Chelsea welcome Manchester United to Stamford Bridge this Sunday (watch live 11:00am ET on NBCSN and Live Extra) where a win could see the Blues leapfrog Arsenal and Manchester City into first place.
Jose Mourinho’s side have been in fine-form of late, winning their last five matches and going unbeaten in their last six league clashes. December saw the Blues hit a few bumps in the road with losses to Stoke City in the league and Sunderland in the League Cup, but since then Chelsea has showed the poise and resilience of a club with its eye on a title.
The exciting 0-0 draw with Arsenal on December 23rd was followed by wins against Swansea City, Liverpool and Southampton (1-0, 2-1, 3-0, respectively) in the league, a 2-0 drilling of Derby County in the FA Cup and last weekend’s 2-0 win over Hull.
United enter the match still trying to recover from losing three straight matches to open up 2014. After dropping 2-1 games to Spurs on New Years Day and Swansea City four days later, United proceeded to lose their third successive match at the hands of Sunderland in the League Cup, the worst losing string since 2001.
David Moyes righted the ship last weekend with a comprehensive 2-0 win against Swansea City but with news that Wayne Rooney could be out an additional three weeks with a groin injury, Sunday’s contest could prove quite difficult to make it two straight. Joining Rooney on the sideline is Robin van Persie, the long-time absentee with a thigh injury.
Patrice Evra (knee), Ashley Young (shoulder), Nani (hamtstring) and Marouane Fellaini (wrist) are also ruled out for Sunday’s contest, with Jonny Evans (back), Rio Ferdinand (knee) and Phil Jones (knee) all late fitness tests.
Chelsea’s squad is in a much healthier state with Branislav Ivanovic (knee) out while Frank Lampard (thigh) will undergo a late fitness test.
The last time these two sides played was a bore 0-0 draw at Manchester United but this time we can expect a much different game. Have a watch of the video above as Joe Prince-Wright and I discuss other intricacies of the match.
What They’re Saying
Manchester United manager David Moyes: “I have no fears whatsoever with the players I have got. I wouldn’t really care who plays in my team because I believe in them all. I believe in what this club stands for and they will go and take whatever challenge … and throw it forward.”
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho: “My feeling, which is based on years of communicating with Sir Alex and some inside information, is Man United are not happy, but they are calm. They trust David. David trusts them. I don’t think David is under pressure.”
No Rooney, RVP or Evra? Chelsea will win this match, and it could be punishing.