Clash of The Titans
As soon as referee Olegário Benquerença blew the final whistle at Old Trafford on April 12, every football "pundit" worth his salt labeled Chelsea as a team past its sell-by-date.
The Torres debacle was blown out of proportion. The age of the squad was called into question for what was probably the 100th time. Ancelotti was supposedly packing his bags.
In short, the writing was on the wall for Chelsea and their obituary had already been written, published and read by fans all over the world.
Yet less than a fortnight later, the situation has been turned on its head and the club are now going through, in Ancelotti's words, a "good moment". In fact, with seven wins and a draw from eight league matches, they are currently the form team of the league.
Malaria-ravaged Didier Drogba looked a far cry from the striker who caused defenders to quake in their boots and this contributed significantly to Chelsea's mid season blemish.
However with him now back to full fitness and exuding confidence on the pitch, Chelsea's formerly toothless attack has regained its vicious bite.
Drogba has undoubtedly been Chelsea's star player in recent matches, and has acted as the powerhouse for the team.
While other players grab the headlines and the goals, who knows, he might be saving his best for the Theater of Dreams.
Chelsea’s excellent vein of form towards the end of last season and the start of the current one was largely down to players such as Malouda and Lampard.
Malouda is once again looking like the goal poacher he was at the beginning of the season with almost a third of his goals this season coming in the last four matches.
In fact he became Chelsea's league top scorer with his sensational left foot strike on a rain soaked Stamford Bridge pitch.
Chelsea talisman Frank Lampard has once again regained his eye for goal and his mesmerizing ability to time his runs into the box to perfection.
His last two goals demonstrated this that aspect of his game has returned just in time for the run-in.
Last season's league and cup double was achieved due to a solid back line with a consistent pairing of Terry and Ricardo Carvalho at its heart.
However after Carvalho's reunion with former boss Jose Mourinho, the centre back pairing was never convincing enough. Either Ivanovic or Alex would partner Terry but Carvalho's quality was clearly missed.
In stepped Chelsea's signing of the season, David Luiz ,and he immediately plugged the gap, slotting in seamlessly besides the Chelsea captain.
The back four look much more at ease now with Carvalho well and truly replaced. Not only defensively but even going forward, this is one of the most skilled center back pairs in the league.
As El Nino drove the ball into the side netting past Robert Green the one of the longest and strangest droughts in football history finally came to an end.
Torres showed hints of his undeniable class for the first time since his 50 million pound move and his goal is sure to open the floodgates now as it will have infused him with confidence that he was clearly lacking earlier.
His goal will also serve to silence critics who took to counting the minutes he has played without scoring.
Surely, Old Trafford will be a great opportunity to put the debate to rest for once and for all.
Despite boasting the league top scorer, a baby faced assassin and Wayne Rooney, United have had a bit of a problem up front that has been exposed in their last three domestic matches in which they have managed a solitary Hernandez goal.
We can clearly see that organized defenses such as those of Newcastle and Manchester City pose a serious problem to Ferguson’s men and Chelsea will look to exploit this rather surprising barren run.
To top it all off, Ryan Giggs, creator in chief for United recently, will in all likelihood not play as he will have to rest after their midweek Champions League semifinal.
Competing on just one front, Chelsea can afford to put all their eggs in one basket, but United have a midweek fixture that Chelsea don’t, and this could prove crucial.
Towards the end of the season as fatigue sets in, Chelsea players will be fully rested but Ferguson will have to rotate his squad, thereby weakening every side he puts out.
A rested Chelsea against mentally and physically drained opposition could put them to the sword.
I already touched on this point when I said that Giggs might be rested, and with a drained starting XI, things could go badly wrong for the boys from Manchester.