Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Barclays Premier League
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Barclays Premier League
Venue: Stamford Bridge Date: Tuesday, 1 March Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on Sky Sports 2; listen on BBC Radio 5 live and local radio; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is likely to keep faith with a 4-4-2 formation against Manchester United.
Fit-again defender Yury Zhirkov could make his first league appearance since November after coming on as a substitute in the last two cup games.
Manchester United pair Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen should return from respective hamstring and groin injuries.
Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans are not expected to be fit until the weekend.
Injured: Alex (knee), Benayoun (Achilles)
Doubtful: Giggs (hamstring), Owen (groin)
Injured: Anderson (knee), Evans & Valencia (both ankle), Ferdinand (calf), Park (hamstring)
On the eve of the original December date for this fixture, Sir Alex Ferguson described it as “probably the most important game of the season.” The same cannot be said now.
If we want to put in a charge for the Premier League then we must beat Manchester United, a draw is no good and obviously losing is no good at all
Chelsea captain John Terry
Wintry conditions caused the game to be postponed 10 weeks ago, and Chelsea’s title push has been in cold storage ever since. Even if they win on Tuesday, the London side to benefit most would be second-placed Arsenal.
Chelsea’s deficit to leaders Manchester United has widened from three points when the snow fell before Christmas to 15 now. Blues’ captain John Terry insists the champions are not ready to concede the title, but more realistic is the assertion by Ferguson that the championship is between his United team and Arsenal.
Chelsea at least resembled their old selves in beating FC Copenhagen in the Champions League last week. And while few clubs can take heart from a visit by Manchester United, Chelsea have not lost to them at Stamford Bridge since April 2002.
• Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight home league games against Manchester United since a 3-0 defeat nearly nine years ago (W5, D3).
• United have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League visits to Chelsea.
• Referee Martin Atkinson has awarded the most penalties (10) and red cards (9) of any official in Premier League this season.
• Chelsea have only taken eight points from their last six home matches (W2, D2, L2).
• They have the division’s best defensive record, conceding 22 goals in 26 matches.
• Seven league defeats this season represents the equal-most they have lost in a single campaign since Roman Abramovich bought the club. Another defeat would be the most ever by defending Premier League champions.
• The Blues have only dropped four points from winning positions – a record only bettered by Stoke.
• Fernando Torres has scored three goals in his last four league matches against Manchester United.
• United have won five of their last six league matches.
• They are the Premier League’s top scorers, with 61 goals in 27 matches.
• The league leaders have the best record in the division against top-half opposition, winning six and drawing five of their previous 11 matches this season.
• Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are unbeaten in all seven Premier League matches in which Javier Hernandez has scored, winning the last six.
Anelka: 16 goals (6 league);
Drogba & Malouda: 10 goals (9 league);
Kalou: 10 goals (7 league)
Berbatov: 20 goals (19 league);
Hernandez: 13 goals (9 league)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant referees: Peter Kirkup & Mike Mullarkey
Fourth official: Chris Foy
LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS
Chelsea (D0-0 v Fulham, h): Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Anelka (Kalou 65), Torres (Drogba 71), Malouda. Subs not used: Turnbull, Mikel, Ferreira, McEachran, Sala.
Manchester United (W4-0 v Wigan, a): Van der Sar; O’Shea, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Scholes (Gibson 77), Nani (Fabio 85), Hernandez (Berbatov 76), Rooney. Subs not used: Kuszczak, Brown, Rafael, King.
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Chelsea v Manchester United