPL, expect villa boas to play 4-5-1 to try and bum us in midfield and split off the supply chain to Rooney / Hernandez – same as Jose’s tactic, obvious but effective.

  4. han says

    danniitronix said:
    at last a proper side, not wounded by injury – with a young enthusiast manager who has an excellent grasp of tactics and moreover bollocks – dropping tozza bringing on sturridge, dropping that immobile in-bred Terry for a more dynamic defence but last but not least, dropping another rant favourite, that great village idiot of English midfield, Frankie Lampard.

    since during the season to date we have proved that we are the most destructive counter attacking force in the EPL, expect villa boas to play 4-5-1 to try and bum us in midfield and split off the supply chain to Rooney / Hernandez – same as Jose’s tactic, obvious but effective.

    cry baby and fat fucker both starting…

  5. says

    Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Jones, Evans, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Anderson, Young, Rooney, Hernandez.

    Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Meireles, Ramires, Lampard, Sturridge, Torres, Mata.

  6. Sidsidney says

    danniitronix said:
    fucking hell, he’s gone for sturridge and tozza upfront away from home. i knew he had bollocks but this is nuts

    4-4-2 v. 4-4-2

    this will be fun

    A young defence again bar Evra

    Evans will get done a few times by Torres

  7. Sidsidney says

    Anybody else notice that we aren’t dominating the ball or midfield without Clev

    Just heard someone – maybe Phelan – shouting ‘pass, get a rhythm, get a rhythm’

  8. says

    every chelsea attack coming through the anderson side of midfield, they have spotted the weak link – nothing going to get through fletcher’s zone. his confidence as already gone – he’s dropped back into defence. same old story, fletcher is going to have to do anderson’s shift as well now. fucking bollockless fanny.

    the energy of nani and young is breathtaking. they just get their heads down and run forward.

  9. says

    zero tackles, zero interceptions, zero balls won – 3 passes given away. see the way chelsea combine with meriles, mata and sturridge down that right flank. there has been nothing on the left. watch him run aimlessly between midfield and defence.

    he has offered nothing in this game to date.

    now see how every attack of ours is coming via the right flank – through nani, that is because fletch gives him the back up. anderson is a fucking liability.

  10. madmaxmadmax says

    Anderson just threaded a couple of incisive passes in the first 5 mins and afte dropping back whipped in couple of pin pointed passes both to the left and right. Fletcher is just running around

  11. says

    madmax said:
    Anderson just threaded a couple of incisive passes in the first 5 mins and afte dropping back whipped in couple of pin pointed passes both to the left and right. Fletcher is just running around

    there was nothing “incisive” about those passes – and once again anderson let’s someone run behind him – even the sky commentators are laughing at the twat. don’t worry, anderson, this time rooney will bail you out.

  12. says

    madmax said:
    If we want to complain about its should be about Evans and Evra. Evra has been very poor

    he has no support on the overlap, that’s because young is covering the left where Anderson should be – now compare the Fletch/ Jones, Nani, Rooney outlet. there is your answer. all our attacks are coming from that side.

  13. madmaxmadmax says

    danniitronix said:
    there was nothing “incisive” about those passes – and once again anderson let’s someone run behind him – even the sky commentators are laughing at the twat. don’t worry, anderson, this time rooney will bail you out.

    ya right the player scoring the goal is bailing the team out and the player starting the move for the goal is not

  14. says

    han said:
    so tell us something new

    he will still maitain that SIX CURRIES Terry is a class defender after fucking up twice.

    did not expect villa boas to play 4-2-2 and he’s been shown up for giving it large at OT. he’s fucked up, I thought he would play 4-5-1 but he’s given Fletcher, Nani, Jones and Rooney too much stretch and space. he’s fucked this one up.

  15. Sidsidney says

    Sloppy as fuck

    Some terrible mistakes

    We brought Chelsea down to our level second half

    BUT… top teams win when they’re being shit, and we won by a decent margin

  16. says

    not sure what villa boas was doing with that formation but we took advantage.

    energy of nani, rooney, smalling, young and evra was too much for them.

    anderson was appalling, i just don’t understand ow after 5 mins he becomes so slow, so gormless and so unaware of his surroundings. clearly he’s been on the pukka pies, this week and gon eback to his usual aimless wondering around the park looking for others to tackle, pass and shoot. even carrick managed to win a ball, made a good defensive header – which was two things more than Anderson.

  17. han says

    poor play making but that is the sign of true champions
    win when you are playing like pussies instead of lions
    wow that last 15 mins was an eternity
    cannot complain too much – only blots were ladyboy’s goal and rooney’s missed pen
    but all in all on a day when the scouse cunts get raped and the council tenants are held at the cottagers place after being 2 up, its been enlightening!
    see u bumchums

  18. madredmonkeymadredmonkey says

    han said:
    poor play making but that is the sign of true champions
    win when you are playing like pussies instead of lions
    wow that last 15 mins was an eternity
    cannot complain too much – only blots were ladyboy’s goal and rooney’s missed pen
    but all in all on a day when the scouse cunts get raped and the council tenants are held at the cottagers place after being 2 up, its been enlightening!
    see u bumchums

    see ya bumchum

  19. dozer says

    Hernandez – ok.
    Rooney – decent
    Young and Fletcher – good.
    Nani – brilliant
    Back 5 – excellent
    Subs: Carrick – good
    Berba – ok
    Valencia – excellent
    That’s 10 players that’s won us the game today.

