The former Blues forward, who is now in charge at Watford, believes his old club are slight favourites against the Red Devils but is anticipating a tight clash at Stamford BridgeEXCLUSIVE
By Ewan Roberts
Gianfranco Zola believes that former club Chelsea will miss their "inspirational" captain John Terry but is adamant that they have a slight advantage ahead of their clash with Manchester United on Sunday.
The Watford manager feels that the Blues' home advantage could prove decisive, with the west London club unbeaten at home against the Red Devils since 2002.
Roberto Di Matteo's side currently sit top of the Premier League, four points ahead of third-placed United, although Zola is anticipating an even contest at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
"It’s going to be an interesting game," the Chelsea legend told Goal.com.
"I think the chances are 50-50 as Chelsea are in a good moment, Manchester United as well. So it's going to be a game in which the result is going to be tight.
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Zola admitted, however, that the absence of the club captain will be a factor, noting: "Terry is a big player for them, he’s a leader, he's one of the most inspirational players on the pitch, so he will be missed.
"But Chelsea has got a really good squad and they have players that can easily come into the game and into the team and do very well."
Chelsea are unbeaten in the league this season, with the Blues' front four of Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard drawing plaudits, and Zola has nothing but praise for the club's attacking line up.
"They've been quite impressive," he continued. "They are a team that when they come forward look really dangerous.
"That's the interesting thing about it, because they are playing against a team, Manchester United, who have had success as a strong team, a defensive team.
"They're also good coming forward, but the main quality of United has been their resilience, their strength of character, never giving up and being very strong defensively.
"Two cultures, two ways to play, and it will be very interesting to see which one is going to win."
Gianfranco Zola was talking at the Gaffer Academy, a management crash-course organised by Football Manager. Football Manager 2013 is available in shops and online on the 2nd November. Visit www.footballmanager.com for more information.
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