Will Manchester United Be Getting the Blues This Weekend?

Jeff HarbertSenior Writer ISeptember 18, 2008

The upcoming weekend is an important one for Manchester United as they take on league leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The Red Devils have experienced a difficult start to the season, winning just once and only finding the net on three occasions so far.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have gotten their season off to a flyer under new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. The Stamford Bridge outfit has already scored 13 goals this season and has won four out of their first five games.

The Champions League runners-up from last season will be confident of piling more misery on the reigning European and English Champions this weekend, especially considering they haven’t lost at home in an incredible 87 matches.

Manchester United lost at Stamford Brigde on their last visit when Michael Ballack’s brace gave Chelsea a 2-1 win. The German captain, who should be fit to play after recovering from an ankle injury, is confident his side will heap even more pressure on United on Sunday.

“It's a big chance for us to make a gap," Ballack said. "It's never easy when you are always behind and you have to close the gap from nine to six points, and you are playing a day after your rivals. We dealt with that and maybe we can reverse it this season."

Chelsea will go nine points clear if they win this weekend and Sir Alex Ferguson will certainly hope to avoid going behind by such a margin this early in the season.

"It's always a big game when the top sides meet and that's why I'm disappointed about last Saturday," Ferguson said. "I'm sure we won't be giving goals away in the way we did last Saturday. I'm sure of that."

Cristiano Ronaldo made his first appearance of the season on Wednesday night during Manchester United’s Champions League opener against Villareal. It remains to be seen if Ronaldo will be included in Ferguson’s starting 11, but the Portuguese ace will certainly play some part against his former International team coach.

United fans will be hoping to see Ronaldo start after he reminded his team of what they have been missing in recent weeks during his substitute appearance on Wednesday night. After a lengthy lay-off the Portuguese winger looked as dangerous as ever and came close to winning the match for the European Champions.

Nemanja Vidic is suspended following his dismissal at Anfield last weekend and Johny Evans looks set to fill in for the Serbian defender following a solid performance in United’s 0-0 draw against Villareal. John Terry will also be available to captain his side this weekend, following the rescinding of his red card against Manchester City last weekend.

After making his Manchester United debut last weekend against Liverpool, Dimitar Berbatov sat out of United’s opening Champions League match due to a minor knee injury. But the Bulgarian appears to have recovered in time for the trip to London, and it will be interesting to see where Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney play against Chelsea.

In truth, Manchester United are facing a massive obstacle this weekend when they travel to Stamford Bridge. Sir Alex Ferguson is without some of his key players and his team have yet to really click into gear this season.

Meanwhile their main title rivals are playing well and getting the right results and will be licking their lips at the prospect of going nine points clear of United at such an early stage.