Chelsea FC vs Manchester United: A Few Things to Expect
The main event overlooking the face-off between the two fierce rivals on Sunday will not occur as Chelsea captain John Terry will miss the match due to injury. United captain Rio Ferdinand had questions regarding the customary handshake against the man blamed for racially abusing his younger brother. But there is no chance of something like that happening now with Villas-Boas ruling out his captain for the fixture.
Chelsea shall arrive at United with the prospect of missing out on Champions League qualification next season. This season has seen the Blues' fall to lows previously unseen in the Abramovich era. The match against United could well make or break their season though, with Terry, Lampard and Ashley Cole out they are facing a very tough fixture.
On the other hand, United have not been convincing this season but they have managed to be in the title race so far. Anything other than a win against Chelsea could see them falling behind their cross-town rivals City. Sir Alex has been handed a welcome boost ahead of the match with Rooney and Nani declared fit to play.
In the following slides we shall take a look into the few things we can expect at Stamford Bridge when the two English heavyweight clubs face-off with each other.
Banners and Chants Supporting Captain Fantastic Terry
The FA on Friday stripped John Terry of his England captaincy citing his pending investigation against alleged racial abuse.
The action of the English FA has been severely criticised by football fans, coaches and players around the world. The most vocal being Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who stated "It's a disgrace, I'm sure 100% he's not a racist." The move has all the more been criticised since Terry has not been proved guilty and the decision is being seen as a result of the pressure from the media.
Chelsea manager Villas-Boas has publicly backed his captain and confirmed that Terry will remain the Blues' captain, So when Chelsea host United at home on Sunday a lot of protest posters supporting "John Captain Fantastic Terry" and criticising the FA's decision is going to wave in the stadium.
Even chants showing support for the Blues' most successful captain ever will also not be highly surprising as the fans are expected to show their belief on their captain.
Another Barren Run by Torres
Well the Red Devils' young striker Javier Hernandez has done something that nobody would have dared a couple seasons back—he predicted Chelsea's misfiring forward Fernando Torres to continue his dismal run.
The United youngster was quoted as saying “Fernando Torres is one of the best forwards in Europe, without doubt. But he suffers a bad record in front of goal and I predict that the Spaniard will not score against United this Sunday either.”
A few seasons back Torres would have returned this taunting with a few goals but in the present scenario it is highly unlikely. The Spaniard has failed to score a goal since October of last year. He failed to impress against weaker teams like Norwich and Swansea costing Chelsea precious points. Though manager Villas-Boas has backed the Blues' "all-time most-expensive flop," ]patience is being stretched to the limit at West London.
With the form Torres has been in over the past year it is very unlikely that he will be able to make any impact when the Red Devils come knocking on Sunday. He is likely to look the helpless forward who has lost his eye for goal and then get subbed by youngster Lukaku.
Shouts of "Mourinho Comeback" in Case of Loss for Chelsea
Stamford Bridge has been buzzing with a possible return for Blues' favourite Jose "Special One" Mourinho.
Reports emerged on Friday that Blues' most successful manager was contemplating making a return to England, preferably Stamford Bridge in the summer. Mourinho is reportedly unhappy with the Real Madrid management and has indicated a possible departure at the end of the season.
Though the source is still unknown and unreliable, Mourinho's recent indications do signal his intent to leave Bernabeau. If he does leave and plans to return to England then Chelsea is likely to be a preferred destination, provided he can sort out his differences with owner Abramovich. The Blues' fans are already ecstatic with the prospect of a return of their much-loved manager.
So Sunday could see a lot of flags, banners or posters asking a return of the Special One to his most loved club which in a way would undermine present manager Villas-Boas's credibility.
Debut for Our £7 Million Man
Villas-Boas has been criticised in recent weeks for his decision to not hand his £7 million January acquisition Gary Cahill a debut. The former Bolton man was expected to get his first start in a Chelsea shirt against Norwich and Swansea, but in each case nothing happened.
With Manchester United, there was less possibility of Cahill being handed a start given Villas-Boas's affinity to stick to his tried-and-tested players. But with John Terry ruled out by injury and Ashley Cole serving his one-match suspension Villas-Boas will be handed with very little choice but to hand his new signing a debut.
For Cahill the debut would be in itself a big test to prove his worth. With Cahill looking to ensure himself a berth in the England squad for the Euros a impressive performance would mean more first team chances. Whether the highly-rated central defender can prove himself though remains to be seen.