Premier League games do not get bigger than Manchester United vs Chelsea. Facing a Manchester United team without Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout is going to be a strange experience, but it also provides Chelsea with a great opportunity to start the season with three victories. The swashbuckling style promised by Mourinho is yet to materialise, as the blues have been far more pragmatic in the two victories so far.
“The history of Sir Alex is there forever. Is that a problem for David? I don’t think so because I don’t think David wants to be compared with Sir Alex.”– Mourinho.
It is highly unlikely to change against United especially since this is an away match. Even coming away with a point at Old Trafford is a good result. Mourinho adopted a cautious approach in order to prevent Aston Villa’s counter-attacks, and a similar strategy could be on the cards for the United match as well.
United may have a new manager in the form of Moyes, but they have changed little in terms of tactics from the Ferguson days.
“It’s obviously a very important match, and the first of two in succession with Manchester United and Bayern Munich, which are clearly big for us.” – Oscar.
United are likely to be fresh since this is their first match since the opening weekend’s encounter against Swansea. The two matches that Chelsea have played in the last week could force Mourinho into making a couple of changes. Frank Lampard especially could be rested, but probably not for a game of this magnitude.
United have the players comfortable in a number of formations. They are expected to start with a 4-2-3-1, but that could soon evolve into 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 depending upon the need.
Last season’s match recap:
David Luiz still remains on the sidelines, but he is the only injury worry for Mourinho. Juan Mata just returned from injury and started against Aston Villa. However, it was not one of his best games for Chelsea, and he could be on the bench for this one. Torres was rested against Villa and he could be in line for a start. I would prefer to see Lukaku start, as he has been better than both Torres and Ba as a substitute.
For Moyes, Rafael Da Silva is back for selection after completing his suspension.
Moyes has said that Wayne Rooney could start the match despite Chelsea’s enormous interest in the striker. He played a huge role as a substitute in the opening match against Swansea, but he was least happy on the pitch. Will Moyes risk a player who wants to leave the club in such a big match?
Nani, Darren Fletcher, Ashley Young, and our nemesis Javier Hernandez are ruled out of this match.
Manchester United vs Chelsea possible formation:
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Carrick, Giggs; Valencia, Cleverley, Welbeck; Van Persie
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Kevin De Bruyne, Oscar, Hazard; Torres
Old Trafford, Manchester
26th Aug 2013
20:00 (London Time)
United Kingdom: Sky Sports 1/HD, BBC One
United States: Fox Soccer Channel, DirecTV, SiriusXM FC, NBC Sports Network
India: Star Sports
Japan: J Sports 4
Up the Blues. KTBFFH.