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Monday, May 19, 2008

Chelsea vs Manchester United Champions League: Preview and Live Score

If you want to get the online live score of Chelsea vs Manchester United final match of Champions League with Text commentary, then visit the following link:

Chelsea vs Manchester United Champions League: Live Score and Update

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What is the current fever in world football? EURO 2008? Yes, but that is still few weeks away. Then tell me which event is now being raved around the football world? It is nothing else but the upcoming final match of UEFA Champions League 2007-2008 between Chelsea and Manchester United. You know that this is the first time two English clubs are facing each other in the Champions League final. So, the match has already won the tag of a historic match. The match will take place at the Luzhniki Stadium of Moscow, Russia on 21 May 2008. Manchester United has won the English Premier League title recently. So, they are expected to have a psychological edge over Chelsea ahead of the match. On the other hand, this is the first Champions league final for the West London club. So, they will be motivated to show their best in the final.

Match: Chelsea vs Manchester United, Champions League 2007-2008 Final

Venue: Luzhniki Stadium

Date: 21 May 2008, Wednesday

Time: 19:45 BST (22:45 Moscow Time)

Road to Final: Chelsea and Manchester United

For Manchester United, it is the first Champions League final since they won it last time in 1999. Not a good performance for Manchester United considering their premier league record during this time. However, for Chelsea, it is the first ever Champions League final. So, for both sides, the final match of Champions league has special significance. Now, let us see how Manchester United and Chelsea have progressed to final of the tournament.

Manchester United got off to an excellent start in Champions League group stage. The club finished champion in Group F with 16 points from six matches (five wins and a draw). Chelsea could not show that much dominance, but progressed to the knock out stage as Group B champion with 12 points from six matches thanks to three victories and three draws.

First Knockout Round

Neither Manchester United nor Chelsea faced any strong challenge in this round from their respective oppositions. Manchester United defeated French giant Olympique Lyonnais 2-1 on aggregate. In the first leg, Manchester United ended up with a 1-1 draw at Lyon, then in the second leg, Manchester United projected a 1-0 home victory to reach the quarter final. Chelsea defeated Olympiacos 3-0 on aggregate, after the goal less first leg, Chelsea posted a 3-0 home victory to seal a place in quarter final.

Quarter Final

Chelsea got a shocking 2-1 defeat in the first leg at Fenerbahçe, before projecting a 2-0 victory at home in the second leg. Manchester United won in both legs against Roma and defeated the Italian club 3-0 on aggregate.

Semi Final

Manchester United faced another European giant Barcelona with whom they made a goalless draw away at Nou Camp. Then at home, Manchester United projected a victory thanks to the solitary goal from Paul Scholes. Chelsea made a 1-1 draw at Liverpool in the first leg, and in the second leg, Chelsea got a superb 3-2 victory over Liverpool at home.

Luzhniki Stadium: Venue of the Champions League Final

Chelsea vs Manchester United final match will take place in the biggest stadium of Russia, Luzhniki Stadium. The stadium is situated in Moscow and has all-covered seating capacity of 84,745 seats. The stadium is part of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, which was earlier known as Central Lenin stadium. Home ground of Torpedo Moscow and Spartak Moscow, Luzhniki Stadium features an artificial pitch due to the cold climate of Russia. However, the final match will take place on natural grass field. The stadium authority and UEFA are very concerned about the security of the stadium ahead of the match. Recently, UEFA president Michel Platini came to visit Luzhniki Stadium in order to ensure there is no problem in the venue ahead of the match. So, Luzhniki Stadium is now ready for a mouth watering Chelsea vs Manchester United match.

Rush for Tickets

You do not need to be a specialist to understand that there will be heavy rush for the match ticket. As two English fans are going to play in the final, British fans are rushing for the match ticket. Tickets have been sold at huge price in the black market. Reports have it that price of a VIP ticket is $10,000. No doubt, it is huge and not many people in England even earn this amount per month.

There is heavy rush for hotel room reservation too. The match kicks off 19:45 BST (22:45 Moscow Time). So, by the time the match finishes, it would be late night in Moscow. That is why, there is heavy rush in hotel room reservation in different hotels in Moscow.

Chelsea vs Manchester United: Head to Head

Manchester United lost at Chelsea 2-1 in a crucial league match last month. However, this is going to be a different match as it will be held in Moscow, Russia. If you look at the last 10 head to head matches between Chelsea and Manchester United, you can see that Manchester United won in two occasions, while Chelsea emerged winner in five. Two matches ended in a draw. So, Chelsea’s recent performance against Manchester United seems to be better than Manchester United.

