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Chelsea v Man Utd: Preview

I had a dream yesterday. Barcelona bangs four goals against us at Old Trafford. Then we come back and keep pounding their net, scoring goals in the process — and in bucket loads. But for some reason the score still reads 4-2, or something like that. Apparently we keep scoring but we still seem short. Then I woke up briefly and checked the date on my watch, and thanked my stars that it was only a dream. And then I slumped back into bed only for that dream to continue — the same thing on loop. We keep banging in the goals and we still seem short. Then we take the lead. Only for them to go on a three goal blitz. I didn’t know the final score because it became clear that they were winning, and try as we might we didn’t manage to overhaul them. I couldn’t take it any longer: I woke up, brushed my teeth, rushed to work and calmed myself over a cup of coffee.

Moral: Dreams can be rather crap.

Oh well, hopefully Ronaldo, Rooney and co read this (I know, I am so full of myself eh?) and vow to never let such a dreadful thing happen. Ever.

Right. Now that I’ve got that off my chest let’s move on to today.

In the midst of all the talk over our goalless draw against Barcelona, we may seem to have lost the significance of today’s game. It’s alright as long as it’s just us and not the players. Today is a day where we could effectively clinch the title and concentrate fully on the game on Tuesday.

But first the pre-match talk.

The Fergie is back in form. This time his ire is directed at Sky. The reason? The blindingly familiar issue of fixture congestion. We know these are the kinds of things managers say at this stage so we’ll leave it at that without further comment. Here’s the gist, though:

“The fixture is not fair in terms of its timing. Chelsea’s game was on Tuesday so they have had four days to get themselves ready, which is a big advantage, there is no question about that. It is not fair, but what can you do? If you shake hands with the devil you can’t complain. Football did a deal with television and the game is subject to television’s control nowadays. But we are suffering because of that. Chelsea have had four days’ rest and we have had two and a half. That extra day makes a hell of a difference.”[link]

United players were allowed to bask in the Spanish sun to rejuvenate themselves for a day before flying back to the isles, so hopefully that helps the players. Perhaps it was the sun that made Ronaldo’s mood swing for a moment to blurt for the 7856th time that he’d like to one day play in Spain, after being asked for the 7855th time.

SAF also reckons the incentive of the Premier League title should be enough for the players to shrug off their tired legs. Seriously, the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney and Rio have to be machines if they manage to come out of the next five days, or so, flying!

Team news, and there is some good news. And what news can be better than the news that comes from the horse’s mouth?

Yes, iron-man is to return after shrugging off his stomach virus like it was a dead fly on his shoulder — I exaggerate, don’t I?

Anyway, on to the probable starting XI, here’s my take: Fab four and EVDS at the back. Anderson + Carrick in central midfield. Nani, Giggs and Rooney, Ronaldo upfront. I think Tevez won’t start.

About Chelsea, I’d imagine Avram Grant would consult Hank Ten Cate, Steve Clarke or whoever in charge; take their advice; and then decide on some formation of his own anyway. So we’ll see what he has to throw at us.

I hope Fergie does attack Chelsea and not them show too much respect.

Prediction: 1-0 to United. Of course, an early United goal would guarantee a rout.