Second week of the Premier League it is and the two most successful English teams in recent years are clashing as “The Chosen One” David Moyes’ Manchester United entertain “The Special One” Jose Mourinho’ Chelsea in a potentially entertaining fixture. A win for the either has a lot at stake especially momentum and the chance to put clear day light at the top of the table.
The Chosen One’s First Homecoming
The world’s 2nd most valued brand with its millions of fans will have their eyes all over Old Trafford, for the first real test awaits David Moyes against a Chelsea side who have superior team over Manchester United, atleast on paper. After a volatile pre-season both on & off the pitch, Moyes seems to have settled with back to back victories surprisingly at ease away from home. Though he wouldn’t have dreamt off a much tougher start to his career at home especially against Chelsea and Mourinho, but having said so it is these kinds of battles and tests that would make “The Chosen One” gritty and tougher over the years. Tactically Moyes still is experimenting and needs more time to feel comfortable at the hot seat and victory today against Chelsea would do world of good to his confidence.
This team hasn’t had much threat from their 2 opponents – Wigan and Swansea, apart from the last 30 minutes against Swansea where Bony & Co. were threatening enough only for Welbeck and Van Persie to take the match beyond any further doubts. With both, their attack line sorted out due to the imperious form of Van Persie together with promise shown by Welbeck and their defense bearing the fruits of solidity, it is their midfield that needs a fix in the form of creativity and the vision. One mistake that Moyes shouldn’t make as his predecessor is to put players out of their best place on the starting lineup; if only Kagawa and Rooney could be used where they are best suited at, Manchester United’s search for a creative midfielder can Rest in Peace. Although the current Manchester United squad is not the greatest, they still have their mentality of winning going along, which Chelsea & Mourinho will be very wary about.
The Special One’s Second Innings
There was much of a speculation for long time that Jose was in line to replace Sir Alex, but many a loyal Manchester United fan and the Legends who played for Manchester United knew best that – Mourinho wouldn’t simply suit Manchester United, for whatever reason be it. And “The Special One” finally returned to the club where he was lethal, established his status with his fierce and competitive on & off pitch tactics and last but not least during his first innings at Chelsea, gave the legendary Sir Alex a run for his money on emerging as the successful counterpart on their match days. And The Special One is back with much wiser experience and as a much better manager, looking to take the Blues from Strength to Strength and to complete the unfinished business, which is to win Champions League with the club he calls “home”.
The Current Chelsea team can take any team down on its day, especially with a host of midfield stars and with Mourinho managing them all, this team is bound to play an attacking style of football. Given all these indications, one can completely understand their slow start to the season – simply because Mourinho knows where his team’s deficiencies are (if any) and according to me, their defense still looks a work in progress. If Manchester United are to make any inroads into this Chelsea lineup, it would be Van Persie who should be their main man troubling them and Mourinho is certain to come up with a plan to tackle the Dutchman, together with an inconsistent attack line which is why Chelsea are in the market looking for a striker in the form of Wayne Rooney. Last season’s F.A. Cup 1st leg showed glimpses of what Manchester United could be in store, especially with Mata-Hazard on the pitch and if Chelsea can replicate the similar type of play today, the Blues fans could be in for a treat. Although the Blues would know that they could be shot into the distance, if their midfield doesn’t find a way past the United’s defense.
Manchester United again are the side with most injuries and David Moyes will be missing a lot of key players like Rafael, Nani, Ashley Young and most important of all Chicharito, who has proven to have been Chelsea’s nemesis in recent years.
Whereas, Jose Mourinho has not much of a problem in his star studded line up, with David Luiz being the only doubt to feature due to a hamstring injury.
Manchester United (Probable From): De Gea; Smalling, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Jones, Carrick, Kagawa; Valencia, Welbeck; Van Persie; (4-5-1)
Chelsea (Probable From): Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole; Hazard, Lampard, Ramires, Mata; Oscar, Torres (4-4-1-1)
Says Manchester United Manager David Moyes, “There have been a lot of things I have been looking forward to – like taking the team on tour and leading them out at Wembley. But to do it at Old Trafford for the first game against Chelsea is a thrill for me, it really is”.
Says Jose Mourinho on Wayne Rooney Saga playing Mind Games, “They are against me? I didn’t say to Rooney you will be a second choice for me. And they are against me? We are trying to get a player that a manager told ‘You will be a second option’ for him. We are not going for Van Persie. They don’t have to be against me. If I say Ramires is a second option for me and he plays when Lampard is tired or injured, if someone comes here to get Ramires, nobody is upset”.
- David Moyes begins his new Old Trafford Era exactly 100 days after Manchester United announced Sir Alex Fergusson’s successor
- Manchester United have won 5, lost 3 and drawn twice during the last 10 times against Chelsea with all 3 loses coming in the last season
- Their Premier league record goes neck to neck in terms of competition, as Chelsea edge Manchester United by 1 win out of the 42 games played so far, in doing both teams scoring equal number of goals (56)
- Manchester United have an outstanding Premier League Home record as they have won 51 of their last 59 matches
- Jose Mourinho as a Chelsea manager is one among a very few successful managers both against Manchester United and at Old Trafford
- Chelsea have not lost in their last 10 premier league fixtures and could be the only team to win twice in a calendar year against Manchester United if they win this upcoming fixture
- The biggest win between both these teams went in favor of Manchester United, who thrashed their London Rivals 6-0 on the boxing day of 1960
- Alex Dawson’s hat trick in the above match remains the only treble by a United player against the blues
Winning their first home game against a side of magnitude like Chelsea would just prove to be an impetus for Manchester United to carry forwards into a series of challenging fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester City and West Brom. Chelsea on the other hand with a lethal lineup would go all guns blazing towards a win which not only will increase their confidence, but also put them into a winning momentum towards a series of equally tough fixtures starting with Bayern Munich, Everton and Tottenham. Whatever be the result, we can be ensured of an attacking and entertaining game, coming Monday night at Old Trafford.
Manchester United 2 – 1 Chelsea