PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: MANCHESTER UNITED V CHELSEA - PART ONE
Chelsea hit the road for the first time this season, and providing some signposts towards Monday evening's fixture are club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton…
Former full-back Gary Neville, now an insightful Sky Sports analyst, recently warned David Moyes and the current team not to make the mistakes his Man United did in 2004 and 2005, allowing Chelsea to build an early lead in the title race.
'We left ourselves too much to do,' Neville recalled, 'and when we got into our stride the problem was we were too far behind to mount a challenge.' The Blues' 100 per cent start has already opened up a gap at the top, and a win in Manchester would place the Londoners six clear of one of our rivals after a handful of games.
Any psychological advantage created by the extra game and points cushion, though, would be quashed should Man United prevail on Monday evening. Chelsea-Villa had originally been scheduled for next weekend but instead the Blues face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup in Prague on Friday.
As a result all the other Premier League sides will have caught up on matches in a week's time - and United are obviously not the only title contenders.
Historically Chelsea have a fine record at Old Trafford, sometimes making a mockery of the form books to earn a win: beating the European Champions in 1968, for instance, in 1977 through Bill Garner, or with Gavin Peacock's humbling of the Double winners in 1994 (pictured below). Lest we forget, we made our FA Cup final bow there in 1915 and Leeds were overcome in a replay 55 years later.
In the Premier League era Chelsea have earned six wins from 21 visits to the 'Theatre of Dreams' and drawn seven times - it has been Man United's most troublesome home fixture of the season.
The record points total that Sir Alex Ferguson used as a motivational target for his side last season was established by Jose Mourinho's side in the 3-1 comeback victory at United's home in May 2005. The Blues were also undefeated in four of our five meetings in all competitions during 2012/13.
Of course it has been all change at Old Trafford since the summer. Ferguson was a colossus in football and his departure will be felt like a small nation losing a lifelong leader, his lieutenants and diplomatic links all at the same time.
It will seem strange not to see the agile old gent shoving his kit man out of the way en route pitchside to castigate a referee. That is one of the last workplace images Mourinho will retain of his friend and adversary, from when Real Madrid won at Old Trafford last March.
That is if the Portuguese witnessed it: while United's grandee was venting spleen at officials about Nani's red card Mourinho was calmly scheming, warming up Luka Modric and reorganising his men to take instant advantage of the 10-man hosts. Within minutes Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo had overturned the 0-1 deficit and Real were in the quarter-finals.
Even the kit man, Albert Morgan, has departed now. New broom David Moyes once compared jousting with Mourinho's substitutions to playing chess with someone thinking several moves ahead: he failed to put the Portuguese in a tactical checkmate in any of their 10 tight encounters.
A fine example was in November 2004 when Moyes's Toffees were beaten 1-0 at the Bridge to send Chelsea top of the table for the first time. The Blues piled on the pressure with Duff and Robben raiding down the flanks, but Everton stood resolute.
From around the hour mark Mourinho made a series of changes - Kezman for Tiago, Geremi for Gudjohnsen and Huth for Duff - that were as far from like-for-like as possible and bore false witness to the manager's real intentions. Robben, who had switched wings, scored the only goal of the game after a lob from Gudjohnsen, who had been asked to drop deep. It was a masterclass that even Moyes must have appreciated.
The eyes and lenses of the media will also be on Wayne Rooney at this match. The Liverpudlian has faced Chelsea more than any other opposition over his career and scored nine goals against the Blues, although the first took five-and-a-half years to arrive.
In February last year he hit two in a 3-3 draw, though that was as a striker in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Since then he has been used more as a wide or central midfielder than a forward.
The Champions League group stage draw will take place on Thursday 29 August at 4.45pm with Chelsea in Pot 1, ranked third in the 2013 seeding below Bayern Munich and Barcelona. United are rated fifth in Europe behind Real Madrid. In Thursday's draw no club can be grouped with another from the same Pot or country, so Chelsea cannot be drawn with Pot 3's Man City, for instance.
Pot 1: Bayern, Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal*, Porto, Benfica.
Pot 2: Atletico Madrid, Olympique Lyons*, Shakhtar Donetsk, AC Milan*, Schalke, Olympique Marseille, CSKA Moscow, Paris Saint-Germain.
Pot 3: Juventus, Zenit St. Petersburg*, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, Basel*, Olympiacos, Galatasaray.
Pot 4: Bayer Leverkusen, FC Copenhagen, Napoli, Anderlecht, Celtic*, Steaua Bucharest*, Viktoria Plzen*, Dinamo Zagreb*.
* Pending qualification from play-off round.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Fulham v Arsenal 12.45pm - BT Sport
Everton v West Brom 3pm
Hull v Norwich 3pm
Newcastle v West Ham 3pm
Southampton v Sunderland 3pm
Stoke v Crystal Palace 3pm
Aston Villa v Liverpool 5.30pm - Sky Sports
Cardiff v Manchester City 4pm - Sky Sports
Tottenham v Swansea 4pm
Chelsea are unbeaten in the Barclays Premier League in 10 games winning 26 points from the last 30.
