The last two times Chelsea played Manchester United, nothing much happened. Other than one of the most exciting finales in Champions League history and a Premier League firestarter at Stamford Bridge that included a fight between the groundsman and Patrice Evra, and a penalty four minutes from time to win it for Chelsea 2-1.
The two teams face each other again this Sunday at Stamford Bridge in what should be a mouthwatering encounter. Chelsea still has the harsh memories of the penalty kick loss to Man United in Moscow. Manchester United fans have their own worries with only one win from four matches this season in the Premier League, Champions League and UEFA Super Cup.
In many ways, the two teams we’ll be seeing tomorrow are a different Chelsea and different Manchester United than what we saw in Moscow last season.
Chelsea is a much improved side under Luis Felipe Scolari. The Brazilian has added more pace to the side by allowing full backs Ashley Jose and Jose Bosingwa to make darting runs from the back.
Manchester United, meanwhile, looked more impressive this past Wednesday in their 0-0 draw against Villarreal than they have done in the Premier League so far. When Cristiano Ronaldo came on for the side, they looked completely different. But the fact of the matter is that Manchester United, as Chelsea, are a team in transition — trying to adapt to Dimitar Berbatov’s addition to the side, which completely changes United’s shape and tactical formation.
With United against Chelsea are typically tense matches, my hope is that Scolari’s Chelsea site will be a bit more adventurous and will try to put Man United on its backfoot. I envision United to play more cautiously especially playing at Stamford Bridge.
With Arsenal defeating Bolton 3-1 today to go top of the table, it’ll be a fascinating match tomorrow as Chelsea tries to regain first place in the league. Manchester United has a lot of catching up to you. Liverpool, meanwhile, are playing like their old selves — lacking the consistency they need to put away the smaller clubs instead of drawing those matches.
Interestingly, the majority of you, the readers on EPL Talk, believe that Chelsea will win (52%), while only 27% of you think that Man United will win, and the remaining 21% are predicting the final result will end in a draw.