Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Why Chelsea's current form should give Fergie cause for a rethink...

United head into their crucial final league game of the season, knowing that nothing less than a victory will do with Chelsea breathing down our necks at the top of the table. This coming Sunday United face an improving Wigan team while Chelsea face Bolton - we cannot expect any favours off the Trotters.

The worry is that the Reds away form has been very poor over the last few weeks. Many supporters will rightly believe that the club should be champions already, but as we saw at the Riverside and at Ewood Park the Champions were unable to press home their advantage in front of goal when it mattered - in the end we were grateful for what turned out to be a crucial point in each of those nerve racking matches.

But now is not the time to ask how did it come to this - we are where we are, Fergie has to focus on the job at hand. Beat Wigan and we will be champions again - no one will care about those dropped points if we the job properly.

On rivals Chelsea, I'm fairly certain that thousands of Reds will have been watching them go on to beat Newcastle 2-0 on Sunday. It was at times painful to watch with St Michael Owen missing two relatively easy chances.

Chelsea could easily have been 2-1 down at the break, but when Viduka went off at half-time, I like many others feared the worst for the Magpies.

Those fears were fully justified, because pretty much right from the restart it looked like there was only ever going to be one winner - it wasn't those in black and white.

The concern for Fergie (or least it should be) is that the Blues midfield looks to be coming back to its very best, with Ballack, Essien and Lampard all looking razor sharp. Chelsea were so good in fact that they could afford for Drogba to have a bad day by his own standards.

Against Barcelona recently, the Reds midfield offered little resistance and here again Fergie must take action to ensure that the team that starts the Moscow Champions League final does not get overrun by allowing Chelsea too much of the ball in midfield. Answers on a postcard on how to go about that task...but I suspect Fergie will get it all wrong, given how many times he has failed against this current Chelsea squad.

My own view is that Reds midfield are not performing their defensive duties well enough away from home. This coupled with giving the ball away cheaply has been led to United losing possession too often - it stood out like tits on a bull against Barca.

Before that massive game we face Wigan and here again, it remains to be seen what team the Scot will start with, I suspect that there will be no Wayne Rooney – this is totally down to Fergie’s crazy gamble when playing the injured striker against Chelsea.

Whatever team the manager selects, it should in theory be good enough to win at the weekend – if only theories counted for anything.

What we know is this, to a man, the Wigan players will put in a lung-busting display to stop us – it happened at ‘Boro and at Blackburn – if our players do not match theirs for effort it could be a very difficult day.

Regarding other news...
On Vladimir Putin's decision to ease Russia's rules on visas for 72 hours, yes, this is very good news, but given that the final venue was decided ages ago, the whole business has been a total UEFA fiasco, it should have been sorted out much earlier. The match should never have been played in Russia is my own view.


  1. The advantage I feel the Chelsea midfield have is that all of them have played lesser number of games, and seems to have limitless energy in them. I believe United will defeat Wigan at the JJB. And in the UCL final, one thing that United have to their advantage is that Fergie has gone through all this once and has tremendous experience.

  2. United have Wigan to prepare their midfield, and furthermore, the occasion of the final will lift any team, especcially United to put in a world-class performance. Ferguson surely noted those weaknesses apparent in the midfield and is probably talking to this players there about those problems, since those weaknesses were rather blatant and not subtle at all.

    It looks to me he would as much try to lift United's performance as much as he would try to nullify Chelsea's midfield. However, given how open their recent outing was, it seems unlikely it turn into a conventional and cagey UCL final (its a poor statement given the excitement we have had with Liverpool and Milan).

    All in all, two games in prospect to make two trophies. United can and will do it.


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