Nicks’ note: Guest author Vineeth looks ahead to the self-billed ‘revenge’ match between Chelsea and Manchester United, after Sunday’s controversial encounter gave more than enough food for thought. Take it away Vineeth!
Chelsea fans will reckon that they saw their worst nightmare come true on Sunday, when they watched their team lose at Stamford Bridge; in a game which had the potential to be one of the matches of the season, but ended up being decided by some poor refereeing decisions. Mark Clattenberg, the referee for this game, has been in hell since he sent off Fernando Torres for a dive, which was his second bookable offense (Or so he thought). Clattenberg’s day continued to get worse when Chelsea reported him to the FA for the use of inappropriate language against a couple of Chelsea players and allegedly racially abusing Jon Obi Mikel.
Phew, so much drama in that match. It was a great game though. Both teams attacking, trying to score goals, high-tempo and all that. Pity that the game was decided by an offside goal. Some real quality players were out on the pitch. Not to deride the quality out on show in the Capital One Cup match, but there will certainly be some changes in personnel. Both teams will field slightly weaker teams, giving opportunities to the players who have been patiently sitting on the bench. Both teams lack any kind of depth when it comes to defense, so the midfield and forward lineup could see the majority of changes.
For Chelsea, Daniel Sturridge will get his first start this season, with Torres suspended after THAT red card not too long ago (you know the one I’m talking about). In midfield, Chelsea fans will finally get to see Marko Marin make an appearance at least, if not a start. There was much excitement over Marin to begin with, and I thought he was a stand-out performer in the pre-season tour. Victor Moses and Lucas Piazon could start and Robbie could play any one of the likes of Juan Mata/Eden Hazard/Oscar just to be safe. Ashley Cole is injured and Ryan Bertrand will be his obvious replacement. Likewise, Cesar Azpilicueta will fill in for the suspended Branislav Ivanovic. Chelsea’s savior in almost every important game, Petr Cech, may/may not be rested for this one. If he is rested, there arises an interesting question. Who will be Chelsea’s captain?
Lots of options there to be considered – David Luiz, for one. He has already captained Brazil in the World Cup qualifiers. Good leader, very energetic player, but not the ideal captain (in my opinion). Gary Cahill will be in contention too, but he is still very new to the club. Jon Obi Mikel will probably be the most experienced player with the club if starts today, having played in Chelsea blue for the last 7 years.
For United, Sir Alex Ferguson’s habit of fielding young players will definitely play a part in his team selection tonight. We could see the likes of Danny Welbeck, who was surprisingly missing from the previous match, make a start. One of Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney could be rested, which will definitely delight the Chelsea fans. Anderson, Nick Powell and Nani will be hoping they make the team for tonight. Nani’s future at Old Trafford still remains in doubt, but that guy always manages to do something remarkable against Chelsea, as seen in the past. Like Chelsea’s defense, United might make a couple of changes, by bringing in Alexander Büttner in place of Patrice Evra. Youngsters like Tunnicliffe, Keane, Wootton and Vermijl could play too. David De Gea had a brilliant game against Chelsea on Sunday and could keep his place. Shinji Kagawa, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic are still out injured.
“Now we can concentrate on the Premier League and Champions League” will say the fans of the team that loses today. But no one would want to lose, eh? Chelsea and Manchester United have been two of the most consistent teams in England over the past few years, and neither would pass up an opportunity to win a trophy, no matter how ridiculous the name is (COC). Could this be a revenge match for Chelsea? Yes. Definitely. They would want to win this very badly. For United, two wins on the trot at Stamford Bridge would be brilliant. Another explosive game lies ahead of us. Hopefully a better run match by the officials, this one.