Chelsea are set to take on an in-form Manchester United at home this Saturday in an epic showdown, which could get us closer to the title if we register a win.
Both the teams highly pumped up from their derby wins last weekend, will be eyeing nothing other than a victory out of this Battle Royale.
TEAM NEWS AND INJURY UPDATES
The main concern for us Blues is that our star striker Diego Costa is out of this game, due to his hamstring injury. The rest of the squad is fit and raring to go. The availability of Loic Remy, as confirmed by Mourinho on Twitter, would surely be a big boost for the Blues, given Chelsea’s striker crisis at the moment.
United too has some injury concerns as they are waiting for an update on Michael Carrick, who seemed to be in trouble in the Manchester derby last weekend. Robin Van Persie and Luke Shaw have returned to training and might just make the cut for this game.
KEY PLAYER BATTLES
Eden Hazard vs. Antonio Valencia
Hazard has been in red hot form all the season and has dribbled past a lot of defence lines in the league. Valencia will have a monster task to stop the Belgian winger, that neither of the teams in the league managed to do this season. And this time too, Hazard looks like he will be coming out on the top.
Marouane Fellaini vs. Matic / Zouma
Fellaini has been simply exceptional for Manchester United in recent games, and he has to be taken care of if Chelsea are to come out top in the midfield battle. With Fellaini channeling more with the left side players, Mourinho might consider putting Zouma in there along with Matic, which means Fabregas may end up taking the No. 10 role.
Ashley Young vs. Branislav Ivanovic
Ashley Young has been in terrific form lately and was crucial in the derby win for United. He has been firing deadly crosses into the box and has improved his finishing recently, and the big Serb will have to neutralize his influence on the left side along with that of Daley Blind’s.
With 12 more points required for the title from the possible 21, Chelsea will hope to earn those points as soon as possible, but, in a risk-free manner. Chelsea will look to take an early lead and sit back on it if you count on the history. Also, because this is the first of the two important games that can make or break Chelsea’s title charge, they would like to play it safe. So, we can expect a cautious approach from Chelsea in the ‘all important game’.
United, on the other hand, will be expected to approach this game in a contrasting manner to that of Chelsea’s as they will be aiming to finish as high as possible by the end of this season. They enter this game on the back of big wins against Liverpool, Tottenham, and Manchester City which will generate a lot of belief in the Red Devils’ camp, and they will look to maintain the same intensity.
- Chelsea have scored 100 goals in all competitions this season.
- 9 – Eden Hazard has scored all nine PL penalties he has taken; no player has taken more and never missed one (Berbatov also 9). Perfect.
- Chelsea lost only once to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the league over the last 10 years.
- Chelsea haven’t won a league game by more than a one-goal margin since beating Swansea by 5-0 away from home.
- Chelsea are on top of the table since August 30th, 2014.
- United have won all of their last 6 games coming into this one.
- United have only kept one clean sheet in their last 11 league meetings against Chelsea.
- United won 19 games so far this season; this was the exact number they managed in the whole of last season.
LAST FIVE PREMIER LEAGUE MEETINGS
26th Oct 2014- Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea
19th Jan 2014- Chelsea 3-1 Manchester United
26th Aug 2013- Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
5th May 2013- Manchester United 0-1 Chelsea
28th Oct 2012- Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United
PREDICTED LINE UPS
Chelsea: Courtois (GK), Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (C), Azpilicueta, Matic, Zouma, Willian, Fabregas, Hazard, Remy.
Manchester United: De Gea (GK), Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Young, Fellaini, Carrick, Herrera, Blind, Mata, Rooney (C).
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United
Kick-Off : 1730 GMT, 2200 IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London.
Referee: Mike Dean
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Edited By: Harshal Ahire