The Chelsea vs Manchester United match will take place this Sunday, January 19, 2014 (8:00 AM Pacific, 16:00 GMT) at Stamford Bridge.
All transfer speculation must be forgotten as United face arguably their toughest challenge of the season away at Stamford Bridge. United have a poor record against Mourinho, regardless of which side he has been in charge of. Two wins in 17 games is an astonishingly poor record and full credit must go to Mourinho for that.
How he chooses to approach this game will be interesting. The game plan he has deployed against the top 7 sides this season is to go away to their place and get the draw (examples include the Arsenal and United games that left us all falling asleep by half time), and make sure they win at home. It’s worked perfectly so far and Chelsea are massive favourites going into this game.
Keeping it Tight
It’s clear that Mourinho will prioritize a clean sheet and hope that the inimitable Eden Hazard or the vaguely dangerous Torres can nick him a goal that will prove enough for a win. As a sheer physical presence, the Chelsea side is nothing like the one that Mourinho led to the title twice in a row in 2005 and 2006, but they are picking up solid results that certainly hark back to the first installment of the apparent love affair that we are all invited to witness.
United are without Rooney and Van Persie, which is a critical blow in a game of this magnitude. It will be left up to Welbeck and Jauzaj to try to inspire their side to a seventh win in eight in the league and while they will be clearly un-fancied, they will not fear Chelsea and have the added bonus of being away from home, where they have enjoyed most of their best performances this season. The away fans have been largely responsible for that and over Christmas the noise that they were making far outweighed that of the home support on various occasions.
Relatively Clean Bill of Health
The one big doubt is Ivanovic for Chelsea, which means that Azpilicueta will be charged with keeping Januzaj from having the kind of impact he has in the last 3 or 4 games, a task that will not be easy. Lampard could return for a place on the bench, but is unlikely to start the game as Chelsea look to continue their recent run and make it 10 games unbeaten.
United Picking Themselves
With the injuries that Moyes is currently faced with, he has been forced to keep the side fairly settled as of late, which has been quite refreshing for both the fans and the players. Phil Jones, Nani, Ashley Young and Rio Ferdinand are all still injured alongside Rooney and RVP so there really aren’t a lot of options at the moment. An apparent training ground bust-up with Zaha over a lack of game time has been played down by Moyes, but with the patchy form of Valencia and the progress of Januzaj, Zaha has been left wondering why he is not getting a look in right now.
Chelsea vs Manchester United Prediction
Mourinho will certainly believe that Chelsea can win, and if they go a goal up early you can’t see United getting back into it very easily, but I don’t think anybody has really got at Chelsea recently. Just before they went on this run, they were being taught lessons by Stoke and Sunderland lest we forget (although Sunderland did lose). Of course, in Hazard they possess one of the best players in the league right now, but United have nothing to fear and will be going there to win. It will be an interesting battle for sure, but I think that United could pull off something here. Predicted Score: Chelsea 1 Manchester United 2
Chelsea vs Manchester United Television
The match will be televised on NBC Sports Network (USA), and BBC One (UK).
Chelsea vs Manchester United Highlights