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Manchester United v Chelsea: Head-to-head guide to the Premier League title decider

05 May 2011 15:24:38

Manchester United v Chelsea: Head-to-head guide to the Premier League title decider

When the fixture list was published, eyes were instantly drawn to what was widely expected to be a title decider three games from the end of the season. Despite several ups and downs for both sides, Manchester United v Chelsea this weekend has proved to be just that. A United win will all but hand the Red Devils their record 19th top flight title, leaving them needing just a point from their final two games against relegation contenders. Showdown: Manchester United will go head-to-head with Chelsea on Sunday, with the winner likely to win the title For Chelsea only three points will do to keep the fate of the trophy they won so spectacularly last year in their own hands. The win will haul them level with the league leaders, although boasting a superior goal difference, having been as much as 12 points behind only three months ago. As the sides battle for the status of Premier League's top dogs on Sunday, Sportsmail gives you the rundown on the pivotal game of this season's title race. FORMCHELSEA MANCHESTER UNITED Pure delight: Chelsea are on an impressive run of form with eight wins from nine Stumble and fall: United have let Chelsea back in after defeat at Arsenal Chelsea have been playing catch up since an alarming mid-season slump. But an incredible run which has seen them win eight of their last nine games means the title destiny is back in their hands. They haven't lost in the league since their home defeat to Liverpool at the start of February. Form guide: W W W D W W W W W W United have stumbled rather than slumped, letting the Blues back in with a shout of retaining their title. But United's home form is almost perfect as they are unbeaten at Old Trafford winning all but one game, October's 2-2 with West Brom. Form guide: W L L W W W D W L THREE KEY CLASHESJOHN TERRY  WAYNE ROONEY   Captain Fantastic: John Terry remains Chelsea's key man at the back Form: Wayne Rooney has finally rediscovered his love of the game With Dimitar Berbatov inconsistent in big games and Javier Hernandez showing signs of fatigue, Manchester United will be looking to Wayne Rooney to be the spearhead of their attack. He has already had success against Chelsea this term, netting twice at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League and Premier League, so will have no problem facing the champions. Terry played in both games and will be aware his England team-mate is winning their personal battle. There is not much to choose between them though and the Blues skipper's partnership with David Luiz is getting stronger by the game. Didier Drogba Nemanja Vidic   Top Drog: Chelsea's leading man has proved his worth once more Head boy: Nemanja Vidic has led United with distinction this term No love lost between these two since Drogba slapped the centre-back in the 2008 Champions League final. Bar a moment of brilliance where he was unlucky to hit the post, the striker was kept under lock and key that night by Vidic & Co. But the Ivorian has scored in his last two visits to Old Trafford, in similar circumstances (getting behind the defence), and his strike last season effectively won Chelsea the Premier League. It was thought Fernando Torres was Vidic's bogey striker, but Drogba getting the nod to start ahead of the Spaniard would show who is on form and poses the biggest threat to the United defence. Frank Lampard  Michael Carrick   Driving force: Frank Lampard has returned to fitness at last Point to prove: Michael Carrick is fighting for his United future So often Chelsea have relied on Lampard to bail them out if the strike force is not delivering. The win against Tottenham was testament to that, with the England midfielder's equaliser setting up the platform to take three points. Carrick finally looks to be getting back to his best having recovered from the dizziness he suffered at the hands of Barcelona's passing in the 2009 Champions League final. This game is not only important for the United midfielder to limit Lampard's impact by orchestrating the passing in midfield, but also as a personal audition to prove he is worthy of being given a second chance against 'Messi's mob' later this month Five previous Old Trafford meetingsManchester United 2 Chelsea 1, April 12 2011 - Champions League quarter-final Holding a 1-0 aggregate lead from the first leg, United comfortably progressed to the semi-finals courtesy of strikes from Javier Hernandez and Ji-sung Park, the latter cancelling out Drogba's equaliser in less than a minute. Manchester United 1 Chelsea 2, April 3 2010 - Premier League Joe Cole and Drogba fired Chelsea to the top of the table in a controversial win. The Ivorian doubled the Blues lead from what looked an offside position. Federico Macheda grabbed United's consolation. Not enough: Federico Macheda was on target last season at Old Trafford, but United still lost Manchester United 3 Chelsea 0, January 11 2009 - Premier League Goals from Vidic, Rooney and Berbatov wrapped up an easy win for United and played a big role in Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari getting sacked a month later. Manchester United 2 Chelsea 0, Sepetmebr 23 2007 - Premier League Late strikes in both halves from Carlos Tevez and Louis Saha condemned Avram Grant to defeat in his first game in charge of the Blues. Jon Mikel Obi was sent off for the visitors. Manchester United 1 Chelsea 1, November 29 2006 - Premier League Ricardo Carvalho's second-half header cancelled out Saha's earlier strike in an evenly fought contest that kept the Blues within three points of United in the title race. WHAT'S NEXT?CHELSEA 15 May - Newcastle (home) Three points for the Blues at Old Trafford could be short-lived by the time they play their next fixture. Newcastle have already won at Arsenal and were very organised at the back in a 0-0 draw with United. A potential slip-up for Ancelotti's men. 22 May - Everton (away) The acid test. Goal difference could prove decisive on the final day for the title race and Goodison Park is one of the last places where you want to try and win let alone rack up ahigh score. MANCHESTER UNITED 14 May - Blackburn (away) If United avoid defeat against Chelsea they can travel to Rovers for their last away game of the seasonknowing a win would put them in a commanding position for the title. But the hosts could secure Premier League survival with a positive result of their own. 22 May - Blackpool (home) Regardless of the Seasiders Premier League status, anything but a home win will be a massive shock and United will heavily fancy their chances of winning the title if they head the table going into the final game of the season. SPORTSMAIL PREDICTIONManchester United 2 Chelsea 0 The Blues have nothing to lose but in their desperation to win are bound to leave gaps at the back, which at Old Trafford United have exploited all season. Carlo Ancelotti's side have done well to produce a late rally but this could be just one step too far.  Barcelona v Manchester United: Head-to-head guide to the Champions League finalBarcelona don't frighten us, insists Fergie after Schalke demolitionUnited boosted ahead of Chelsea title decider with Rooney set for returnAC Milan add ?18m Chelsea enforcer Essien to summer shopping listAll the latest Manchester United news, features and opinionAll the latest Chelsea news, features and opinion  Explore more:People: John Terry, Federico Macheda, Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Nemanja Vidic, Louis Saha, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez, Joe Cole, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti Places: Barcelona, Liverpool, Newcastle, United Kingdom


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