    Sir Ryan Giggs? No no no. Sir Paul Scholes say.

  20. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    Nani>>>>>Ronaldo
    On Sky Sports they were saying about comparisons between Ronaldo and Nani at the same game period; also that Nani has scored more goals than Ronaldo did at this point, also more assists ??
    I would get the proof but I’m far to lazy to search for it!!

    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits…..

  21. ltel says

    brianofnazareth said:
    Nani>>>>>Ronaldo
    On Sky Sports they were saying about comparisons between Ronaldo and Nani at the same game period; also that Nani has scored more goals than Ronaldo did at this point, also more assists ??
    I would get the proof but I’m far to lazy to search for it!!

    i dnt believe it

  22. Sidsidney says

    Evans and Jones both fucked up for the Trannys goal. They’re both dozing as he runs between them.
    Maybe Evans fucks up more because he should have tracked the run as he can see it happening in front of him. But Jones should have been alive to the threat in behind n all
    It happens though, it was 30 seconds into the second half. The hairdryer from Fergie will cut that out

  23. madredmonkeymadredmonkey says

    Ronaldo – First 100 PL games – 6705 mins -19 goals – 12 assists
    Nani – First 100 PL games – 6752 mins -19 goals – 33 assists

    • Mongoletsi says

      // Ronaldo – First 100 PL games – 6705 mins -19 goals – 12 assists
      Nani – First 100 PL games – 6752 mins -19 goals – 33 assists //

      Filed under “no fucking way that’s interesting”

  24. han says

    omg
    ladyboy’s miss was absolutely staggering
    i actually felt sorry for the guy – only for a split second mind, no more than that
    and no worries, normal service has been resumed
    x scouse cunt deserves all the shit he gets for that

  25. Wil says

    Felt very lucky we won the game! 2 offside goals and Chelsea missing chance after chance which is quite untypical of them…

    Honestly, Chelsea dominated us in midfield. They pressed high up the pitch and it pressurized us making silly passes by our midfielders. Fortunately for us, once the ball reaches Nani or Young we kept the ball slightly better but the fact that Chelsea has shot 10 times to one by us in the first 20 minutes tell us how lucky we were. Anderson was aweful today which is very weird as he played so well in the last 4 games with Cleverly. I still rate Fletcher but it was obvious he’s not in form yet and needs a lot more games.

    The way Chelsea played yesterday reminded how Barcelona played against us. I think the difference was Barcelona was clinical while Torres’s form has gone beserk. This means, I can’t see us beating Barcelona if we meet them again. It also shows how our midfield is still lacking…. we really need a Sneijder to control the midfield or have a ball winner like Schweinsteiger…

    We wer very fortunate to win yesterday but let’s hope when Welbeck and especially Cleverley returns, we can add speed back to our play again!

    P.S. Feel like doing a “I told you so” that Valencia can play right back any day and should have played in the final last May there!

  26. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Couldn’t watch the match until I downloaded the .avi files (man, I miss myp2p), but it might have been for the best as it saved me from enduring an agonizing second half which included a horror tackle from Cashley that would have had me frothing at the mouth. God, I hate that cowardly c*nt. I have never been able to figure out how he manages to escape virtually unpunished for all the shit he pulls. When he was at the Arse, I figured David Dein’s FA connections were protecting him, and, when he moved to Cheatski (especially the way he moved there), I figured that protection would end, but it hasn’t. I know it’s not because he plays for England – the FA have no problem fucking Rio and Rooney over; so what is it?
    AVB is quoted implying that the officials are somehow to blame – had they got the two offside calls that led to United’s first goals right, Cashley would not have felt aggrieved and taken his frustrations out on a player that had nothing to do with the injustice. First, I think the FA need to talk to AVB about those comments and, second, AVB needs to acknowledge that Cashley has always been a dirty player, albeit in a chicken-shit, back-shooting kind of way. Ordinarily, I would never wish for a player to be injured, but at the risk of offending TwistedBlood, if someone were to run through Cashley in such a way that he had to be stretchered off, I would keep a video of that tackle and, whenever events in the news would lead me to believe that there is no justice in this world, I would watch it and think, “yeah, but sometimes people get exactly what they deserve.” I wonder if Joey Barton takes request?

  27. says

    To beat a full strength Chelsea without Rio and Vida, miss a penalty and other chances 3-1 is just great. I can’t complain. anyone who wants to complain should please feel free and go right ahead.

    The comparisons with Chelsea of last season are not actually correct. This season we have played Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea in our first five games. Who did Chelsea play? Exactly.

    Jones will get more aware with age.

  28. captainhormonecaptainhormone says

    Calvino said:
    To beat a full strength Chelsea without Rio and Vida, miss a penalty and other chances 3-1 is just great. I can’t complain. anyone who wants to complain should please feel free and go right ahead.

    The comparisons with Chelsea of last season are not actually correct. This season we have played Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea in our first five games. Who did Chelsea play? Exactly.

    Jones will get more aware with age.

    This is why I love you most of the time Cal

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