One of the biggest games of the season, especially if you’re a Manchester United fan, takes place on Saturday evening, with Louis van Gaal’s side travelling to London to take on Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge. Win, aand Manchester United take another step closer to second place and put a little bit of pressure on Chelsea at the top. Lose, and it becomes increasingly likely that a third place finish is on the cards, maybe even fourth should Manchester City perform better over the last 6 games.
It’s a huge game for Chelsea too. Not only can Jose Mourinho snatch a win over his former mentor, but getting a victory will take them one step closer to that League title. In fact, considering their run in over the next 6 games, this one is the most crucial. Win and there’s almost no team that can catch them. While the league would not be over mathematically, realistically the dream of any team to catch them would be practically over.
It won’t be an easy game for either team. Jose Mourinho’s men have looked a shadow of their former selves in recent weeks, picking up scrappy wins in the dying minutes of games. One would say that’s a trait of champions, the ability to pick up wins even when playing poorly, and no team would know that more than Manchester United.
Van Gaal’s troops on the other hand are coming off 6 straight wins, including standout triumphs against Spurs, Liverpool and the most recent mauling of Manchester City in last week’s derby. They are playing the best football they have all season, in fact it’s the best football they’ve played since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. The stage is set for a cracker of a game, and it’s sure to be a classic.
The key aspect for van Gaal’s team is to keep up the momentum of previous weeks. They started slow against City but slowly grew into the game, but they’ll need to be much quicker out the gates on Saturday. Getting Marouane Fellaini involved in the midfield battles will be key, though it’s certain that a team managed by someone like Jose Mourinho will not allow them to have as much leeway in that regard.
Mourinho will need to shutdown that left side midfield three of Fellaini, Blind and Young in order to ensure they aren’t taken apart like City were. They’ll also need to keep an eye on Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata who are all in excellent form too.
They say form is temporary but class is eternal. Manchester United need to show that this isn’t just a spell of good form, while Chelsea need to prove that they have the class a team needs to win the Premier League.
Bring on Saturday Night Football.