Soccer

Premier League Analysis: Chelsea vs. Manchester United

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Schedule

  • Manchester United – vs. Chelsea, at Blackburn, vs. Blackpool
  • Chelsea – at Manchester United, vs. Newcastle, at Everton

United, arguably, has the easier schedule. They will face Chelsea at home where they haven’t lost in 17 Premier League matches this season, and 16 of those are wins. Their final two games could be tricky because both Blackburn and Blackpool are fighting to stay above the relegation zone.  Blackburn is a tough home squad, but have nowhere near the tools needed to stay with United, as seen earlier in the season when the Red Devils beat the Rovers 7-1. Blackpool managed two goals in a 2-3 defeat at home back in January, but again, this will be the last game of the season and United will be licking their chops to win the EPL and take out Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Final six days later.

Chelsea will have to go on the road twice in their final three games. Their road record is less than exciting at seven wins, five draws and five losses. Besides United, they also have to travel to Everton who are playing much better lately and sit at seventh in the table. The Blues will face a struggling Newcastle at home and should be an easy victory for them. Obviously, with the two road matches, the odds are against Chelsea to take the cake.

Advantage: Manchester United 

Form

United have taken 13 points of a possible 18, but only four from a possible nine in their last three matches. They don’t lose at home; it’s as simple as that. And although they beat Blackburn earlier in the season 7-1, it won’t be an easy task on the road considering Man United only has five road wins this year. Over their past five road matches, they have one win, one draw and three losses.

The Blues are on fire, producing 16 points in their last six matches including five straight wins. They have four wins and two draws in their last six games away from Stamford Bridge. Considering Chelsea only has to worry about the Premier League, their great form of late will surely continue.

Advantage: Chelsea

Lineup

United’s approach on Wednesday in Champions League play was pretty obvious. They sat three of their top four defenders (Evra came in at 60th minute) along with Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs. It’s safe to say Sir Alex Ferguson rested these players for the upcoming Sunday match. Nani and Antonio Valencia both started, but they are both young and athletic; I think they’ll be fine.

While Chelsea doesn’t have to deal with out of league play like United, Carlo Ancelotti is still having trouble finding out who to start. So much that he had to ask his team last week what he should do with Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba up front. That’s usually not a good sign and it wasn’t when they played Tottenham. Torres lasted 61 minutes as Chelsea survived on a goalkeeper mistake and a questionable late-minute winner from Salomon Kalou. Ancelotti hasn’t really figured out what to do with Drogba and Torres yet and that will definitely come into play for the rest of the campaign.

Advantage: Manchester United

Intangibles

You can throw goal differential out the window since the teams are currently tied at +38. A main thing I haven’t even mentioned yet is that Manchester United is still three points ahead of Chelsea. If Chelsea cannot win AT Old Trafford, it’s basically done for them. If the Blues lose, they will be down six points, and if they draw, nothing will change. If they do draw, you can’t expect United to lose one of their last two games (which they have to do if Chelsea can win) against bottom-level clubs. If Chelsea wins, the clubs will be tied with an advantage going to Chelsea. Currently, United sit as +125 favorites in the battle this weekend.

Advantage: Manchester United

It’s hard not to go with the favorite Manchester United to win the English Premier League. I mean, they are Manchester United. It’s going to take a lot from Chelsea to overcome their mid-season troubles. I didn’t even have to mention United recently beat Chelsea in two straight Champions League matches either.

I hate to say it, but chalk it up for Manchester United.

 

 

 
Adam Zdroik co-hosts RotoRadio: Soccer Edition on Sunday nights, which covers all things Fantasy in the English Premier League and also hosts FootiePhantomRadio which encompasses soccer anywhere in the World. He also provides analysis for other sports such as Football, Basketball and Baseball. You man email Adam directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ RotoZdroik