The Night of Cristiano Ronaldo?

Cristiano Ronaldo is in superb form this season. He is the leading goal scorer in England. Cristiano Ronaldo is in impressive form both in English Premier League and in Champions League. He had the major contribution behind Manchester United becoming Champion in EPL. Now, the Man Utd fans would surely wish that Cristiano Ronaldo can do the same magic in the final match of UEFA Champions League 2008 against Chelsea in Moscow. Well, Moscow is a new place and it can be a bit tough for him to shine. There is another matter. At this moment, there is intense media speculation that Real Madrid is interested about Cristiano Ronaldo and the Spanish club is ready to pay a huge sum of money for buying him. I guess that this matter can become bad for ROnaldo in the final match against Chelsea. Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho is confident that they can stop Ronaldo.

What about Frank Lampard?

I feel that Frank Lampard is the most respected player among Chelsea fans. They just love him and he is play maker for the club. Frank Lampard has played well this season and he has good contribution for pulling up Chelsea at home and in Europe. If you look back to the start of this season then you can easily remember that Chelsea did not have a good start to this season and struggled a lot. So, I think that Frank Lampard can be a key player in the Champions league final match.


Team Formation: Chelsea

Defense of Chelsea

Actually, I am not yet sure which formation Chelsea coach Avram Grant would adopt for the Champions League final against Manchester United. However, regardless of 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 formation, it is pretty sure that there would be at least four men in Chelsea’s back line.

Ricardo Carvalho and John Terry are two automatic choices for two central defense positions, with Terry being the left centre back and Carvalho in the right. Though there are some concerns over the recovery of Carvalho and Terry from injury, reports have it that both of them will be fit by the time Chelsea vs Manchester United match kicks off. Chelsea also has some talented full backs in the squad. Left back Ashley Cole is expected to in the starting line up for the final match, while Wayne Bridge remains as a good option for manager Avram Grant. For the right back position, there are a number of competitors in the squad, which is definitely an always welcome problem for Avram Grant. Serbian Branislav Ivanović, Portuguese Paulo Ferreira and Brazilian Juliano Belletti all are specialist right back. Belletti came as substitute in the last match against Bolton Wanderers and I do not think Branislav Ivanović, who has not played his debut match for Chelsea yet, will be given his first chance in such an important match. Moreover, versatile Michael Essien is also very effective in the right back position. In fact, in the last match, he was assigned in that position. The back four will get enough help from the defensive midfielder, be it Claude Makélélé or John Obi Mikel.

Midfield of Chelsea

I think, choosing the best possible midfield combination would be the toughest job for Mr. Grant. As I am not yet confirmed about the formation Chelsea is going to feature against Manchester United, I think, it could be five-man, four-man or even three-man midfield. Whatever it is, one this, for sure, is that there would be one holding midfielder and Claude Makélélé might get the preference considering his vast experience. In that case, John Obi Mikel will be in the substitutes’ bench waiting for some late action in the match. Both of them are very hardworking players. In the central midfield, Grant has two of the best players of this position: Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard. Ballack will be playing in the right side, while Lampard on his left. However, if Mr. Grant wants to play Ballack or Lampard as deep-lying forward behind the playing in the up front, then Michael Essien could take up the job of centre midfielder. Then come two wingers, who are very important in the build-up of Chelsea’s attack.

Joe Cole is playing in the right wing pretty successfully, where Shaun Wright-Phillips can be a good option for Grant in the same position. In the left wing, Florent Malouda is playing pretty much consistently. That is why, I think, Florent Malouda is going to make it to the starting line up. As Chelsea has a bunch of excellent and creative footballers, most importantly a big squad, I think, Avram Grant could be thinking of sporting a diamond formation in the midfield, in which there would be no wingers, but will have diversity in Chelsea’s attack.

Striker of Chelsea

As I said earlier that I do not know which formation Avram Grant is going to choose for the final match, it is pretty tough to guess which strikers are coming into the starting line up. Will Grant try to be little bit aggressive from the very beginning? If yes, then I think, 4-5-1 would not be a good one to go for. Rather, 4-4-1-1 could be an effective formation, in which Didier Drogba will be in the up front and either Ballack or Lampard will be playing behind him as a deep-lying centre forward. However, if Chelsea wants to play safe in the beginning, then he might think about 4-5-1 formation in which Didier Drogba would be the solitary man in the upfront.

