Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Big Match- Chelsea coming to The Theater of Dreams

The clash of the titans

I'd bet my life on the fact that every Manchester United fan worth his/her salt would have woken up to a kind of nervous excitement. The big match is here and everybody seems geared up for it. The frenzy has been building up on online forums and Twitter. This is way bigger than any Champions League Final. This is the title decider.

Let the mind games begin.

"We’re not going to United under massive pressure, only the pressure we put ourselves under. The real pressure is on United because it was their title to throw away." - Frank Lampard

"We're not going to get the decisions in these big games, I'm afraid".- Sir Alex Ferguson

The title has now turned into a two horse race with Chelsea making a late season run and Arsenal citing their young team to drop out of contention for yet another year. Chelsea are now 3 points behind United with three games to go. Admittedly United have an easier run in compared to Chelsea who have to face Everton at Goodison Park in their last game. But United would have a slightly inferior goal difference if we lose this game and that could prove very costly. 

The League Table as it stands:
                                      Played   GD    Points      
1 Manchester United        35       +38     73
2 Chelsea                        35       +38     70
3 Arsenal                         35        +32     67

Any United fan would have jumped in joy at the start of the season if told that we would be in this position come April. A Champions League Final, top of the league. But now it feels like we've been needlessly throwing it away the past few weeks in the league. A draw away at Newcastle and a loss to Arsenal at the Emirates have brought Chelsea back from the brink.

Now the biggest strength for United could be The Old Trafford factor. We have won 16 games and drawn just one game at home this season. With the Stretford end roaring them on we could sew up the title with a win. 

The one constant source of worry for Fergie will be center midfield which has been a problem are for United throughout the season. Will he go with the Carrick-Giggs combo with Park helping out or will he put Anderson in the mix after his goalscoring performance against Schalke. Personally, I feel he should stick to his tried and tested Carrick Giggs midfield. It gives us a certain mobility in midfield which we have sorely lacked. Giggs can drive forward while Carrick sits behind him spraying balls out to the wing.

Coming to the wide areas now, we have Valencia and Nani probably competing for one spot on the right wing. Who should get the nod? Valencia is my bet. Nani got in ahead of Valencia against Arsenal but that didn't work out so well. Valencia steaming down his wing should give Cashley Cole more than a few nightmares. Also, Fergie needs to play both Chicharito and Rooney with Rooney dropping deep in the role of a playmaker. Chicharito could cause Luiz and Terry plenty of problems with his runs. This could leave Rooney with space to run into. In defence Fabio is most likely to get the nod at right back. Evra remains a doubt but might be pushed by Fergie to start due to the magnitude of the match. This could backfire if  it aggravates his thigh injury again during the match. Rio and Vidic have sewn up the center back positions.  

It is imperative that United play like erm United. In other words the team needs to go out with only attack on their minds. Everytime we have set up defend it hasn't worked out for us. Win the game, take the title. That should be the motto. Chelsea will look to Drogba to give them goals in the encounter and Rio and Vida need to be alert to snuff out any danger coming from Drogba. Also, Carrick needs to track Lampard's late runs into the box which would nullify their main threat from midfield. 

While watching the Everton Man City match yesterday, I must admit I was a bit jealous of the crowd support Everton were getting . Old Trafford hasnt exactly sent the decibel levels soaring recently. So this is a call out for the crowd to get behind the team and roar them on to victory.