The big game today; some would say the defining game for either side, but I’ll leave the building of hubris part to the folks at Sky.
But before talking about the game let me talk about yesterday.
Yesterday was beautiful. The day before yesterday was hilarious. Fat Spanish Waiters should stick to waiting on orders in Spanish restaurants. Not write/give speeches. It would be a stretch to link said fat waiter’s bile with the 0-0 draw at the Potteries yesterday, but there couldn’t have been a better sight for a Manchester United fan.
Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at Stoke was frustrating on only one count: the inability of Stoke’s big men to put one of Delap’s laser guided missiles into the net.
Chelsea have a decent away record this season. However, their early season euphoria seems to have been all but wiped out. Their record against the big sides has been nothing to bleat about, while serious doubts have been cast over Scolari’s tactical nous and ability to influence a game when things aren’t going right.
Their only saving grace is our own poor form this season.
We have struggled with many things this season. ‘Harsh fixture lists’, injury to some of our stars, integrating a new signing, rotating players, sometimes, without apparent regard for tactics. Travels to competitions like the Super Cup and the World Club Championship haven’t helped our fixture cramp either — which is more punishment than reward for our outstanding last season. [Someone must consider having these tournaments before the season starts. It’s really odd trying to switch to a tournament that is a reflection of our previous season’s achievement, when we are really busy defending our titles in the current season.]
Chelsea would likely start Drogba upfront and follow their usual strategy of playing three men in midfield to cramp our style (rather the lack of it this season). But Drogba starting today would mean we need Rio back in defence. Evans has been an excellent deputy so far, but people the size of Drogba would need defenders of Ferdinand’s ilk. In short, I am not really sure if Evans is ready for Drogba, yet. If Ferdinand is fit, Fergie will play him.
Upfront it’s likely Rooney and Berbatov will play while Evra is, according to Fergie, ‘our freshest and fittest man on the pitch.’ His return is welcome as always.
I am not going to guess how our central midfield will be so I’ll leave the discussion to you lot.
Prediction: 1-0 to United.
I’ll leave you with some quotes from Fergie, before I end this [I’m sure I don’t have to elaborate on it’s context]:
‘People say every season, it’s going to be three or four teams challenging for the title. But I’m of the opinion it comes down to two teams when you enter the last month. Chelsea have contested the league for the last four years and I think they have the experience to be our main rivals again. You have to think that will count for something. It’s a change for Liverpool fans and players to even be talking about winning the league. They haven’t been able to do that for 19 years, or at least a good few years. It was important for a team like Liverpool to get a good start. They needed it and it has given them a greater expectation. Experience is important, though. It’s been proven every team will drop points. Experience teaches you to not drop as many as the rest.’
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