Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chelsea Transfer Analysis Under Abramovich


Summer 2003

The new owner made a huge splash at the start of his tenure, and the outlay in that initial summer has never been matched again. The contrast between this and Claudio Ranieri's shoestring budget from the preceding summer was nothing short of breathtaking.

Biggest signing: Duff (£17m)

Best signing: Makelele (£16.8m)

Other arrivals: Crespo (£16.8m), Mutu (£15.8m), Veron (£15m), Bridge (£7m + Le Saux), Geremi (£7m), Joe Cole (£6.6m), Johnson (£6m), Smertin (£3.5m)

Total spend £111.5m (plus January arrival Parker (£10m))

Summer 2004

The arrival of Jose Mourinho as coach saw the arrival of a pair from his Champions League-winning squad at Porto, Marseille's Didier Drogba (who had impressed the coach when playing against Porto) and goalkeeper Petr Cech, who together with John Terry and Frank Lampard, complete the spine of today's side.

Biggest signing: Drogba (£24m)

Best signing : Cech (£7m)

Other arrivals : Carvalho (£20m), Ferreira (£13.2m), Robben (£12.5m), Tiago (£10m), Kezman (£5m)

Total spend £91.7m (plus January arrival Jarosik (£5m))

Summer 2005

There were two big arrivals in Essien and Wright-Phillips to supplement the title-winning squad, but in general it was the quietest summer since Abramovich's arrival - perhaps reflecting Jose Mourinho's satisfaction with his group.

Biggest/best signing: Essien (£24.4m)

Other arrivals : Wright-Phillips (£21m), Del Horno (£8m), L Diarra (£1m)

Total spend £54.4m (plus January arrival Maniche (loan))

Summer 2006

Spending was up on the previous summer, mainly due to the record arrival of Andrey Shevchenko, but the Blues started to recoup significant funds from the market for the first time in the Abramovich era. The departures of Eidur Gudjohnsen (£8m), Damien Duff (£5m) and Asier Del Horno (£4.8m) headed the exit list.

Biggest signing: Shevchenko (£30m)

Best signing: Ashley Cole (£5m plus William Gallas)

Other arrivals: Mikel (£16m), Boulahrouz (£9m), Kalou (£8m), Ballack (free), Hilario (free)

Total spend £68m

Summer 2007

A significant change in tack, with only £19m in fees leaving the Stamford Bridge coffers and a quartet of free transfers arriving. The £33m raked in from the sales of Arjen Robben, Lassana Diarra and Glen Johnson gave the Blues a transfer window profit for the first time under Abramovich, though January 2008 saw a substantial spend on Nicolas Anelka and Branislav Ivanovic.

Biggest/best signing : Malouda (£13.5m)

Other signings : Belletti (£5.5m), Pizarro (free), Ben Haim (free), Sidwell (free), Alex (free)

Total spend £19m (plus January arrivals Anelka (£15m), and Ivanovic (£9m))

Summer 2008

The arrival of Luiz Felipe Scolari saw a slight increase in summer spending, with the signings of Portugal internationals Bosingwa and Deco. Again, major funds were generated by the departures of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Tal Ben Haim (both Manchester City), Khalid Boulahrouz (Stuttgart) and Steve Sidwell (Aston Villa).

Biggest/best signing : Bosingwa (£16.2m)

Other signings : Deco (£8m), Mineiro (free)

Total spend £24.2m (plus January arrival Quaresma - on loan from Inter)

Summer 2009

Carlo Ancelotti's arrival heralded a quiet summer, with the new coach opting for the sort of stability that had characterised his spell in charge of Milan. Ancelotti had an eye on the future, with the arrival of Russian international Yury Zhirkov supplemented by the arrival of three young prospects.