I know, you are thinking about Andriy Shevchenko, wing forward Salomon Kalou and Nicolas Anelka, besides Didier Drogba. If Mr. Grant wants to go for 4-3-3 formation, then striker Didier Drogba might play in the middle with Andriy Shevchenko in the right side and either Salomon Kalou or Nicolas Anelka in the left. In 4-3-3, all the three front line men have to play deep with two wide players cutting inside out. However, to be honest, playing Drogba, Shevchenko and Anelka together in the starting line up would not be that much effective.

Goalkeeper of Chelsea

This is perhaps the easiest call by Avram Grant. Czech international Petr Cech has been the first choice goalkeeper for Chelsea since he joined the West London club in 2004. Though initially he had to compete with Carlo Cudicini to win a regular place in the starting line up of Chelsea, he did not take time to prove his talent once he was given the chance. Now, Carlo Cudicini has been spending time regularly in the side line. Chelsea has experienced Henrique Hilário as its third choice goalkeeper.

Chelsea projected 21 clean sheets during English Premier League 2007-2008 thanks to Petr Cech and its strong defense. Chelsea conceded only 26 goals in premier league this season, while in Champions League; Chelsea suffered seven goals from nine matches until the semi final match of the tournament. I think, Petr Cech has to be at his best in the final because he is going to face the players like Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez in the final.

My First Eleven for Chelsea

I think, 4-4-1-1 should be the best formation for Chelsea, but initially they can start with 4-5-1 formation in order to have a good control in the midfield. However, Chelsea has a good bunch of footballers who could be lethal in 4-4-1-1 formation. In the back four, I think, Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Michael Essien should be included in the starting line up for the Champions League final against Manchester United. Essien has the versatility as a player and the quality to play on almost all parts of the field. So, he can easily go up overlapping other midfielders which could be problematic for the opposition defenders.

For the midfield, I think, there are many options. However, Claude Makélélé should come in as a holding midfielder to support the defense and he can make a link between defense and midfield. Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack can make a good combination in the central midfield, while Joe Cole and Florent Malouda should be in right and left wings respectively. I think, Michael Ballack should start in the centre midfield, but with time progresses he should play as a deep-lying centre forward in order to bring diversity in Chelsea’s attack. In the up front, Ivorian striker Didier Drogba is worth enough to rely on.

Team Formation: Manchester United

Defense of Manchester United

Manchester United has one of the most formidable defenses in Europe. Though I am not yet confirmed which formation Alex Ferguson will go for, I think, there will be four men in the back line of Manchester United. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic play in right and left centre back respectively, while Wes Brown has become an automatic choice for the right back position. In the left back, Patrice Evra has been playing regularly. However, John O'Shea and Mikaël Silvestre also have the talent to make impression in the left back. So, Ferdinand, Vidic, Brown and Evra are the regular back four for Manchester United.

Midfield of Manchester United

Manchester United has a number of talented footballers in the midfield. If Manchester United plays in 4-4-2 combination, then I think, it would work well for Mr. Ferguson’s side. In the right wing, Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be a threat for the opposition teams. Either Owen Hargreaves or Michael Carrick should play as a holding central defender. I do not think that playing both Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick in the midfield would be effective. However, sometimes Owen Hargreaves is seen playing in the right back position, leaving the job of holding midfielder to Michael Carrick. This happened in the second leg semi final match against Barcelona.

In the right central midfield, Paul Scholes is playing pretty well. Darren Fletcher is an effective option for Ferguson in the right central midfield. In the left central midfield, Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-Sung are excellent. Both Giggs and Sung are attacking midfielders with the ability to play in the left wing. Giggs can play as a second striker as well. However, Manchester United has a specialist left winger Portuguese international Nani. Last but not the least, Alex Ferguson could feature Anderson who has the versatility of playing both as a winger and as an attacking midfielder. He is termed as a box-to-box midfielder referring his ability to play all over the ground. Thus, he can make creative attacking map for Manchester United.

Striker of Manchester United

In the 4-4-2 formation, there are two strikers upfront. In Manchester United, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez have made a threatening combination for the opposition defenders. If both Tevez and Rooney come in the starting line up, then they can play together in the upfront, otherwise Carlos Tevez could play as a second striker behind Wayne Rooney. Injury plagued striker Louis Saha is less likely to play in the starting line up, but could come in as a substitute.

Goalkeeper of Manchester United

Manchester United has perhaps the most experienced goalkeepers among the European clubs. Edwin van der Sar has become the automatic choice for manager Sir Alex Ferguson for the last few years. At 37, the Dutch goalkeeper is still playing for Netherlands national team pretty successfully. I think, it is enough to understand the credibility of a goal keeper. Interestingly, he is going to play his 100th match for Manchester United in the final against Chelsea. So, he will have the motivation to celebrate his 100th match for Manchester United by winning Champions league title. The veteran goalkeeper has the past experience of winning Champions league title as he was part of the 1995 Champions League winning side Ajax. Since joining Manchester United in 2005, he played 99 matches for Manchester United.

