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Ray Wilkins: Chelsea v United - what a pity this couldn't be the Champions League final

02 Apr 2011 22:07:36

Ray Wilkins: Chelsea v United - what a pity this couldn't be the Champions League final

Former England captain Ray Wilkins previews the Champions League quarter-final clash between Chelsea and Manchester United. WHERE THE GAME WILL BE WON AND LOST...MIDDLE ENGLAND LONG LIVE KING SCHOLES Central midfield needs to be sewn up. Chelsea's three in there have over-run Manchester City and United at times this season. But against United last month, the maestro, Paul Scholes, took over after Chelsea made a fast start. Only when he tired did Chelsea regain control. Scholes calms things down for United, gets them passing simply and his first touch is so good no-one gets near him. Michael Essien and his fellow Chelsea midfielders will need to swarm around Scholes, the best Englishman in the Premier League for a decade, or pay the price. HEIGHT OF AMBITION STAND TALL OR FALL The United team will be a tricky one to pick for Sir Alex Ferguson because of Chelsea's height and ability at set-pieces. United already look like they will be missing Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher and cannot afford to concede much more air space to Chelsea, who have height in John Terry, Nicolas Anelka (left) and Bransilav Ivanovic, who is dangerous at set-plays. If Didier Drogba plays any part, he is a real handful, too, and Edwin van der Sar should be a key man if he is fit. WEAKEST LINK? IT'S NOT RAMIRES Not that long ago United might have seen Ramires as the weak link but if they underestimate him now they will pay the price. The Brazilian midfielder is quickly getting used to the Premier League and in the last 30 minutes of games he makes the running. He is so fit it is embarrassing. Ramires loves a rumble, too, and is starting to use the ball as well. United must watch him right to the end. IT'S GOOD TO TALK IS VIDIC THE MAN FOR THE JOB? Chris Smalling has had a wonderful season but needs Nemanja Vidic talking him through with his experience, despite Vidic's unusually poor show yesterday. I saw Smalling against Chelsea a couple of years ago and he looked very young in his performance. I like that he stays on his feet and after more time at United, he has come on leaps and bounds. WIDE BOYS FULL-BACKS NEED HELP TO HANDLE NANI AND VALENCIA One of the fascinating features of United-Chelsea games over the last few years has been the battle down the flanks. Nani and Valencia have taken the place of Cristiano Ronaldo out wide but Ashley Cole is still going strong for Chelsea and their match-up could be a key. Cole is the best left-back in the world but Chelsea cannot afford to allow United's wingers to get one-on-one with him or Jose Bosingwa on the other side.  Watch your mouth: Rooney could face FA action after another TV outburstWest Ham 2 Man Utd 4: Rooney hits three as Reds seal stunning fightback  Explore more:People: Jose Bosingwa, Alex Ferguson, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Essien, Nemanja Vidic, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Rio Ferdinand, Nicolas Anelka, Edwin Van Der Sar Places: United Kingdom


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