Biggest/best signing : Zhirkov (£18m)

Other signings : Sturridge (£3.5m), Matic (£1.5m), Turnbull (free)

Total spend £23m

Courtesy :: Goal.com

Chelsea in pursuit for the Domestic Double


Chelsea 7 - 0 Stoke

Salomon Kalou's hat-trick helped a rampant Chelsea thrash Stoke and return to the top of the Premier League.
Kalou headed home Didier Drogba's cross before Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen sustained a dislocated elbow as Kalou slid in to score his second goal.
Lampard made it 3-0 from the spot after Robert Huth fouled Kalou, who then ran clear to complete his hat-trick.
Lampard hooked home a fifth and Daniel Sturridge's cool finish and a Florent Malouda tap-in completed the rout.
Chelsea move a point clear at the summit with two games to go and their performance was an emphatic response to last week's defeat by Tottenham that had given Manchester United renewed hope in the title race.
United had beaten Spurs on Saturday to overhaul the Blues at the top of the table but, before they faced Stoke, Carlo Ancelotti's side still knew that they would win the Premier League for the first time since 2006 if they won their three remaining matches.
If the Blues felt the pressure, they did not show it; pouring forward from the start.
And, while next weekend's visit to face Liverpool at Anfield is seen as Chelsea's most problematic fixture, the Potters are not known for being easily rolled over so the manner in which Ancelotti's side went about their task was even more impressive.
Ashley Cole, making his first appearance since suffering an ankle injury on 10 February, came close to breaking the deadlock early on, following up after Sorensen had pushed away Lampard's 25-yard effort but seeing the Dane keep out his snap-shot.
Sorensen produced an even better stop to save Drogba's near-post header from Paulo Ferreira, before Drogba fired wildly over after he had taken the ball around the Potters keeper.
It seemed just a matter of time until Chelsea made the breakthrough, and their opening goal duly arrived on 24 minutes.
Drogba brought down Malouda's cross-field pass with a brilliant touch and sent over an inviting cross from the right for Kalou to stoop and head home from close range.
A second goal quickly followed but there was controversy over the way Kalou followed up Lampard's first-time shot to put the ball in the net, with Sorensen taken to hospital after being caught by his wild challenge for the loose ball.
Stoke could also be unhappy about referee Steve Bennett's decision to let Lampard extend Chelsea's lead from the spot before the break, as Huth tangled with Kalou outside the box but the winger stayed on his feet until he got inside the area.
With the game all but won, there was an element of lethargy about the Blues at the start of the second half and it appeared they were happy to save their energy for that crunch clash with Liverpool on 2 May.

Stoke had 'backsides slapped' - Pulis

But the final 21 minutes saw a glut of goals which reflected the home side's complete dominance and could also prove crucial should the title come down to goal difference.
First Lampard released Kalou, who cut in from the right and fired home the rebound after Stoke's replacement keeper Asmir Begovic saved his first effort.
Malouda then somehow failed to convert Nicolas Anelka's cross despite being virtually on the goal-line and he was also denied by Begovic's instinctive save.
There was no stopping Chelsea, however, and Sam Hutchinson's superb cross from the right was brilliantly turned in by Lampard at the far post, for his 20th league goal of the season.
Before the end, Drogba set Sturridge free to round Begovic and slot home his first league goal since joining Chelsea.
And with the Stoke defence in pieces, Malouda met Joe Cole's low cross to score number seven from close range and round off a stunning victory.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis:
"Chelsea were very good but we turned up and one or two were complacent, we've got to be 100% to compete in this company and we weren't.
"They were far the better team, we were lucky to get nil. We had our pants pulled down and our backsides slapped.
"The team means 11 players having a go not five or six, we were poor we didn't make it very difficult for them."