Edwin van der Sar suffered only 22 league goals, lowest among the 20 Premier League teams. Manchester United did not concede any goal in 21 matches this season in premier league. In Champions League, Manchester United conceded only 5 goals from 9 matches so far until semi final stage. So, it is pretty good performance for the goal keeper and their defense. Manchester United’s second choice is Polish goal keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, who played nine matches for Manchester United since he joined in 2007. Third choice keeper Ben Foster played only one match for Manchester United so far since he joined in 2005. Then comes Tom Heaton, a young English keeper, who played for the youth team of Manchester United, and has not yet made any senior team appearance.

My Starting Line up for Manchester United

I think, Manchester United should play in 4-4-2 formation. The probable best four players are Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Nemanja Vidić and Patrice Evra. In the midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani should be in the two wings of Manchester United. In the central midfield, I think, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick should be in the starting line up. However, Owen Hargreaves and Ryan Giggs could also be an effective central midfield combination with Park Ji-Sung and Anderson in the substitute’s bench. Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez can make a strong striking partnership in the upfront of Manchester United.

Chelsea Coach

Chelsea coach Avram Grant has joined the club during this season shortly after his predecessor José Mourinho resigned last September. Since then, the Israeli coach has gone though a tough time without getting much support from the fans. He had to cope up with a series of injury problems in the team. Chelsea finished second in the league with two points behind Manchester United and failed to win the Carling Cup title being defeated to Tottenham Hotspur in the final. However, Avram Grant has done something that no other Chelsea coach could do so far and that is he has led Chelsea to the final of Champions League for the first time in the history of European football.

Still, there is speculation over his future in the club. Many think, he would be sacked after this season. That means, Chelsea’s showdown against Manchester United is the last for Grant in charge of Chelsea. However, nothing is confirmed yet. So, it seems that Grant’s future at Chelsea depends on Chelsea’s performance in the final match of Champions League. If Chelsea ends up winning their first ever Champions League trophy, then it seems Avram Grant could save his job this time. However, Mr. Grant does not want to think about it now, rather he wants to remain totally focused on the upcoming Champions League final match against Manchester United. So, you can understand how much important the match is for Avram Grant. However, personally I think, Chelsea should give him another season so that he gets enough time to prove his worth as a coach. In fact, some of his decisions in some of the big matches in English premier league received critics’ applaud.

Manchester United Coach

While Chelsea coach Avram Grant is under pressure, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson now seems to be very confident. He has just won the premier league title. So, naturally, he does not have as much pressure as Grant is facing.

Alex Ferguson has already become a legend of Manchester United winning all of the titles an English club can win. Since he joined the club in 1986 succeeding Ron Atkinso, Ferguson led Manchester United to win ten Premier League titles, five FA Cup, two League Cup and seven FA Community Shield titles. Comparatively, Manchester United managed pretty less success in Champions League as the club won only one Champions League title under Ferguson. Since winning the title of 1999, this is the first time Manchester United has reached the final of Champions League. So, you can easily understand how much desperate Sir Alex Ferguson could be to another Champions League title. The Scottish manager is considered to be one of the most prominent coaches of today’s football. So, Ferguson will not leave any stone unturned to stave off the challenge of Chelsea in the Moscow final.

Chelsea vs Manchester United: Online Live Score

I think, football fans around the world are now eagerly waiting for this match. Those who are not fortunate enough to attend the match in Moscow, will definitely watch it on television. However, even if you can not watch it on television due to your personal or professional works, then you can visit online live score and updates websites for the updates score of the match. For your convenience, I am giving some links of online live score and update websites:

Live Score

Goalzz

Footie Scorez

Sportpress

Goal.com

Actually, it is more than a big match, more than a high profile match. So, it is more than tough to predict on this match. There is no doubt, two dominant teams of Europe have reached the final and both the clubs have enough quality to win the title of Champions League. So, I just hope to see a classic final in Moscow because there is everything needed to make it a mind blowing match. So, hold on your breath and wait for the kick off of the match.

1 comment:

  1. Chelsea and Man u both has 50|50 chances of winning. Pressure on the both sides and managers too. Both likes to sweep the title away with the end of season. Hopefully we can see a great match of football in the end of season 07/08

    For the Match preview, Watching LIVE ONLINE, Highlights of the final Manchester United VS Chelsea on http://all-football-videos.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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