After demolishing Arsenal football club with a 8-2 score Premier League champions Manchester United will play host to arch-rivals Chelsea on September 18, 2011 at Old Trafford and looks set to continue their intense rivalry, one of the fiercest in the Premier League, into the new season.
There were a lot of questions raised about Manchester United during the pre-season, with the retirements of goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, midfield schemer Paul Scholes and the introduction of the new batch of Fergie’s Fledglings of Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck et al. Most doubts were cast aside when Manchester United showcased their talent in a pre-season US Tour, where they went on a 6-0 rampage, even defeating a Xavi-less and Messi-less Barcelona 2-1 in a friendly. It wasn’t really sweet revenge over their Champions League defeat in May 2011, but it was good enough to give Sir Alex Ferguson’s side a good practice run en route to the FA Community Shield, where they would beat Manchester City 3-2 with a last minute winner.
Add those wins to their Premier League season start of three back to back wins, and Manchester United is currently on a 10-match win streak. The regular big names like Wayne Rooney, Nani, Dimitar Berbatov, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are still there but the Fledglings appear to be blossoming nicely and stealing their thunder.
Chelsea, under new manager Andre Villas-Boas, will be looking to make it back to the top of the Premier League. Chelsea still maintains the same big names like Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, but more spice has been added with the arrivals of Oriol Romeu, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata. Whether these names will make an impact for Chelsea remains to be seen. But adding some youth to a team whose player’s average age is 30 could do well for aging legs. In their first three games of the season, they’ve managed to win two at home against West Brom Albion (2-1) and Norwich City (3-1) and then draw one away vs Stoke City (0-0). It’s not really a dream start, especially against less prominent clubs. What happens now if they were to face a monster like Manchester United?
Incidentally, Manchester United were unbeaten at Old Trafford last season. They had an impressive 18 wins and 1 draw with 49 goals scored for and only 12 conceded. Their only draw was against West Bromwich Albion.
Manchester United has won three in a row over Chelsea including two legs of the UEFA Champions League in April 2011 and their last Premier League meeting in May 2011 but will this winning streak continue?