Man United travel to The Bridge on Remembrance Sunday for the biggest test to date of Ancelotti’s so far impressive tenure.
We’ve nearly a full strength side to pick from, Zhirkov, Mikel and Bosingwa are all hopeful of being fit, but so far everyone else is fit.
Our last league match was the 4-0 win against Bolton last week, the one before was 5-0 at home to Blackburn. We’ve not conceded at Stamford Bridge since the first day of the season.
Our strikeforce chooses itself at the moment, Drogba’s been in fine goalscoring form, and Ancelotti is happy with the role Anelka plays of being more of an assist maker and drifting into a makeshift winger. Whether Joey Cole gets the nod or Deco is chosen is anybodies guess, and probably the only bit of speculation about our line up. Ballack and Lampard are surely going to partner each other in the middle of the diamond, and with Mikel a doubt it further ensures that Essien will likely get the nod holding. Bosingwa is another doubt, Ivanovic will probably be preferred to Ferreira and Belletti at right back. The rest of the defence should be easy enough to guess, Peter Cech, Ashley Cole, John Terry and Riccy Carvalho.
Although that is the likely team, Scolari was often critisized for not having a plan B and being too obvious at times, so if Carlo does start with that team, then there is certainly players on the bench who can change the formation and style, notably Joey Cole/Deco and Malouda.
United should have Vidic back in the team, Ferdinand was ‘injured’ for their match at home to Blackburn last week and may still be for Sunday. Owen Hargreaves has been injured for over a year now and is still out. Gary Neville is suspended for an absurd challenge when United were already two up against Barnsley in the League Cup.
Ferguson is allowed on the touchline still. After seeing his side scrape a last minute home draw against Sunderland he gave an interview in which he has since admitted to an F.A charge of being petulant. Although the incident happened five weeks ago, the F.A agreed to his request to delay punishment till after their away matches at Anfield and Stamford Bridge.
This fixture last season saw a 1-1 draw, we attacked the Matthew Harding End first half and Ji Sung Park but United in the lead, a second half Solomon Kalou header levelled the match. After the match Evra took exception to being called an idiot and was banned for the ensuing fracas. The return fixture at Old Trafford was one to forget for us, having been unbeaten away from home in the league before Christmas, we lost 3-0.
It was now 10 years ago that we beat United 5-0 in this fixture, with the prolific Chris Sutton getting on the score sheet, as well as Jody Morris, a Henning Berg Own Goal and a Gus Poyet brace, Nicky Butt got Sent Off for reacting angrily to Dennis Wise pinching him. United last won here in the 01-02 season, an odd campaign that saw us win 3-0 at their gaff in December, and them matching it in April
If we win this, that’s eleven on the bounce we’ve won at home, equalling our club record set in 2006. If Joey Cole plays it’ll be his 250th match in a Chelsea shirt.
With Alan Wiley not being fit enough and Andre Marriner not being experienced enough, the F.A have given the job to Martin Atkinson. Atkinson was in charge of our home win against Liverpool last month, handing out two yellow cards. Last season he officiated our 5-0 win over Sunderland (1Y, 0R), the F.A Cup Semi over Arsenal (5Y, 0R), and the 2-0 away win against Stoke (2Y, 0R). The season before that he sent off Drogba in a 0-0 stalemate against Fulham, the first booking was for arguing when he was denied a penalty, and the second for a high foot. He also reffed our home League Cup match against Liverpool, sending off Peter Crouch, and our 1-0 away win to Everton in Sky’s unique Thursday Night Premier League Football Special.
Predicted Team – Cech, A. Cole, Terry, Carvalho, Bosingwa, Essien, Ballack, Lampard, J. Cole, Anelka, Drogba
Subs: Hilario, Alex, Ferreira, Mikel, Deco, Malouda, Kalou
Predicted Score – 2-1 Chelsea. John Terry and Michael Ballack.
There will be tributes by both the club and the fans in memory of those who have fought for, and lost their lives serving Crown And Country. The two overhead Blue Flag’s will not be displayed to keep focus on the tributes. CFCUK have organized for two banners to be made, acknowledging that Chelsea fans will remember those who have served for our country. The MHU and Shed Upper banners will be turned around to be blank, to keep the attention on the banners marking the occasion. Donations are still needed to fund the banners, please contribute on the matchday at the CFCUK stall (opposite Fulham Broadway), or via PayPal, details in the Club Shed Forum.