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Can Chelsea take advantage of Manchester United’s struggles?

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has not written-off Manchester United in the Premier League title race

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has not written-off Manchester United in the Premier League title race

The big game at the top of the Premier League table this weekend takes place at Stamford Bridge, where title challengers Chelsea take on reigning champions Manchester United.

Chelsea will kick-off the match just two points off leaders Arsenal, while United are trailing the Gunners by a massive 11 points and are languishing in 7th place.

Difficult

It has been dangerous to write-off Manchester United in the last two decades, but that was when the team was managed by the ruthless Sir Alex Ferguson.

The veteran Scot would do everything in his power for his team to gain victory, including using mind games superbly prior to matches.

New United boss David Moyes is more of a straight shooter than then wily Ferguson and has not yet come to grips with the difficulty of managing such a big club as Manchester United. Moyes was at a big club in Everton, but they were not at the same level as United in the global scheme of things.

Moyes has looked like a rabbit caught in headlights at times in the United dugout. United defeated Swansea 2-0 last time out, but it was not a stellar display.

Injuries

What has made life even more difficult for Moyes and United is injuries to star strikers Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. Both stars will miss the visit to Stamford Bridge and both will be majorly missed.

England striker Danny Welbeck has been in good form in the pair’s absence, but I bet Moyes wishes he could call on his two main attacking threats for this clash.

Opportunity

Sunday could be the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to show that they mean business in the title. A big victory will surely rule out any chance of a United comeback in the race for the Premier League title this season.

Chelsea have not always been convincing in Jose Mourinho’s second spell, yet they are still right in the thick of the title race. The Blues look like they can still move up a gear or two and Sunday’s game would be a good time to do it.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho may not have yet written off United in the race for the title, but it seems he is in the minority. It would take something really special for them to retain their crown after such a turbulent season.

Form

Despite being seventh in the Premier League table Manchester United have won five out of their last six Premier League games, but in the meantime suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Swansea in the FA Cup and were also beaten 2-1 at Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.

Chelsea have also won five out of their last six in the league and their only blip came when they drew 0-0 at league leaders Arsenal. The Blues also won 2-0 at Championship Derby in the FA Cup. Mourinho’s side will be confident of victory heading into this clash.

Tight

The race for the title is very tight and Chelsea are the last of the top three teams to play this weekend, with both Arsenal and Manchester City having relatively comfortable home fixtures on Saturday.

Chelsea cannot afford to lose ground on the two teams above them, or they could be cut adrift in the title race. That is why it is vital that the Blues defeat the reigning champions on Sunday. Chelsea will be buoyed by the fact that United have failed to score past them in the last three meetings between the sides.

Anti-climax

As a neutral I just hope that this game produces a more entertaining contest than the reverse fixture at Old Trafford earlier this season. The game was a major anti-climax and finished goalless.

Some pundits claimed it was a good game. Call me a football cave man if you like but I actually like football where there is good play, chances on goal and actually some action. I fear all those were missing from the earlier encounter.

Betting news

Chelsea are heavy favourites to win this clash at odds of 8/11, while the visitors are odds of 9/2 and the draw is 14/5. The odds really do reflect the fact United is missing their two best strikers and the bookmakers seem to believe that the Blues will triumph.

Vital

If Chelsea are going to win the Premier League title then this game could be vital. I have to agree with the bookmakers on this one. I really cannot see past a Chelsea victory and I think that the Blues could finish-off any lingering title hopes that United still hold.

Who will come out on top between Chelsea and Manchester United?

Fri 17 January, 2014
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