Wayne Rooney is in fabulous form at the moment, unlike all three of Chelsea’s forwards. The United No. 10 has found the net four times in his last two games, which is more than the Blues line of forwards combined. Due to suspension, Rooney did not feature over the weekend, but that could prove to be a blessing in disguise as the striker is now well rested for the all-important clash tonight.
Another point worth noting is the confidence level of both the teams. It is difficult to imagine that Chelsea will be riding high, coming off their recent lackluster performance against Wigan. The Blues struggled to a 1-0 win at home, against a team struggling in the bottom three. United on the other hand brushed aside Fulham over the weekend and no doubt will be raring to go.
In the first leg quarter-final encounter between the two sides, United chose to sit back and hit Chelsea on the counter attack. The tactic paid off as the Red Devils came away with a crucial away goal. This puts Sir Alex Ferguson in a comfortable position, as Chelsea will need to attack from the start, which could very well leave them vulnerable on the counter again.
One thing that was clearly evident from the first-leg was Chelsea’s lack of width on the pitch. Yuri Zhirkov was not able to cause any problems for United’s right-back and seldom got any crosses in from the wing. The Red Devils however saw Antonio Valencia cause all kinds of problems on the right wing and Nani did the same on the left side of the pitch when he came on later in the game.
The biggest factor riding on tonight’s match is the pressure on both the manager and players. Chelsea are under huge pressure to win this match considering it is their only chance for silverware this season. United on the other hand can walk into the game knowing they still have the Premier League and FA Cup in sight even if they fail to go through.
However, if there is one competition where you cannot predict an outcome, it would have to be the Champions League. And one thing for certain is you will not find a more determined team than Chelsea to go up against.