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Champions League preview: Chelsea v Manchester United

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 5 Apr 2011

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Chelsea will be seeking revenge for their defeat in the 2008 final when they meet Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday.

United claimed their third European crown by defeating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

It was the first and only final appearance to date for Chelsea, with Roman Abramovich’s quest to capture one of the biggest prizes in club football now stretching into a seventh year.

French striker Nicolas Anelka and Chelsea captain John Terry missed critical penalties in the shootout defeat.

They remain first-team regulars for the west London club and will be prominent among those seeking redemption over the two legs of the all-English quarter-final.

Chelsea are 11 points off the pace on the English Premier League table and look set to surrender their domestic crown.

They have already conceded the FA Cup after exiting the competition in the fourth round, leaving the Champions League as their last realistic chance of silverware.

United, by contrast, are still competing on three fronts, with the European showdown against Chelsea the next step to emulating their own treble-winning feats of 1999.

In what could prove a major advantage for the home side, Chelsea have a relatively clean bill of health coming into the match – only Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun and Brazilian centreback Alex are in doubt with fitness concerns.

There is no such good fortune for United.

Key man Rio Ferdinand is unlikely to feature, while fellow defenders Rafael, John O’Shea and Wes Brown are also out.

Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher is doubtful with a virus.

Goals from David Luiz and Frank Lampard helped Chelsea come from behind to win 2-1 in the previous meeting – in the Premier League – between the teams on March 1.

In their respective league fixtures on Saturday, United mounted a comeback from 2-0 with 30 minutes left to beat West Ham 4-2 away from home, while Chelsea could only draw 1-1 at Stoke.

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