Chelsea currently sit six points ahead of Manchester United in the table and have the opportunity to go nine points clear of their major title rivals this weekend. There has been a lot of hype in anticipation of what is a rematch of last year’s Champions League final.
United won that match in penalties to add to their success of already winning the Premier League a week and a half earlier.
But there’s a new man in charge of Chelsea now and there’s a new confidence oozing from every area of Chelsea’s play. Luiz Felipe Scolari has already had a big impact at Chelsea, and the former Portugal coach faces his biggest challenge yet against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
Despite all of the hype and build up to this weekend’s match, Scolari claims it is just another game.
“This is one more game, nothing different,” Scolari said. “The challenge when I came to England was to win the Premier League, not just single games. The challenge is to win all the games, not only games against Man United.
“I think for my players it is one more game also. Three points against Manchester United is the same as three points against Stoke City, against Wigan, against Portsmouth. No different.”
“It’s better for us to be nine points ahead of United but it’s only the start of the league. If it was the last three or four games, nine points would be fantastic. But, we have 33 games more so nine points is nothing.”
Yes, it may be ‘another’ game, but in some sense, it’s not just ‘another’ game. If Chelsea win tomorrow they will move nine points ahead of Manchester United. The season may still be young, but to slip that far behind your biggest title rivals is not something United can afford.
In the past two seasons Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have been the ones leading the pack but if they lose tomorrow it will be themselves who are chasing the league leaders for once.
I have no doubts that Manchester United would be able to cut the gap over the course of the season, but the psychological effect of losing to Chelsea, immediately after being beaten by Liverpool, could have a detrimental effect on the Premier League Champions.
As for Chelsea, beating their biggest title rivals and moving nine points clear would give them all the momentum they need to carry on with their pursuit of a first league title in over two years.
In my opinion, tomorrow’s crunch match is not just ‘another’ match. It’s much more than that, and we you will see why in the upcoming weeks.
Confidence in the Old Trafford camp will reach a new low if they lose at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, but if the Manchester United wins it could essentially kick start a campaign in which they’ve only won once so far.