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Manchester United Fixtures

Thoughts on the FA Cup Final

I’ve already done the official Chelsea – United final preview, but that page’s a bit cluttered and I wanted to be more biased about it, so here’s my unofficial, fkn biased, preview.

I see two scenarios – one says that United will be embarrassed, and the ghosts of 29th April 2006 (Stamford Bridge) will come back to haunt us. With Vidic and Carrick that seems unlikely but Joe Cole and Drogba cannot be discounted, and I feel that Joe Cole is a frighteningly good player who hasn’t had the team or the stage (yet) to bring out the best from him consistently (except last season at Chelsea).

He can still improve, so yes, I’m a tad bit worried about him.

The other scenario is a game like the one we had at Old Trafford earlier this season, with the additional anger / brawling temptations from the Stamford Bridge game this season. I have no doubts that United will win, but if Chelsea are involved in two cup finals with team brawls questions need to be asked about Mourinho’s man-management efforts, surely 🙂 Ok, maybe not, and that’s tongue-in-cheek but no one would want a brawl at a cup final and it’s a fucking shame that we’ve come to a point in football that when we talk about crunch games we’re also worried about mass confrontations.

For all the beauty of Milan 3-0 win over United, Gattuso’s rant was regrettable (read pathetic) and that sort of thing shouldn’t happen – still, one in 180 minutes isn’t bad. When it’s United and Chelsea though, there’s a good chance that tempers will boil over, which is why I want Smith and Rooney playing there, along with Scholes, Giggs, Rio and Heinze (packs a good punch).

Big contributions? Rooney, Carrick or Rio for me – 3 players who’ve done a lot for United all season but haven’t gotten the credit they deserve.

Everyone apparently wants to see Evra start, but if you’re playing Chelsea you know they’ll exploit the open space left by Evra and if Joe Cole pops up on the right he could massacre us there. Heinze could at least keep him in check, or be in position to bring him down if needed.

Chelsea don’t have Carvalho, which is good, and they are also missing Sheva n Ballack, which is like United missing Veron. If Essien fills in at center-back that’s one weakness we can look at although we don’t have the strikers to hit long-balls at, so Giggsy will have to get wide and pop a few crosses in (it’s too much to ask Ronny to go wide these days).

Overall though, I’m not concerned too much about the Chelsea formation, apart from where Joe Cole’s going to play. Cech can be beaten, the defence is vulnerable and the midfield isn’t the same with an ageing Makelele and no Essien. Drogba – I’m sure Rio / Vida can control him.

Let’s just make sure we score first, twice.