Manchester United visit Stamford Bridge this Sunday in what promises to be an enthralling affair. Both sides have been scoring for fun and entertaining their fans with some brilliant goals. Here are four ways in which United can come out trumps at the Bridge (for the first time in a decade!):
1) Defense– The whole world knows by now that United’s defense has been nothing short of shambolic up till this point in the season. In eight out of twelve games, they’ve had to come back from a goal down. This is despicable. If they show such generosity on Sunday, I pretty much doubt if they’ll get anything out of the game.
Chelsea‘s attack is pretty formidable and stopping it will need performances of the highest quality from Ferdinand, Evans, Evra and Rafael. They would need to be at their absolute best, otherwise the game could be out of sight before they know it.
2) Formation: I propose a 4-3-3 for this game. In midfield, we can play Carrick in the centre, Anderson to his left and Cleverley to his right. Hernandez goes up top, Van Persie on the left and Rooney on the right. What this will essentially do is negate the ill-effects of the diamond formation and would give us solidity and attacking thrust.
Having Anderson and Cleverley on the left and right would mean that we will have pace in the middle of the park. These two, alongside Carrick, will do the bulk of the defending when Chelsea has the ball. Also, Rooney and RvP wouldn’t need to defend as much.
We will have Hernandez up top. He will be a huge headache for Cahill and Luiz. He plays off the shoulder of the last defender and is very tough to mark. He scored a brilliant brace for United in midweek against Braga and will be important for them come Sunday.
He’ll be fed by two very able forwards in RvP and Rooney. I know I am moving them away from their favorite positions but I feel this is a good strategy, at least till the hour mark- or if things are just not working out. They’ll keep Chelsea’s full backs in check and provide quality balls for Hernandez; and should one of these two move into the box, we have Anderson/Cleverley/Evra to provide service. The attack as well as the midfield seems solid this way.
3) Fearless Attitude: United may not have won at the Bridge for ten years now, but that counts for nothing. Last season’s stirring comeback, epitomized by De Gea’s sensational save from a 93rd minute Mata free-kick, was a big boost to the morale of the side. They have to be fearless from the word go- attack Chelsea and impose themselves on them. United having a very good performance here will be a big shot in the arm for the whole side.
4) Attack the centre-backs: Chelsea’s defense has been great this season. Except for the Atletico mauling and the Shakhtar drubbing, where their defensive drawbacks were highlighted yet again. Their full-backs are more solid than their centre-backs. Cahill and Luiz are yet to become a top level pairing and they give the opposition attackers chances to score. This is where United will have to be smart and ruthless. Take your chances as they come: Get one goal, the pressure on Chelsea goes up. Get another and your confidence will go up manifold. Chances will flow in this game. That’s for sure!
I`d love to see a great game from these two sides on Sunday. The whole world will be watching and waiting to see which team delivers a psychological blow to the opposition.