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Match Kick-off time: Sunday 19 December 2010, 16:00 UK Time.
Man Utd Vs Chelsea
Having picked up just 6 points out of the last possible 21 after a roaring start to the season, Chelsea have hand to contend with injuries, poor defensive displays and the sacking of their assistant manager in the past two months. The champions have looked out of sorts since November but displayed a brilliant second half performance at White Hart Lane to earn a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday. Chelsea’s problem has been lack of inspiration and leadership with injuries to John Terry and Frank Lampard. John Terry’s return has provided the team with defensive solidarity and inspirational leadership. Lampard’s return will be a huge boost in the creative department. With their star players back, Chelsea will be looking to resume their quest for the title with a win over their arch rivals. A win will take Chelsea to the top level on points with United.
Possible line up: 4-3-3 formation with Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Malouda.
Man to watch: Inspirational midfielder Frank Lampard, who is expected to make a return to the starting line up after a month long absence
Being the only unbeaten team in the Premier League this season, Manchester United go into this clash on the back of a 1-0 home win against title contenders Arsenal. After an indifferent start to the season, the Red Devils have had their campaign up and running after the thrashing of Blackburn Rovers and a fantastic team performance against Arsenal when their ‘back four’ came out on top. The fine form of Dimitar Berbatov and midfielders Nani, Ji Sung Park and Anderson are positives Manchester United will take to Stamford Bridge. Wayne Rooney is yet to score a goal in open play since March, but his fantastic link-up play with Berbatov displayed against Blackburn Rovers is testament to his versatility. On Sunday, the Red Devils will look to exact revenge for last season’s defeats and look to extend their lead to 5 points at the top of the table.
Possible line up: 4-4-2 formation with van der Sar, Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Anderson, Park, Rooney, Berbatov
Man to watch: Wayne Rooney, who is not at his goal scoring best but his ability to drop in deep and provide an extra body in midfield or set up Berbatov will be crucial.
This is an extremely close game to call given the talent pool available in both teams. However for defensive solidarity, psychological advantage after their convincing win over Arsenal and the knack to grind out favourable results even when not at their best, I am going for a 2-1 win for Manchester United.