Unfortunately United return to action this weekend. Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Chelsea - Etihad Stadium

We play a Chelsea side who can claim to be the inform team in the country at the moment. Coming 4 days before the Spurs home game, this match may be as much about getting through the game without injuries or suspensions than looking for any positives from the performance.

After last Saturday’s capitulation at the hands of a team still deep in relegation trouble, the patched up United side travel to West London looking to record a remarkable fifth successive away win in London and a 7th away win of the season.  Chelsea are on a high after their Monday night master class at Man City when Mourinho triumphed over Pelegrinni and won at the Etihad whilst stopping Man City scoring for the first time since 2010 in a home game.  But Chelsea didn’t have the Krul to Shola combination to deal with!

Chelsea find themselves 2 points off Arsenal on top and closing in on the league title.  They have 6 fixtures in February including a game against Man City and Galatasary in the cups.  Hopefully they’ll rest a few for this fixture with bigger, more difficult games coming up.

We find ourselves with a winnable run of games coming up after this game.  I’d say Spurs and Everton at home and games against Villa, Fulham and Palace represent a good opportunity to make some ground up on those above us, especially with Everton and Spurs directly above us faltering slightly.  If Loic Remy gets injured at any point we are ruined though.

Therefore this game represents an opportunity to ‘show some pride’ as the pundits say.  I’d say it’s an opportunity to show that we have good players and a good manager who are in danger of letting a good season slide.  We’d played less long balls than any other teams (even Arsenal and Swansea) before the weekend and at times we’ve played the best football I’ve seen in years.  We’ve taken the game to the ‘big boys’ and I’ve enjoyed the season.  Two games against lower league opposition won’t ruin that for me.  However the baffling tactics and terrible subs we saw last weekend must stop.  If we lose the game, it’ll be disappointing but no tears will be shed.  Get back to a three man midfield and play 4 3 3 and have a go at them.  Santon really missed Goufrann while he was out and he’s reported to be back this weekend.  Hopefully Cisse will pay instead of Shola but I’m not holding my breath.  You’ll never find me screaming abuse at Shola, I like him and have enjoyed his association with the club – but he should not be playing at this level anymore.

The myth of Vernon Anita has hopefully been dispelled after Saturday’s shambles – canny player away from home in a three man central midfield area but not good enough to play as a midfield two.  How Steven Taylor gets a game ahead of Yanga is beyond me.  He rattles the whole back 4.  Tim Krul plays worse with Taylor in front of him.  People craic on about Williamson being mint but why wasn’t he screaming at Taylor last week asking him to stop changing his mind when the ball was going up to Altidore.  Sprinting 5 yards forwards and then just stopping isn’t defending and no one had a clue what he was doing.

Let’s get HBA back on the right wing.  He’s only been any good for us when playing there and despite him not exactly being mr.popular at the moment, Chelsea will fear him.

If Cisse’s not fit I’d play Goufrann up front.  I’d keep Shola away from the team full stop as he just encourages us to play long balls.

Torres isn’t fir for Chelsea, but it doesn’t really matter.  Expect one time want away toon starlet Damba Ba to score.  It’s expected that Mohammed Salah will make his debut.

I’d like to see us line up with:

Krul; Debuchy; Williamosn; Yanga; Santon; HBA (RW); Sissoko, Tiote, Anita, Goufrann (LW); Cisse:

Subs: Elliot; Haidara; Armstrong; Marveaux; Obertan: De Jong: S Taylor

Reasons to be cheerful: 

  • We’ve been Chelsea already this season and they were also on an incredible 8 game winning streak when this happened:
  • Joe Kinnear has gone.
  • We aren’t Leeds United.
  • A rank West Ham side got a point from the Bridge last time out.

Reasons to be fearful:

  • Howard ‘I’m not giving that’ Webb is referee.  He didn’t book Shelvey for the same thing Remy is now banned for plus turned doesn two blatant pens v Swansea for us, the last time he was ref.
  • When we beat Chelsea Loic Remy, Yohan Cabaye and Yanga Mbiwa were magnificent.  None are starting this game (probably).
  • Chelsea have won 10 and drawn 2 in their Premier League home games this season.
  • If Arsenal fail to win at Liverpool then Chelsea will go top with a win.
  • Edin Hazard and several other Chelsea players cost more than United’s likely starting line-up.
  • When West Ham got their point at the Bridge they couldn’t have felt upset with a 7 nil defeat.  Chelsea are unlikely to get that unlucky again.


Chelsea 4 NUFC 0 and the misery to continue.