Premier League preview: Chelsea v Man United | inside World Soccer

Premier League preview: Chelsea v Man United

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chelsea prepare to confront rivals Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on the first encounter between those two powerhouses since last Champions League final.

The hosts need to improve on a poor record between them - the visitors have won 31 of the 70 previous matches, with the Blues winning just 21.

But Chelsea have won 2-1 over United in their last meeting at Stamford Bridge in April 2008.

However, if United become the first team to defeat Chelsea at the Bridge for 85 Premier League matches, since Arsenal's "Invincibles" did so in February 2004, they will move to within three points of Chelsea with a game in hand.

Chelsea are currently sitting at the top of Premier League, having 10 points from four matches, while United struggling down in 14th position with 4 points from three matches.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men have won just one of their first five matches in all competitions.

Ferguson seemed uncomfortable when the size of that potential deficit was mentioned by saying: "We don't want to be nine points behind Chelsea. We don't want to be nine points behind anyone."

With Cristiano Ronaldo desperate to make his first Premier League appearance of the season, United have their most likely match-winner available again, while Dimitar Berbatov could return from a knee injury.

Meanwhile, Didier Drogba will feature at some stage for the Blues, but Luiz Felipe Scolari doesn't believe the Ivorian is fit enough to play 90 minutes.

And also good news for the Blues, their captain John Terry is available for the showdown after the FA overturned his suspension following last weekend's red card at Manchester City.

Possible line-up:

Chelsea: Petr Cech; Jose Bosingwa, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, Ashley Cole; Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel, Michael Ballack; Joe Cole, Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda

Manchester United: Edwin Van der Sar; Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Patrice Evra; Cristiano Ronaldo, Owen Hargreaves, Paul Scholes, Nani; Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney

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