Going off recent results between United and Chelsea there's no doubting that the London club hold the upper hand, because they've won many more games - so they should be the bookies favourites to win the final, but they wont be, because as ever, the punters will be lumping on United.
But, going off results between two clubs over the last few seasons, the odds are stacked against the Champions, to suggest otherwise would be ludicrous, which is why this Red would have much preferred it if we'd been tasked with facing Liverpool, who we've had no problem beating. For the record Chelsea have one six out of the last 12 meetings, United have won just two - excluding the Community Shield which the Reds won on penalties.
So if United are going to win the big one, how are we going to achieve that result? That is a question that many Reds will be asking themselves leading up to the final on May 21st (my wife's birthday)...
Ferguson knows how difficult the task ahead of him will be, which is no doubt why he was at the Chelsea vs Liverpool semi-final at Stamford Bridge last night. The Scot was on a mission looking for any signs of weakness in the Chelsea armour, anything that his team might exploit.
The United manager probably knows more about Chelsea than Avram Grant, but it wont make the task any easier as they are always formidable opponents. The Israeli coach has taken a lot of stick, but he's managed to do something that Mourinho did not do, that is get the team that Jose built to the Champions League final - his boss will be very pleased especially with it being played in Moscow.
The "special one" has gone, but this Chelsea current team is still very much of Mourinho's making, it has been built on solid foundations, wherever you look there's power. In midfield they have Essien - the Blues player of the year, then there's Ballack, who is now coming back to his Teutonic best and to compliment them, there is Frank Lampard who makes the Chelsea engine room tick - even the most die-hard United fans will have had some sympathy for the England midfielder last night given the circumstances.
Up front Chelsea have the most destructive centre forward in Europe, Didier Drogba. On Saturday against United, the Ivorian took out Nemanja Vidic with his knee, in doing so knocking out a few teeth - the Serb left the field on a stretcher suffering with concussion - he has yet to recover.
Against Liverpool last night, Drogba dispatched his marker Skrtel into the advertising hoardings early doors, then on 22 minutes Skrtel had to go off following another duel with the Ivorian. Aren't these "accidents" happening too often?
No matter, if United are going to win the Champions League then they will have to overcome everything that Chelsea will throw at them. The management might have changed at Stamford Bridge but the perception of Chelsea remains the same, which is that they are rarely pleasing on the eye, but they were never meant to be, and those who expect them to be are somewhat missing the point. As far as Jose Mourinho, the architect of total pragmatic football is concerned, it is a results business, winning is all that matters .
So how can United beat Chelsea in the final? For starters, it is guaranteed to be another gritty encounter, at one time we had some decent games whenever these two teams met each other, that was before the arrival of the self styled messiah Mourinho, since then it's been a war of attrition. It is the same for every team that faces Chelsea and United are no different.
If United are going to win "the big one" again , then they will have to match Chelsea with as much power and pace as we can muster. Ferguson has stated that Scholes will start in the engine room - this is largely for sentimental, rather than strictly football reasons, as the "Ginger Prince" missed out on the '99 final. On this issue Fergie's heart is clearly ruling his head - which cannot be a good thing with so much at stake.
Though the Scholes goal secured our passage to the final, it was only his second of the season and too often of late he has been a passenger in midfield, this is partly why Barcelona's stars found it so easy to walk through the United midfield in both legs of the semi-final. We had, to coin a phrase, "no legs" added to which we kept on giving the ball away.
Many United fans do not 4-3-3, the majority preference has always been 4-4-2, but against Chelsea, Fergie knows he has to match like-for-like and so it's likely that it will be a 4-3-3 formation.
Part of the key to winning any game lies in the battle for midfield, who controls the centre ground usually goes on to win the game. United have three players who can win the midfield battle; Hargreaves, who was awesome against Roma at Old Trafford when attacking from all over the midfield like Bryan Robson and he can defend too.
Then there's Anderson, who has the legs, skill and power to match anything that Chelsea muster and finally Carrick who can string it together.
Rooney and Ronaldo pick themselves, the question is who else should start? There is an argument for the industry of Park, but like Nani he has the infuriating habit of gifting the ball back to the opposition, time and time again.
Giggs, like Scholes has been going backwards in the latter half of the season, he too has been giving the ball away cheaply when selected.
It would seem then that there's only one other obvious candidate, which is Tevez, who was United's best attacking player against Barcelona this week, his energy was awesome and he could be given license to drift out wide left as he did so successfully while at West Ham.
United cannot go lumping the ball onto the heads of Terry and Carvalho, they need to get the Blues big men turning inside the Chelsea box, to achieve that result Ronaldo will have to skin Cole - which hasn't really happened to date. Then we need bodies flooding into their penalty area - as much as we love him, Scholesy, no longer does this like he used to, which is why I wouldn't select him to start.
At the other end. We cannot allow Drogba to dictate the play as he did at Stamford Bridge when the two sides met on Saturday, we need one in front and one behind whenever the ball is played to him. Stop Drogba and you will stop Chelsea - it's easier said than done, that along with not constantly gifting the ball back to the opposition is key as well as attacking in numbers at the right time.
Russia is noted for its battles in a historical context, and I for one fully expect a full blown conflict on the pitch and I'm hoping that the Reds go on to overcome the Blues in Moscow. United can win the final of that I'm certain, but it will only happen if we go out with the right game plan, team and tactics.