Chelsea vs. Manchester United Preview

Barclays Premier League

Football
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Published: 02/02/2012

Despite trailing Manchester United by ten points in the Barclays Premier League, Chelsea will go into their clash with Alex Ferguson’s side as slight favourites when the two teams meet at Stamford Bridge on February 5.

And whilst the Blues are almost certainly out of the running for the top domestic prize this season, they are still likely to have a major influence on the destination of the title come the end of the campaign.

A win over United would indeed nail a large dent into the Red Devil’s bid to retain the Premier League – and the historic rivalry between the two clubs suggests that AVB’s men will be fully focused on achieving just that.

With the resumption of the Champions League just around the corner, Chelsea need to be lifting their game up to the next level and a stern test against United is just what the doctor will have ordered with Napoli waiting in the wings.

Unquestionably given the nod by the bookmakers based on their home advantage and improving form, Chelsea look set provide United with their own acid examination – which they will need to pass if they are to overhaul Manchester City and overturn the three point deficit which they currently face.

Nevertheless, United have not won at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League since 2002 and despite their own upturn in form since losing to Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at the turn of the year, they cannot be confidently backed to break that ten year hoodoo.

Whilst United have held their league position well throughout the season and played with a high degree of consistency, on the main they have failed to inspire at the best of times and their injury hit squad will be vulnerable to a fired up Chelsea outfit who have started to play with fluency and freedom since they were effectively tailed off in the title race.

With new, high profile transfer additions probable before this fixture takes place, Chelsea look on course to finish their domestic campaign positively - and with a cushion separating themselves and Arsenal in the battle for fourth place and a crucial Champions League qualification berth, AVB will be desperate for his team to put on a show.

Attack has not really been a problem for Chelsea this year despite the shortfall racked up by £50 million man Fernando Torres - and the likes of Frank Lampard and Juan Mata will be looking to get on top of a United back four which has been susceptible to mistakes on more than a few occasions.

With their recent win at Arsenal lacking true value and their second half crumble in the Manchester derby against ten men fresh in the memory, United need to improve fast if they harbour serious title credentials and it makes sense to side with the hosts in this match at a generally available 5/4.

A free spirited, hungry Chelsea side is a dangerous proposition and one which the visitors look unable to cope with as so many of their key men are out of action in the treatment room.


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