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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rival Rendezvous: Battle On The Bridge

Manchester United visit East London to play title rivals & defending champions Chelsea this Sunday in a bid to secure their first win at Stamford Bridge since 2002. On this occasion, I talked to Rahul - a Chelsea FC fan, the author of the blog 'Holiday Blogger' & a very dear friend of mine - regarding his thoughts on the game, the return of Lampard & Ashley Cole, the new kids off the block & all that's cooking at the Bridge...

1. Starting off, what are your pre-match thoughts on the Chelsea vs United game? Last season, Chelsea completed the league double over us which proved crucial to the Blues winning the title by a point...

Rahul: Chelsea vs Man Utd clashes have always been the most special fixtures of EPL as the the top two English teams go head-to-head with each other. As you rightly said, Chelsea did complete the league double over the Red Devils last season and I'm sure they would do the same this season too! No doubt United will try their best to register a win at Stamford Bridge since 2002.
Another interesting fact is that "The Red Devils have not beaten the Blues at Stamford Bridge during the Roman Abramovich era." With key players back in the team and an added "home' advantage, I'm quite sure Chelsea would clinch all the 3 points tomorrow.

2. Chelsea have won just once in their last 7 league games. What d'you think is the reason?

R: Probably the absence of key players due to injuries, release of big names and some poor management errors have been responsible for the slump so far. However, every team faces off-form periods which causes it to lose their confidence & a decline in morale. But I'm glad to say, Chelsea marked the end of 'gloomy days' in the second half of the game against Spurs, for sure!

3. Manchester United have been unbeaten in the league this season, though their away form hasn't been the most impressive. What are your thoughts on United & who has been our best player this season according to you?

R: United's unbeaten form would surely end this Sunday. Seven teams have a better away record this season than United, who have drawn six in seven. So all the odds are against United for the moment.
On a comical note, the best player so far is Wayne Rooney! He's been instrumental in United failing in its endeavours & I hope he's gonna help Chelsea at Stamford Bridge too! However to be honest, Park Ji Sung has really raised his game this season and he's a potential threat in the fixture tomorrow. On the other hand, Man Utd are considered the favorites to win the title this season as they are already at the top of the table with one game in hand.

4. This summer, Chelsea released big names like Ballack, Deco, Belletti, Carvalho & Joe Cole while Ramires & Benayoun have come in. Do you think that Abramovich has invested less than what's required?

R: No, I don't think so. Chelsea have a great team even after releasing those big names. Though this decision has affected the team to a certain extent, I feel the quality of the Chelsea bench remains supreme & we could beat any football club on Earth! Moreover, Ramires has been more than a useful player so far to the club and I'm waiting for Benayoun to get healed asap.

5. Chelsea's most important players like Lampard, Terry, Drogba & Ashley Cole are back from injury. Will that help in Chelsea revive their title defence?

R: But obviously! Lampard & Ashley Cole are superb play-makers. Lampard along with Essien in the mid-field can root out any mid-field battles! Drobga, the top scorer last season has a lot to contribute to the team and the captaincy of Terry is instrumental for the English Champions! Combine these four together, the title is ours for the taking!

6. There have been a lot of rumours about Carlo Ancelotti getting the sack in view of their worst run in the past decade. Do the fans still trust him?

R: Yes, we do. It's not easy to be a Chelsea manager. The feat he achieved last season, which was his first season at Chelsea, can't be undermined. Carlo Ancelloti & Roman Abramovich have made it clear that the contract will be honoured. So all those are not more than just rumours.

7. Abramovich recently said that he intended to make Chelsea self-dependent through reliance on the young kids off the Academy block. So who are the new kids you think are the ones to take Chelsea forward?

R: Josh McEachran, Daniel Sturridge, Fabio Borini, Gael Kakuta, Jeffrey Bruma & Patrick Van Aanholt are already made their way to the first team, though all are not from the Academy. Todd Kane & Ben Sampayo, both excellent right backs, Bobby Devyne, Clifford and many more youth players have excellent potential to take Chelsea forward.

8. Favourite Chelsea vs. United game?

R: I have been following the EPL since the last 2-3 seasons only. So I have to say the match at Old Trafford
last season was my favorite.

9. Favourite Chelsea player of all time?

R: (1) Lampard

(2) Drogba

10. Who will win the league this season (if not Chelsea)?

R: Arsenal.

11. On an ending note, what are your predictions on the scoreline of Sunday's game?

R: A 1-0 win to Chelsea!

I express my personal thanks to Rahul for talking to Traffordshire County. You can follow him on Twitter @RahulD08.

What are your thoughts on Sunday's game??? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line on Twitter @AbhinavCJ & I'll get back to you right away!

Red Devils Reign, United Again!

That's all Folks!

Yours,
CJ

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