We’re inviting some of our Twitter friends to share some of their ‘Pre’ and ‘Post Match’ thoughts with us from now on. You can still enjoy my nonsensical, confusing punctuation buffets, below their personal views on the game…
We’re all about the trepidation at the minute. On the one hand, our defence couldn’t catch a one-legged dodo lately, but on the other, more confident, cooler hand, we’re knocking in goals with the kind of suave confidence normally reserved specifically for The Fonz (I believe he is still the definition of ‘cool’, and until I am told otherwise, I will not alter this thinking). Point is, going forward, we’ve looked good. There might be a temptation to put our most dazzling forward combination out on Sunday but Chelsea are, simply put, better than Braga, and if we gave them a 2-0 lead, or even a 3-0 lead, you’d expect them to hold onto it. Nope, that’s a lead that you just don’t let slip, no matter what state you’re in. What kind of side throws away a three goal lead, eh? Madness.
Di Matteo has carried on the great work he started last season and has a solid, well-drilled and organised side sitting four points clear at the top of the table. Chelsea never make things easy when United visit, and there won’t be any radical change to this at the weekend. Cahill and Luiz can be good enough to make Terry’s absence unnoticeable; whether they will be is a different story. Juan Mata has been superb so far, and even with Torres sporadically misfiring and Sturridge looking short of being a decent alternative, they look strong, which hasn’t been the case for a while.
If this were at home, then the same front three for the Braga game should start again. Playing that diamond formation at Chelsea at Stamford Bridge could be a recipe for disaster called Home Win Fruitcake, or it could work tremendously well depending on how much of the ball we can snag near the opposing penalty area. Erring on the side of caution, I’d go back to something approaching a 4-4-2 considering that we’re dealing with a team capable of scoring more goals than any we’ve faced so far this season. This is the sort of game where Hernandez could be invaluable to bring on late if the match is finely poised, because he’s so good at exploiting space. He was superb against Braga but I wouldn’t start him ahead of Rooney or van Persie given their records against Chelsea. With creaky defences and quality forwards, I’m expecting something between phenomenal or a slugfest. I will settle for a phenomenal slugfest. Can’t wait.
Prediciton: A somewhat more conventional formation, one goal where Niall Quinn (if he’s co-commentating) laments “ooh, you’ve just got to do better there” and some sort of Terry chant that will almost definitely upset the entirety of Stamford Bridge. Hopefully, 1-2. Pessimistically, 2-1. Pacifistically, 0-0.
I’ve done a lot more talking on these ‘pre’ and ‘post’ match thingy-me-bobs than I planned to this season and so with nothing more to add, – to the more serious , or sillier general and personal issues I have with the team and squad – I’m just going to sit back and enjoy what will be the biggest and potentially most amazing game of the season so far.
After this we can assess where we really are.
p.s Message to Iwan: Anymore pessimism and you’re toast
Goals: Rooney, RVP.