There’s no doubt that the blockbuster game in the Premiership arrives at Old Trafford this weekend, with Manchester United desperate to throw a spanner in the works and cause Chelsea’s title charge to come off the rails. Already, ten points separate the two clubs in the division and when you take this into account, United’s title bid, if it has ever existed, will almost certainly be over with anything other than a victory.
Some would suggest that Chelsea are playing United at exactly the wrong point, as over recent weeks it has become clear that Louis Van Gaal’s men are finally making the improvements that you would expect following their hefty investment. They’ve now won two of their last three games, although some would suggest that they were rather fortuitous after coming from behind to grab a late point against West Brom in their last match. Still, from a home perspective it looks as though the fear factor is finally returning to Old Trafford and after winning their last three games there, they are in perfect position to host the league leaders.
Chelsea’s start to the campaign has been the complete opposite, with the Blues oozing consistency in every competition they have been involved in. They still haven’t lost a match, with their only dropped points in the league occurring against Manchester City in mid-September. It already means that they are three points ahead of 2nd place, with the potential to double that advantage with the right result at the weekend. Additionally, considering the fact that their biggest challengers, Manchester City, are currently five points ahead of them, most people are suggesting that the title is already well on its way to Stamford Bridge. A 6-0 win in the Champions League during the week will have done everything to back up such claims and provides the perfect platform for this trip north this Sunday.
Manchester United have been handed a huge boost for the game, with Angel Di Maria poised to be involved after recovering from a thigh problem. Michael Carrick could also feature following a lengthy spell out on the sidelines, but suspension and injury will rule out Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao respectively. Chelsea on the other hand are sweating on the fitness of Diego Costa who continues to struggle with the hamstring injury that has hindered him this term. Loic Remy and Cesar Azpillicueta are also out, but there could be a place for Ramires after his time on the treatment table.
Manchester United certainly don’t boost the same reputation as they have had in previous seasons, but it finally looks as though they are starting to turn the corner. Chelsea will prove to be their biggest test yet but with the Blues supposedly set to be without Diego Costa, we think the home outfit could at least manage a 1-1 draw out of this one.