Tottenham 2 - 1 Chelsea


Tottenham stunned Chelsea to blow the Premier League title race wide open with a second derby win in four days.
Manchester United's earlier victory at rivals City had pulled them to within a point of leaders Chelsea - but the Blues succumbed to an inspired Spurs.
Jermain Defoe opened the scoring from the spot after John Terry's handball and Gareth Bale slammed in a second.
Terry saw red for two bookings before Frank Lampard's late reply, but Spurs held on to move above City into fourth.
It means with three games to go, including a tricky trip to Liverpool on 2 May, Chelsea remain top of the table but with United breathing closely down their neck and Arsenal six points behind with a game in hand.
Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti will also be without captain Terry for their next game - against Stoke City - through suspension following a red card few can argue with after two poor tackles.
As for Tottenham, they now have a two-point cushion over fifth-place Manchester City following a couple of wins that not only give their push for a Champions League spot a huge fillip but also delighted a buzzing White Hart Lane crowd.
Manchester United, chasing an historic fourth successive Premier League crown, got the favour from Spurs they had hoped for, having beaten City in the lunchtime kick-off before Harry Redknapp's men took three points from Chelsea.
But even the most optimistic of United fans will have failed to have foreseen a Spurs performance that confounded those who thought the north Londoners would run out of steam on the back of a jam-packed week.
This was an outstanding display. Bale was superb on the left, Luka Modric controlling in the middle, and Michael Dawson a rock at the back.
And, just as he did in the derby win over Arsenal on Wednesday, goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes once again came up with the goods on the odd occasion he was called upon.
Not that that was very often as the home side came up against an out-of-sorts Chelsea side.
Florent Malouda forced a smart save from Gomes just seven minutes in with a 25-yard stinger, but otherwise it was the hosts who enjoyed the better of the chances.
Roman Pavlyuchenko and Bale had already had snap-shots either saved or cleared when the latter went down in the box under a forceful challenge from Jon Obi Mikel.
Referee Phil Dowd ruled the Chelsea man had got the ball, but the decision went in Tottenham's favour just a minute later when Terry handled Bentley's cross.
Defoe, who had missed six of his last 10 penalties, made no such error this time, drilling an unstoppable spot-kick into the corner with Petr Cech diving the wrong way.
The visitors responded briefly when Didier Drogba's half-chance was easily saved, but at the other end Pavlyuchenko forced Cech to tip over the bar from range before David Bentley was denied a second from six yards out by Terry's outstretched leg.
The west Londoners thought they had levelled when Malouda slid home from Yuri Zhikov's pass, but the Frenchman was correctly ruled offside.
And then, six minutes later, Tottenham doubled their lead, Bale cutting inside full-back Paulo Ferreira and slamming in at the near post with his weaker right foot.
Redknapp's men then had their keeper to thank for the fact they went in at the break two goals to the good, after Gomes spectacularly beat away Lampard's fierce volley from 16 yards out.

Title still in our hands - Ancelotti

Ancelotti responded by making a double half-time substitution - Nicolas Anelka and Branislav Ivanovic coming on for Joe Cole and the tormented Ferreira - to add to his earlier replacement of the injured Mikel with Michael Ballack.
However, at the restart Drogba appeared to double up with pain in his groin, prompting the Blues to appeal to change their substitution. Dowd refused, though, and the game continued with the Ivorian looking far from fully fit.
Immediately, it could - and arguably should - have been three, Defoe sent through on goal by Pavlyuchenko's pass but Cech, standing tall, producing a fine stop to tip the England man's shot wide.
Still, Chelsea's frustrations were only heightened when Terry saw red for two bookings in three minutes, the second a clear trip on Bale that the visiting captain can have few complaints about.
From then on in, Tottenham could have scored a hatful. Cech tipped a brilliant Bentley lob over, saved at his near post from Bale, before watching the hosts waste a succession of chances on the break as Chelsea pressed late on - Pavlyuchenko and Bale, again, guilty of firing wide when well placed.
In reply, Chelsea enjoyed some possession but few chances - only really looking a threat after Lampard had slid Ballack's cross home in injury time.
It was far too little, too late, though, and Tottenham deservedly held on for a precious win that will be as gratefully received in Manchester as on both sides of north London.

