After a disappointing result against West Brom on Monday night, Manchester United now take on the league leaders Chelsea. This is the biggest match of United’s season so far although we seem to saying that every week in United’s case. It is imperative that United don’t lose this match if they have any hope of staying within touching distance of Chelsea near the top of the table. Now is this match Van Gaal vs. Mourinho? Or Manchester United vs. Chelsea? All the media seem to see it as Van Gaal vs. Mourinho. Okay Mourinho worked under Van Gaal at Barcelona and he most probably learnt a lot working under Van Gaal. Mourinho will tell himself though that he is his own man and he isn’t a clone of Van Gaal.
Mourinho was Van Gaal assistant at Barcelona from 1997 to 2000 and they have only ever met once before in a competitive fixture. This was in the 2010 Champions League Final when Mourinho’s Inter Milan beat Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich 2-0. So on that occasion the pupil beat the teacher as the media would say but I’m sure neither man saw it this way because I’m sure they both respect each other as equals.
Any Manchester United vs. Chelsea match is big enough, it doesn’t have to be billed as the Van Gaal vs. Mourinho show. There are also so many clashes out on the pitch to look forward to. We’ve got Di Maria vs. Fabregas, two players that have come from two rival clubs in Spain, in Barcelona and Real Madrid to come to England to again come up against each other in one of the biggest matches in any of the European Leagues. Both players have had a massive impact so far at their new clubs and both clubs will hope they can have a major impact on this game.
Another duel in this encounter could be Diego Costa vs. Falcao. Both players have made the moves to their respected clubs this summer, Costa has had a bigger impact than Falcao so far but I feel there are signs that Falcao is starting to get used to the Premier League after missing the 2nd half of last season with a knee injury. Now I know Mourinho has said that Costa has little chance of playing, now for some reason just don’t believe him when he says. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him walking out of the Old Trafford tunnel in the starting 11 on Sunday. I believe Mourinho is being slightly economical with truth when it comes to Costa featuring in this match. Think we all know that he wouldn’t be the first manager to state a player isn’t available or has little chance of playing in a match, for them to play in said match.
Over the last ten years Manchester United have played Chelsea in some of the biggest matches not only in this country but also on the European stage. They have gone head to head in battles for numerous league titles, played Fa Cup finals, a Champions League final, a Champions League Semi-Final. In the last five Premier League meetings Chelsea just edge with their two wins to United’s one with their also being two draws. United last beat Chelsea in the league on 28th October 2012. A game which United won 3-2 and Chelsea had two players sent off with Ivanovic and Torres being sent off.
Chelsea’s recent form has been very good with them achieving 5 wins out of 6, in fact for their last defeat you have to go back to April of this year, when they lost 2-1 to Sunderland which pretty much ended their hopes of winning the Premier League title last season. Whereas Manchester United’s recent form has seen them winning only 3 out of 6, drawing 2 and losing 1. Now I think any United fan would have looked at the last 6 fixtures and expected them to have won all 6.
So I think this will be one that even the neutral is looking forward to as well the Manchester United and Chelsea supporters. I myself will be there at Old Trafford for the game. In all honesty I feel anything we can get from this game at the moment is a bonus and I hope it’s a fantastic atmosphere inside the Theatre Of Dreams and the Manchester United fans can be the 12th man for the team.