Club Focus – Chelsea – A few points Ancelotti should note from United’s win against Wigan

Manchester United took on Wigan Athletic over the weekend and sent out a message to the Chelsea camp with a 4-0 win over the Latics. The war of words the league leaders and the champions has been building up since last week but it all comes down to performances now. John Terry and Sir Alex Ferguson have already fired comments at one another, but one person who has had little to say is Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian tactician is known not to involve himself with mind games against the opposition and would rather be looking to make a statement on the pitch. The Blues manager would have been watching the Red Devils in action against Wigan and it would be interesting to see if he finds any areas where United could be exposed.

Taking note of the key areas in United’s performance, one could see that in the first half Wigan started positively and succeeded in catching the United defence off guard on a couple of occasions. John O’Shea in particular was given the run around by Victor Moses and if he is playing on Tuesday, Ancelotti could look at concentrating on heavy wing play, with both Florent Malouda and Ashley Cole building attack after attack from the left side of the pitch.

One player who looked dangerous every time he had the ball was United’s winger Nani. The Portuguese international posed a threat with his speed and control on the ball and was instrumental in United breaking the deadlock. If Ancelotti looks to keep Nani quiet, the only Chelsea player who would seem to be able to match his pace in midfield would be Ramires. The Brazilian has improved significantly of late and has started to impress fans as well. In order to restrain United’s options, choosing Ramires to mark the winger for the full 90 minutes could be a possibility.

Carlo Ancelotti may feel that he has the greatest strike force in Europe (with Torres, Anelka and Drogba) but they are yet to prove they can work well together. United on the other hand have the advantage of their strike force sharing a great chemistry, which allows them to score no matter who is paired up front. Hernandez and Rooney linked up beautifully during the game on Saturday and when Berbatov came on, he effortlessly set up Rooney for United’s third goal. If Chelsea are to walk out with three points, they will need their strikers to understand each other and play as a unit.

Looking at the two teams on paper, Chelsea would seem to be the stronger side, however with respect to form it would surely be Manchester United. With that in mind, Ancelotti would have to get his tactics spot on this Tuesday, as going into this game without a game plan would be disastrous for the Italian and could well see Chelsea’s hopes for fourth spot all but vanish.

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