Chelsea 1 - 0 Bolton


Chelsea moved four points clear of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League after beating Bolton.
The hosts were never at their free-flowing best but took the lead just before half-time when Nicolas Anelka headed home a Didier Drogba cross.
Bolton struggled to create chances but could have had two penalties when John Terry and Drogba appeared to handle.
Frank Lampard hit the post and Terry fired wide, while Johan Elmander should have levelled but wasted a header.
The victory was not as simple as predicted by some observers - United boss Sir Alex Ferguson the most notable - but at this stage of the season, style is hardly a top priority.
Chelsea's victory was their fifth in succession since their exit from the Champions League and with only four games remaining this season, they are now on the brink of winning the title.

Ferguson's suggestion that the game at Stamford Bridge represented an "easy" three points for Carlo Ancelotti's side proved inaccurate.
Bolton huffed and puffed admirably, particularly in the first half, and could easily have been awarded two spot-kicks on another night.
But the grim reality for Owen Coyle's side is they have now suffered four consecutive league defeats and will continue to look nervously over their shoulders as the relegation battle comes to a head.
Coyle can take many positives away from west London, however. Bolton were anything but pushovers in the opening stages, harassing their more esteemed opponents at every opportunity.
Kevin Davies again made his presence felt up front, none more so than in an accidental clash of heads with Yuri Zhirkov that left the Russian with blood pouring from his scalp.
The best Chelsea could manage early on was a Drogba free-kick that stung the gloves of Jussi Jaaskelainen and bounced behind off Salomon Kalou, with Bolton more than equal to their hosts for long periods.
Drogba had a second chance with another free-kick shortly after but dragged his shot wide, prompting frustration to surface in the stands.
Those concerns were not helped when Bolton had strong appeals for a penalty turned down despite the ball appearing to strike Drogba's arm.
But three minutes from half-time, Drogba picked up the ball on the left and delivered a teasing cross that was easily converted by an unmarked Anelka to put Chelsea ahead.
It was harsh on Coyle's side after an industrious display. Anelka's muted celebration - a possible show of respect against his old club - would not have eased the disappointment.
Drogba took his time to warm up in the first half but wasted little time in making an impact after the break, setting up Kalou with a neat pass only for his Ivorian team-mate to shoot straight at Jaaskelainen.

Zhirkov, back in full swing after a brief spell with his head bandaged, then surged down the left and forced a shot that was well kept out by Jaaskelainen.
Bolton struggled to create many chances at the other end but were unfortunate not to win a penalty when a cross from Chung-Yong Lee deflected off Terry's upper arm.
Coyle and the Bolton coaching staff were furious on the sidelines and TV replays showed they may have had a case.
Chelsea survived though and pushed forward looking for a goal to make the game safe.
Lampard hit the post with a trademark long-range drive and Terry fired just wide with a well-struck shot off the outside of his right foot.
But Bolton never gave up hope and really should have equalised in the dying minutes when Elmander headed limply wide before Ivan Klasnic shot across the face of goal.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Goals : Chelsea 3-0 Astonvilla


Chelsea cruise into FA cup finals ( Aston Villa 0 - 3 Chelsea)