We have won three and drawn one of our last four away top-flight league games.
|Last six results|
|Aug 1||Inter Milan (Indianapolis)||W 2-0|
|Aug 4||AC Milan (New Jersey)||W 2-0|
|Aug 7||Real Madrid (Miami)||L 1-3|
|Aug 10||Roma (Washington DC)||W 2-1|
|Aug 18||Hull City (h)||W 2-0|
|Aug 21||Aston Villa (h)||W 2-1|
Premier League scorers (4)
Ivanovic 1, Lampard 1, Oscar 1, own goal 1
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 2
An away defeat: 4
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Fri 30 Aug||Bayern Munich (UEFA Super Cup) Prague||7.45pm|
|Sat 14 Sep||Everton away||5.30pm|
|17/18 Sep||Champions League matchday one||TBC|
To meet the criteria for a clean sheet, a player has to play at least part of a game in which the club has not conceded a goal throughout. For example, after our 1-0 win at Reading in October 2006 Petr Cech, Carlo Cudicini and John Terry all qualified for one.
Congratulations to Cesar Azpilicueta who celebrates his 24th birthday on Wednesday (28 August).
MAN UTD STATS
Formed 1878 (as Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway FC)
20 League championships, last in 2013
11 FA Cups, last in 2004
4 League Cups, last in 2010
20 FA Charity/Community Shields (incl 4 shared), last in 2013
3 European Cups, last in 2008
1 European Cup Winners' Cup in 1991
1 UEFA Super Cup in 1991
1 Intercontinental Cup in 1999
1 FIFA Club World Cup in 2008
Premier League - Champions
Champions League - Last 16
FA Cup - quarter-final (eliminated by Chelsea)
Capital One Cup fourth round (eliminated by Chelsea)
It is 16 months since Man Utd drew a league game at Old Trafford - the 4-4 draw to Everton in April 2012.
They haven't played out a goalless draw for 82 Premier League matches.
Man United have won 51 of their last 59 home Premier League matches, drawing three and losing five, two of which were to Chelsea.
Robin van Persie scored 30 per cent of United's league goals last term.
Man United gained 29 points from losing positions last season, the best record in the Premier League and the best in the top flight since Newcastle in 2001/02 (34).
Last season's Premier League stats
Most starts: Robin van Persie 35, Michael Carrick 34, Patrice Evra 34
Most goals: Robin van Persie 26, Wayne Rooney 12, Javier Hernandez 10
Manager David Moyes
Days in charge: 99
|Red Devils' last 10 year league history|
|Last six results|
|Jul 26||Cerezo Osaka (a)||D 2-2|
|Jul 29||Kitchee (a)||W 5-2|
|Aug 6||AIK (a)||D 1-1|
|Aug 9||Sevilla (h)||L 1-3|
|Aug 11||Wigan (Community Shield, Wembley)||W 2-0|
|Aug 17||Swansea (a)||W 4-1|
Premier League scorers (4)
Van Persie 2, Welbeck 2
OPENING DAY PREMIER LEAGUE LINE UP
Swansea City 1 - 4 Manchester United
Saturday 17 August 2013, Attendance: 20,733
Manchester United (4-4-1-1): De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic (c), Evra; Valencia, Cleverley, Carrick, Giggs; Welbeck; Van Persie.
Substitutes Rooney for Giggs (61), Anderson for Van Persie (86)
Scorers Van Persie (34, 72), Welbeck (36, 90+2)
Booked Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley
League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 20
A home defeat: 1
Ins Andre Schurrle (Bayer Leverkusen, undisclosed), Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse Arnhem, undisclosed), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham, free), Cristian Cuevas (O'Higgins, undisclosed), Stipe Perica (NK Zadar, undisclosed)
Outs Amin Affane (released, now Energie Cottbus), Yossi Benayoun (released), Aziz Deen-Conteh (released), Paulo Ferreira (released), Florent Malouda (released, now Trabzonspor), Archange Nkumu (released), Ross Turnbull (released, now Doncaster), Jeffrey Bruma (PSV, undisclosed), George Saville (Brentford, loan), Thibaut Courtois (Atlético Madrid, loan), Todd Kane (Blackburn, loan), Marko Marin (Sevilla, loan), Patrick Bamford (MK Dons, loan), Billy Clifford (Yeovil, loan), Oriol Romeu (Valencia, loan), Milan Lalkovic (Walsall, loan), Danny Pappoe (Colchester, loan), Sam Walker (Colchester, loan), Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Gael Kakuta (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Thorgan Hazard (Zulte Waregem, loan), Matej Delac (FK Vojvodina, loan), Jhon Pirez (Leganes, loan), Lucas Piazon (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Wallace (Inter Milan, loan), Cristian Cuevas (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Stipe Perica (NAC Breda, loan).
Ins Guillermo Varela (Atletico Penarol, £2.4m).
Outs Reece Brown (Watford, free), John Cofie (Barnsley, free), Michele Fornasier (Sampdoria, free), Luke Giverin (released), Luke Hendrie (released), Reece James (Carlisle, loan), Luke McCullough (Doncaster, free), Sean McGinty (Sheffield Utd, free), Paul Scholes (retired), Ryan Tunnicliffe (Ipswich, loan), Sam Johnstone (Yeovil, loan), Gyliano van Velzen (Utrecht, free), Frederic Veseli (Ipswich, free), Scott Wootton (Leeds, undisclosed)
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Martin Atkinson was the official in three league games last term, all London derbies - Arsenal home and away and West Ham at Upton Park - plus our FA Cup victory at Middlesbrough. In 2011 Sir Alex Ferguson was handed the longest touchline ban ever by the FA after his criticism of Atkinson's handling of our 2-1 win at the Bridge.
There are no suspensions.
- Visit again on Monday for part two of the Briefing.