Manchester United v Chelsea: Preview, Key stats and Prediction

Lampard Rooney

Manchester United fan Red Scot previews tonight's game at Old Trafford.

Manchester United v Chelsea.

Venue : Old Trafford, Manchester, Monday 26th of August, 2013, Kick-off - 20.00

Official : M. Atkinson; this season G1, Y2, R0.

Manchester United last saw Martin Atkinson as referee in the 2-2 draw in the FA Cup game against West Ham at Upton Park in early January.

Form Guide:

Manchester United; WDWLD

Chelsea; WWWWD

Top league Scorers this season:

Manchester United; Welbeck (2) Van Persie (2)

Chelsea; Ivanovic, Lampard, Oscar,1

Top Scorers last season:

Manchester United; Van Persie (26) Rooney (12) Hernandez (10) Kagawa (6) Evra (4)

Chelsea; Lampard (15) Mata (12) Hazard (9) Torres (8) Ivanovic (5)

Discipline last season:

Manchester United; Yellow 58 Red 2

Chelsea; Yellow 51 Red 3

Team News:

Manchester United; Injured, Rafael ( hamstring, Sep), Powell (leg, unknown), Fletcher (illness, unknown). Doubtful; Young (ankle), Hernandez (hamstring), Nani (groin).

Suspended N/A.

Chelsea; Injured David Luiz (hamstring, 31 Aug) Kalas (foot, Dec)

Suspended N/A

Likely starting teams:

Manchester United; De Gea, Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Cleverley, Carrick, Valencia, Welbeck, Kagawa, Van Persie.

Chelsea; Cech, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole, Lampard, Ramires, Oscar, Mata, Hazard, Torres.

Substitute's from:

Manchester United; Lindegaard, Buttner, Fabio, Smalling, Giggs, Anderson, M Keane, Amos, Zaha, Januzaj, Rooney, Evans.

Chelsea: Hilario, Schwarzer, Lukaku, Bertrand, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Mikel, Essien, Moses, Van Ginkel, De Bruyne, Ba, Schurrie, McEachran, Hutchinson.

Manchester United v Chelsea the last meeting, 5th May 2013.

United 0 Chelsea 1, Jones o.g. 87min

Shots on target; United 4 Chelsea 6

Shots off target; United 6 Chelsea 9

Possession United 51% Chelsea 49%

United have not failed to score in a Premier League game at Old Trafford since December 2009, in a dull match that Chelsea had to win in their pursuit to secure a Champions League spot.

United with the Barclays Premier League title wrapped up two games previously at home to Aston Villa were subdued, Sir Alex Ferguson noting “There was no edge to our game. It's been a long season for the players." Mata's 87th minute shot glanced of Phil Jones leg and twisted in past the stranded Anders Lindegaard's post to win all three points late on.

However Manchester United received their first and only league red card after Rafael da Silva was sent-off by Howard Webb for aiming a kick at Chelsea centre-back David Luiz.

The final flurry of excitement and controversy was the only high point in a dull-dreary end of season encounter.

The on-going Wayne Rooney saga of contrition, mind-games should not deflect from the vital business of winning this match at all costs.

Chelsea gaffer Mourinho has implied out of 'ethical' interests (his) that he will not make a third bid for Rooney prior to the heavy-weight contest between the two sides. With two offers for United's No 10 striker flatly refused and Rooney available for selection, will David Moyes give the disgruntled striker more game time to sharpen up the 27 year old’s touch and match fitness. Rooney appeared in the last 30 minutes of the excellent 4-1 victory at the Liberty Stadium, contributing with two assists for Van Persie and Danny Welbeck, as he endeavours to get up to speed, having missed all the majority of the pre-season tour with a tweaked hamstring, followed by a shoulder injury.

The reception Rooney receives from the Old Trafford faithful should be a barometer of the fans feeling towards him, although in South Wales the loyal away support warmly applauded his efforts to the United cause.

Jose Mourinho is rumoured to be preparing a third bid after the match on Monday, which will surely be rejected out-right, with the summer transfer window for the EPL, closing 7 days after the Monday evening game. Time is rapidly running out to complete any new additions to the squad, not to point out replace a like-for-like striker of the quality of Rooney just to have the current status quo that United currently have. To accept any offer with-out, planned guaranteed nailed on signings is detracting from strength of the squad and enhancing a rival.

Moyes on Mourinho he said " I really like Jose, he's had great success and I've not seen him for a long time so I'm looking forward to seeing him. I came to United for this sort of level of game, but I came to win trophies. If you are going to win trophies then you are going to have to beat teams like Chelsea and Manchester City because that's the way our league is. I'm looking forward to it. It's one of 38 league games we've got this season and it's a great first home game."

Match Facts:

Chelsea already have 6 points on the board, after wins against both Hull City (h) Aston Villa (a).

Frank Lampard while he was Chelsea's top goal scorer for the second season running, the midfielder only provided 1 assist his lowest return in a single campaign for the Blue's.

Petr Cech last season had a save %, of 76% the best of any regular goalkeeper in the Premier League.

Playing in the oppositions box pays-off, Chelsea were awarded 11 penalty kicks last term, only four teams in the Premier League history have been awarded more.

Chelsea leaked 39 goals last season and will stiffen up at the back with Jose Mourinho. In two seasons previously with the Portuguese boss his Chelsea side conceded 39.

Manchester United are undefeated in 25 of their previous 27 games in the PL.

Prediction: United 2 Chelsea 1

image: © gordonflood.com

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