In the run up to our game against Manchester United we have spoken to a United blogger to see how they feel going into tomorrow’s game.
First of all, can you introduce yourself to the readers.
My name is Sam Peoples. I’m a lifelong United fan and I own and run The Peoples Person, a blog that started off very small but has now blossomed into my full time hobby.
United have started this season off in choppy form – what has happened?
Defensive instability has marred the start of our season. We have relied on the attacking prowess of our front three to get us out of a lot of messes.
We have conceded the first goal in 8 out of last 12 games but have had a phenomenal record of coming from behind to win already this season, in a typically United fashion.
The injury to Nemanja Vidic has rocked us again this season. Much like a City without Kompany or a Chelsea without a Terry, we are missing that captains presence. Not having him at the back means we are a lot weaker, especially at set pieces, and teams have been abusing it.
United are traditionally slow out of the blocks but a lot of the time, they come strong when it matters. Do you think this season is different?
This season has shaped us as most of us expected. Without a stable defence, we aren’t able to build anything from the back and controlled build up play has always been part in parcel of our game. We have been experimenting with a new diamond formation this year that has worked wonders in some situations but against Braga, it backfired as we couldn’t find any space in the middle.
Against a Chelsea side boasting central players like Hazard, Mata, Oscar and Ramires, I expect us to revert to our traditional 4-4-2 otherwise we would risk getting overrun by you.
United have a pretty dire record against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and haven’t won there since 2004. Last years match was a thrilling 3-3 draw – do you expect a similar sort of game on Sunday?
I expect a goalfest on Sunday. United can’t keep a clean sheet for toffee right now and up against a free scoring Chelsea, that won’t change. We have made an unfortunate habit so far this season of conceding an early goal but we simply can’t let that happen against Chelsea because we would be making it really hard on ourselves. Your ferocious pace on the counter-attack would expose our pedestrian central midfield if that happened.
As for our attackers, I can’t see Chelsea keeping a clean sheet either. Hernandez announced himself to the season against Braga with a wonderful brace midweek and with Rooney and Van Persie starting to build what could be the best Premier League partnership this season, our options are fruitful. Throw an ever improving Danny Welbeck into the mix and we are spoilt for choice up front.
I think that, given his record against you, Hernandez is in line for a rare start this season alongside Rooney and Van Persie. For the first time in his United career, he managed to get no offsides against Braga and his first touch was much improved. He looks ready to fire on all cylinders and, hopefully, he starts on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.
How do you expect United to set up on Sunday and do you think United will come with an attacking purpose?
I’m a bit worried really. Scholes and Giggs were both rested against Braga midweek and I think Sir Alex will be looking towards experience in what is going to be a tough seven days for United considering we play you twice in three days and Arsenal next Saturday.
I expect us to come out in a 4-4-2 formation as our wingers will be the key to unlocking your defence, not neat football through the middle. Valencia and Young should get the nod because they add a lot to the team defensively, doubling up with Evra and Rafael.
In the middle, I want to see Carrick and Cleverley. Scholes should be brought on for the second half so he is fresh for the last 45 minutes. It probably won’t happen but as long as I don’t see Giggs playing as a central midfielder, I’ll be happy whoever Sir Alex puts out.
Finally, how do you predict the game will go on Sunday and what do you think the score is?
Both teams to score on Sunday has got to be a safe bet I’d say? I think the most likely result is a score draw really – both teams look strong in attack but weak at the back. An early goal for either side could really set the game on fire and I think it would play into Chelsea’s hands if it comes to life early on.
If we come away with a point from Sunday, I’ll be happy.