Chelsea vs. Manchester United: The pages of history witness that this fixture includes goals in aplenty, spills and thrills in abundance. The time has finally come when history can repeat itself and present us some more mesmerizing moments worth remembering.
If predictions are to be believed, then, the Blues are the favorites ahead of this match but the Reds cannot be called the underdogs. With in-form players like Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney, it won’t be a piece of cake for the Blues. Both the teams will have to push themselves to the maximum to achieve a favorable score line.
Guus Hiddink vs. Louis Van Gaal have a long history with HIddink edging out 3-2 in their last 5 meeting in the all famous Ajax vs PSV clashes. A win and some retribution will be on Van Gaal’s minds as Chelsea take on United at Stamford Bridge later today.
Having achieved consistency, Guus Hiddink might be savoring a bit of relief but Van Gaal needs to focus on this match to reassure his future and here are the 3 things Van Gaal must do to beat Hiddink:
- Hampering Costa’s movement
If the Red Devils have any wishes of winning the clash, they will have to block this deadly Spaniard. Key passes, crosses and headers, nothing should fall in his way, otherwise, heads in hands for the Devils.
Chris Smalling will get the job of marking this man who seems to have rediscovered his touch, however, the whole team will have to create countless mishaps for him.
A couple of hard tackles might make the job easier for United. A strong physicality will be obviously needed to get the painful job done, and Smalling is just Van Gaal’s ideal man.
- Special attention to Lingard
While the Blues will be busy marking the double pivot of Martial and Rooney, Jesse Lingard can just do the job for the Devils, who have been performing up to the mark. The goal against the Potters was just the evidence.
So, instead of laying the whole duty to Martial and Rooney, ideal instructions should be assigned to Lingard, who most probably will be fulfilling the role of a right-wing. If he can draw the attention of the defenders or can push them back, Rooney will get the space to make a breakthrough.
Dutchman should prefer the triplet of Martial-Rooney-Lingard in terms of attack.
- Will attacks define the final outcome?
In such a tight game, the first goal shall be the decider, leaving no chances for the trailing team to pick up an equalizer. So, Van Gaal should revise his tactic twice before the kickoff. His defensive tactic might help him, but a handful of attacks might grab a win for his side. They are not having any shortage of attackers, then why should they set themselves back? When they prepare themselves for attack, they get the best results, like the mid-week win over stoke.
Yes, defenses win titles, but attacks win games.
Image credit: getty