Tonight will see the first ‘Blockbuster’ clash of the season as reigning champions Manchester United face off against pretenders to the throne Chelsea at Old Trafford.
While neither club may have had the happiest of pre-seasons, Chelsea have been more resourceful in the transfer market.
While United momentarily climbed atop that favourite perch of theirs, the top of the Premier league table, after thrashing Swansea City 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium last weekend, Chelsea overcame Aston Villa 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in a midweek clash to go top of the table.
The last time United and Chelsea faced off in the Premier League, Chelsea edged out ahead 1-0.
However, United managed to win at Stamford Bridge prior to that. United were excellent at home last season, racking up 16 wins from 19 matches.
Chelsea were decent on the road with ten wins and five losses. The previous five clashes between these two teams has seen both teams rack up two wins each with one match drawn, making Monday’s game virtually impossible to call.
Chelsea’s visit begins a four-game testing period for the champions with games against Liverpool and City in the immediate offing.
Despite United failing to lure players to Old Trafford this summer, the red half of Manchester still have the Premier League’s most lethal finisher as Van Persie’s twin strikes against Swansea served yet another reminder of which striker is the top dog at Old Trafford.
Van Persie was also instrumental in United grabbing their first piece of silverware this season as they won the Community Shield at Wembley.
Chelsea has been reinvigorated by the return of the ‘Special One’ to London and are now desperate to relive Jose Mourinho’s first coming by winning the league.
Chelsea are now a smaller, more fluid machine than the one of 2004-06, so stitching up the creative prowess of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar to a prolific poacher upfront is top priority.
Attack is the position that Mourinho faces a problem of plenty having played Fernando Torres in his opening game, Demba Ba against Aston Villa and with Romelu Lukaku, back from his excellent loan spell at West Brom last season, waiting in the wings.
Take a look at my predicted line-ups for tonight's clash of the titans below.
Chelsea: P. Cech;B. Ivanovic, G. Cahill, J. Terry, A. Cole; Ramires, F. Lampard; De Bruyne, J.Mata, E. Hazard; R. Lukaku
Manchester United: De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick,Cleverley, Rooney; Welbeck; Van Persie
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