Man Utd vs Chelsea - Winners Take All

Manchester United vs Chelsea
English Premier League
Old Trafford, Manchester
Sunday, 8th May 2011
15:10 GMT (17:10 CET)


There's no doubt that all eyes are focused on Sunday's big game in the English Premier League when Chelsea travels to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. It doesn't have quite the nerve-jangling tension of the 1988-89 title race, when second-placed Arsenal traveled to Anfield on the final day needing to win by two goals. That result would take it level with leader Liverpool on points and goal difference, and force goals scored as the decider. One-nil up for most of the second half, Arsenal scored the title-winning second goal with 15 seconds left on the clock. They don't come much tighter than that.

Still, Sunday's meeting between Manchester United and Chelsea hardly wants for dramatic potential; it is, effectively, a title decider, and we haven't had a match like this since 1989. Sunday is Chelsea's last chance to dictate the course of events; if it wins, it will move level on points with United, with a superior goal difference, and then have to match United in the two remaining fixtures. It will essentially force a final two weeks in which the team that holds its nerve will lift the trophy. If United wins, it will move six points clear at the top and only an improbable error against Blackburn Rovers or Blackpool could cost it a 19th title.

A tie - incredibly, the worst result United has posted at home in the league (and just twice) since losing to Chelsea just over a year ago - also favors Sir Alex Ferguson's team, shifting the onus on to the visitors to force a result. Not a situation many would relish, especially in the wake of a 4-1 victory accomplished by a "weak" United team against Schalke on Wednesday. At least Carlo Ancelotti's men couldn't hope to be in much better form: they have taken 25 points from 27, going unbeaten in the league since beating United 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in March.

"I am glad to say after many weeks working hard on the training pitch it suddenly clicked. Now we are in with a chance. We have to win this weekend to ensure we are in the driving seat; I have no doubt we will give it everything we have," said Michael Essien to reporters this week, struggling to explain the winter dip in Chelsea's season that took it from top to fifth. Signs from West London are that Fernando Torres will start on the bench to give Didier Drogba the lead role in another fascinating duel with Nemanja Vidic, who has been involved in more than a dozen clean sheets in the league this season.

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