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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V MANCHESTER UNITED

Resuming their extensive look-ahead to the weekend's headline fixture, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are joined by former Chelsea player Clive Walker…


TACTICAL BRIEF
Chelsea are looking to extend the four-point lead over our title rivals from Manchester on Sunday. Former Blues winger Clive Walker discusses how it might be done.

Key battles
'We had such a positive result at Spurs last week that Shakhtar was a bit of a knock-back. It showed again that because we are European champions everyone is looking to us as their biggest game of the season, so we are a target, particularly in Europe.

'Everyone wants to knock us off our pedestal - none more so than Man United this weekend. We have to play well, but even when not everything is clicking we have enough to win matches.

'That goes for individuals too. Look at Juan Mata, who has been something else this season. Because he is in great form and everyone is talking about him, opposing sides will prepare special measures for him. But we have several players you could put into that in-form category. We're playing well and top of the league.

'The problem for Man Utd in dealing with them is that their central midfield area is not the strongest it's been and they were without Darren Fletcher for a long time which was a blow for them. It is an area, with our creativity and pace, we can exploit.

'Their centre-backs are being exposed a little more than we've seen in recent years and maybe again that is a question mark over the central midfield. It's not happening that regularly but the defence is missing some players and not as solid as Sir Alex would like.

'So I don't know how much individual attention they can afford to give to Mata, or anybody else in our attacking three.

'Fernando Torres is often centre stage against United. It's difficult to criticise him when he has played well recently, with great work-rate. He's also made a great link-up between the three behind. Although he didn't look the full shilling in midweek, with Torres you have to keep playing him, even just for the psychological impact.

Torres


'Daniel Sturridge has looked lively and dynamic when he has come on in the last two matches, and Robbie Di Matteo may be looking at him in a central role.

'Playing against United, though, you'd play Torres so as not to give them a lift in the dressing room when they see the teamsheet. They would know and fear Torres's capabilities on the big occasion.

'Obviously Man Utd's main threats are Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie - and, like last year here, we have no John Terry again. I have no concerns about Gary Cahill and David Luíz as long as they stay completely focused.

'With Rooney there's some debate about the best position for him now, and he's been used in midfield recently. To be honest, you could play him at right back and he would still look good.

'You can't really plan for Rooney but you can RVP. He's quite one-footed so you look at closing his left side down. You also have to keep your body open because he's nippy and has very good movement. Isolate him as much as possible, steal his service so he's not involved. If you concentrate and succeed in that he will drift wide where he is less effective.

'I have to say I am massively looking forward to this match. And especially to a famous victory for the Blues.'

Team news
Frank Lampard (calf) is the only absentee for Chelsea. Marko Marin is fit again having been unavailable for two games with a groin strain.

For Man United, Shinji Kagawa is out with a knee injury, as is Phil Jones. Anders Lindegaard has a hand injury and the game comes too early for Chris Smalling who is back in training after a broken metatarsal.


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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V MANCHESTER UNITED

CHELSEA STATS
The Blues are hoping for a fifth straight win in the Barclays Premier League.

We boast the Premier League's tightest defence (with Arsenal), having conceded six goals in eight matches.

The Blues are 10 points better off after eight games compared to the corresponding games last season.

All six occasions this term in the Premier League we have opened the scoring we have gone on to win the game.

Chelsea's 22 points from eight matches marks our best start since 2005/06 when we secured maximum points from the same number of games.

Chelsea have won 13 of our last 15 games at Stamford Bridge. Newcastle are the only team to have won here in that time with Tottenham gaining a point in a goalless draw, both last season.

Last six results
Jan 2 Wolves (a) W 2-1
Jan 8 Portsmouth (FA Cup h) W 4-0
Jan 14 Sunderland (h) W 1-0
Jan 21 Norwich (a) D 0-0
Jan 31 Swansea (a) D 1-1
Oct 23 Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League a) L 1-2

 

Premier League scorers
Torres 4, Ivanovic 3, Lampard 3 (2 pens), Mata 3, Cahill 2, Hazard 2 (1 pen), Cole 1, Sturridge 1. Total 19.


League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 8
A home defeat: 5



Chelsea's next three games
Wed 31 Oct Manchester United (LC) home 7.45pm
Sat 3 Nov Swansea City away 3pm
Wed 7 Nov Shakhtar Donetsk (CL) home 7.45pm



MAN UTD STATS
Formed
1878 (as Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway FC)

Major trophies
19 League championships, last in 2011
11 FA Cups, last in 2004
4 League Cups, last in 2010
19 FA Charity/Community Shields (incl 4 shared), last in 2011
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


Man U have conceded the opening goal in six of their eight league matches. They have battled back to win four of them, losing the other two to Everton and Tottenham.

United have won their last three away league games - at Newcastle, Liverpool and Southampton after losing on the opening day at Goodison Park against Everton.

Manchester United have won 10 of their last 11 games in all competitions.

They have not played out a goalless draw for 51 Premier League matches.

United are the top scorers in the Premier League with 21 goals. They have scored 29 goals in 12 matches in all competitions with 15 different scorers.

Manchester United's last away Barclays Premier League draw was the 3-3 comeback at Stamford Bridge on 5 February.


Manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Days in charge: 9,488
Played 1458
Won 869
Drawn 330
Lost 259


Red Devils' last 10 year league history
2002/03 83 1st
2003/04 75 3rd
2004/05 77 3rd
2005/06 83 2nd
2006/07 89 1st
2007/08 87 1st
2008/09 90 1st
2009/10 85 2nd
2010/11 80 1st
2011/12 89 2nd


 

Last six results
Sep 26 Newcastle (League Cup h) W 2-1
Sep 29 Tottenham (h) L 2-3
Oct 2 CFR Cluj (Champions League a) W 2-1
Oct 7 Newcastle (a) W 3-0
Oct 20 Stoke (h) W 4-2
Oct 23 Braga (Champions League h) W 3-2

 

Premier League scorers
Van Persie 6 (1 pen), Kagawa 2, Rooney 2, Rafael 2, Büttner 1, Cleverley 1, Evans 1, Evra 1, Hernández 1, Nani 1, Powell 1, Scholes 1, Welbeck 1. Total 21.

 

PMB

League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 11
An away defeat: 3


UNITED'S MAJOR SUMMER MOVES
Ins
Robin van Persie (Arsenal, £24m), Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund, £17m), Alexander Büttner (Vitesse Arnham, £4m), Nick Powell (Crewe, £4m), Angelo Henriquez (Club Universidad de Chile, undisclosed).
Outs Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham, £4m), Ji-Sung Park (QPR, £1.5m), Michael Owen (released, now Stoke), Fabio (QPR, loan), Tomasz Kuszczak (Brighton, free), Paul Pogba (Juventus, free)


THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Mark Clattenburg's last Chelsea game was the 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage against Fulham in April. His last visit to Stamford Bridge was in December 2011 against Manchester City when he sent off City's Gael Clichy for two yellow cards.


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
John Terry is suspended (second of four domestic games).

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