United will be without Danny Welbeck for today’s Premier League match against Chelsea as the striker has not recovered from a knee injury. Midfielder Paul Scholes is expected to return to the squad after a near four-month absence with a knee injury.
United fans will no doubt be looking forward to seeing Chelsea perform a guard of honour. Will Chelsea have the class to show such respect?
With the result immaterial for United the only thing they have to play for is pride and Sir Alex admitted last weekend that it’s difficult not to drop off the pace under these circumstances but he’ll doubtless be urging his team to help him put one over The Spanish Waiter one last time before he leaves for pastures new.
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Sir Alex requires hip surgery over the summer break so Old Trafford and social media sites will be buzzing with talk about possible replacements although Sir Alex has himself stressed that he has no plans whatsoever to quit the club in the near future. That won’t stop the Jurgen Klopp express from gathering pace I fear. Klopp is the latest ‘Man of the moment’ to be prematurely hailed as Sir Alex’s successor, although I admit his personality is infectious and his football a joy to watch so a cracking future candidate.
United could feel they owe Chelsea one after them being responsible for both United’s domestic cup exits this season, for the fans I think the opportunity to dent their possible qualification for a Champions League spot in the top four is motivation to take the points today.
Robin van Persie, already United’s record league scorer in a debut season, needs one more for 30 goals in all competitions and will probably start, but will Wayne Rooney? Sir Alex could opt for Shinji Kagawa instead to keep Wayne fresh for his journey across the channel in the summer.
I know people don’t like unrespected people like myself questioning the boss but I can’t agree with him after hailing the season as Rio Ferdinand’s best ever. Rio has really struggled at times this season but also regained form of the highest quality at other times. Rio’s pending contract extension could play a part in the boss’ kind words.
You can bet the players have spoke about who hasn’t scored in the league so far this season and will be looking to put that right over the next three fixtures (remember Pallister?). Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are all without a league goal and could all get a chance today so watch out for them making any unusually extra efforts in the attacking third!
This will be the fifth meeting between the sides this season. Chelsea beat United in both the FA and League Cups (the former after a replay) but United won 3-2 in the league encounter at Stamford Bridge.
United and Chelsea have met 41 times in the Premier League; both sides have won 13 times each, with 15 draws.
The last six clashes in all competitions have produced 29 goals at an average of 4.8 goals per game.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have lost more games (13) and conceded more goals (55) against Chelsea than any other side in the Premier League.
Prediction:A strong team selection should see United give a determined Chelsea a run for their money despite the lack of meaning. Sir Alex’s hopes of 100% committment from every player won’t be met but if he gets ninety out of them it could still be enough to get the better of a Chelsea squad that surely must be feeling the effects of a 65 game (so far) season? Chelsea often score at Old Trafford so I’m thinking 2-2 or 3-2 to the Reds with a goal for one of that quintet yet to score. I’m sticking a fiver on Phil Jones to score anytime @ 7/1 for a bit of fun.
What’s your prediction?
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How do you rate United’s chances of retaining the title next season? bwin already make United favourites ahead of Man City. Without seeing who leaves and who comes into clubs over the summer it’s a difficult one to call in my opinion. However, United will be there or there abouts come what May 2014 so if you fancy United’s chances and want to get your free bet on now, head to bwin to cash in.
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