Chelsea - Manchester United Preview: Blues undefeated in last nine league games against Sir Alex's men at Stamford Bridge
But from a historical point of view, the Red Devils have the upper hand since they have managed to beat the Blues on 29 occasions away from home, losing 22 times
By Adithya Ananth
Bosingwa, Luiz, Ivanovic, Bertrand
Meireles, Romeu, Malouda
Sturridge, Torres, Mata
Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Park
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas will not be able to call upon full-back Ashley Cole in the crunch clash against Manchester United, since the England international picked up two yellows against Swansea City and is now suspended for this fixture.
John Terry has been ruled out with a knee injury, which should see the back line being changed a little. One possible solution could be for Branislav Ivanovic to play at right-back with Gary Cahill making his debut, while Jose Bosingwa would move to left-back. But given the magnitude of the game and the amount of pressure and expectation that would be placed on Cahill considering that it would be his debut, Ryan Bertrand should be the one to slot in in place of the suspended Cole.
Meanwhile, Bosingwa would man the right-back position with David Luiz and Ivanovic in the heart of the Blues' defence.
Frank Lampard (calf) is a doubt for this fixture, but could feature if he returns to fitness in time. Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou are unavailable due to being on international duty at the African Cup of Nations, while John Obi Mikel (hamstring) and Ramires (knee) join Terry in the treatment room.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has Wayne Rooney and Nani pushing to be fit in time for the stratospheric encounter at Stamford Bridge. If fit, the striker should take the place of Dimitar Berbatov and play alongside Javier Hernandez, with Danny Welbeck on the bench. Nani would come in place of Park Ji-Sung if he returns to fitness in time.
The Scot recently said that Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young could make a return against Chelsea. But even if the duo are ruled fit, it will likely be a place on the bench given the amount time they have spent on the sidelines.
Anders Lindegaard (ankle) is out of action for at least a month, and David de Gea should earn a start despite Ben Amos having kept a clean sheet against Stoke City.
Anderson remains sidelined due to a knock he took in training last month, while Phil Jones (ankle) is out as well. Darren Fletcher (illness) and Nemanja Vidic (knee) have already been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea are undefeated in their last nine Premier League clashes against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
- But the Red Devils have the historical advantage, since they have beaten the Blues in their backyard on 29 occasions, losing 22 times in the process. A further 18 matches ended with points being shared.
- Andre Villas-Boas' men are at rock bottom in the Fair Play table, having seen more cards than any other team in the top-flight. This amounts to 50 yellows and four reds.
- Fernando Torres (pictured right) has gone 12 matches in the league without scoring a goal, which makes it his worst goal drought since his switch to the Premier League.
- Manchester United have been the most miserly team in defence on their travels, having conceded only seven times away from home this season.
- They are also the most successful side on the road this season, having accumulated 26 points in 11 away games. Interestingly, the Blues' home record does not measure up to United's exploits on their travels, since Villas-Boas' men have managed 22 points in their 11 matches at Stamford Bridge.
- If all games had ended at half-time, then Sir Alex Ferguson's charges would have been on top of the table, five points ahead of rivals Manchester City.
- In total, the Red Devils have scored 263 goals against Chelsea in all competitions, conceding 191 in the process.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 0-2 Manchester United
- 18.45 %
Chelsea FC 2-1 Manchester United
- 15.7 %
Chelsea FC 1-2 Manchester United
- 13.37 %
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Aug 2013||Manchester United 0 - Chelsea FC 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||5 May 2013||Manchester United 0 - Chelsea FC 1|
|FA Cup (FA)||1 Apr 2013||Chelsea FC 1 - Manchester United 0|
|FA Cup (FA)||10 Mar 2013||Manchester United 2 - Chelsea FC 2|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||31 Oct 2012||Chelsea FC 5 - Manchester United 4|
|17 Dec 2013||Sunderland 2 - Chelsea FC 1||CCUP|
|14 Dec 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - Crystal Palace 1||EPL|
|11 Dec 2013||Chelsea FC 1 - Steaua Bucureşti 0||UCL|
|7 Dec 2013||Stoke City 3 - Chelsea FC 2||EPL|
|4 Dec 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea FC 4||EPL|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|22||Fabio Da Silva||Defender|
Both sides can be fearsome on their day, and the Blues get charged up when something affects their skipper. Much like the time when Terry's problems with Wayne Bridge made their way into the media, being stripped off the England armband and his injury absence should produce an electric atmosphere at Stamford Bridge.
But the Red Devils are strong in their own right, and have been getting the right results so far, particularly more so on their travels. This should be a source of confidence to the visitors, who appear to have shaken off those defeats to Blackburn Rovers - albeit at Old Trafford - and Newcastle United.
But with pressure on Andre Villas-Boas, the Portuguese boss might just manage to outsmart the experienced Scot on Sunday.