Holders Chelsea moved a step closer to the club's first Double by seeing off a stubborn Aston Villa side to reach the FA Cup final for the second successive year.
In a game largely ruined by the latest incarnation of the much-maligned Wembley pitch, Didier Drogba broke the deadlock midway through the second half before late goals by Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard made the scoreline look more emphatic than was deserved.
Villa responded to losing 7-1 to the Premier League leaders a fortnight earlier with a performance of industry and desire and their manager Martin O'Neill will also believe his side should have had a first-half penalty when Jon Mikel Obi clumsily felled Gabriel Agbonlahor inside the area.
O'Neill was hoping for his first FA Cup final in 40 years as a player and manager but instead it will be Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, in his first season in the English game, who will lead his side out against Tottenham or Portsmouth on 22 May.
Hopefully, that game will take place on a different surface after the Wembley pitch, which was re-laid for the 10th time after England's win over Egypt in last month's friendly, again proved hopelessly inadequate for a showpiece match.
Players from both sides struggled to stay on their feet in the opening stages and it seemed to particularly affect Chelsea, whose usual fluid style was nowhere to be seen in the first half hour, save for an individual effort by Joe Cole that saw him cut in from the left and fire narrowly wide.
As well as the turf, Villa were also doing their best to stop the Blues from hitting their stride by working hard to limit any space for Lampard in midfield and chasing back when Cole or Malouda tried to attack down the wings.
O'Neill's men were also growing in confidence coming forward and, after 15 minutes, they threatened for the first time when the industrious James Milner was unlucky to see his low shot skid inches wide.
That was the cue for a spell of concerted Villa pressure but it was Chelsea's turn to show resilience at the back, admittedly assisted by referee Howard Webb.
To most observers at Wembley, it looked a stonewall spot-kick when Agbonlahor turned Obi in the box before being bundled over but Webb, despite being perfectly placed, waved play on.
It was the second major decision to go against Villa at Wembley this season, following the incident in their Carling Cup final defeat at the hands of Manchester United that saw Nemanja Vidic avoid a red card when he conceded a penalty - and understandably O'Neill reacted furiously on the touchline after being denied again.
But, on the pitch, his players kept their focus and Chelsea were lucky to escape again when Petr Cech missed Stewart Downing's cross and only a flick from Terry diverted the ball out of John Carew's path at the far post.
The Blues did improve before the break and it took a brave block by Stephen Warnock to deny Drogba when he met Florent Malouda's pull-back from the left.

Defeat is hard to take - O'Neill

But, aside from a Cole snap-shot on the turn on the stroke of half-time, Ancelotti's men looked blunt going forward and were a shadow of the side that had plundered 14 goals in their three preious matches.
The chances had dried up for Villa too, however, and although Carew headed wide from Downing's corner in the first minute of the second-half, the game degenerated into a midfield scrap that was badly in need of a goal.
The breakthrough duly came after 67 minutes, with Drogba - as he has been so many times this season - in the right place at the right time to find the net.
Richard Dunne did brilliantly to deny the big Ivory Coast striker when he skipped inside James Collins and made for goal, but did rather less well from the resulting corner.
Dunne's headed clearance only reached John Terry on the edge of the area, and his first-time shot was turned in by Drogba, who was lurking inside the six-yard box.
That was not quite the end for Villa, who continued to come forward, but the balls they were hoisting into the box were laced more with hope than any real menace.
They might have had more hope had Webb chosen to send Terry off for his dreadful challenge on his England team-mate Milner, but the official decided a yellow card would suffice.
Instead, with O'Neill committing more and more men forward, Chelsea were left to exploit the gaps left at the back - which they did in ruthless fashion in the closing minutes.
Malouda rounded off a fine passing move with a sweet back-post finish to make it 2-0 and Lampard practically walked the ball into the net when he met substitute Nicolas Anelka's pass from another swift breakaway.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United Goals


Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United Pics


Chelsea Vs Manchester United

The Tactician

Malouda was in Excellent form 

Park showed some guts by trying some shots on target

Deco and Scholes fighting for the possesion
Drogba came in from the bench in Second half and Scored the decesive one
Macheda did netted the ball for ManU though it looked Hand ball

Chelsea conquered Old Trafford and claim the top of the Table


         Chelsea overpowered Manchester United in the much awaited "Clash of the Titans " to claim the first spot in Premier League table once again. If the things go smoothly from here onwards , The Blues may bring the Cup back to Stamford.

Drogba only emerged as a late substitute after being left on the bench in favour of Nicolas Anelka, but his priceless strike was a moment of triumph for coach Carlo Ancelotti and perfect reward for his bold tactical move.
Joe Cole's clever flick gave Chelsea a well-merited lead after 20 minutes as Sir Alex Ferguson's champions struggled for creativity with injured inspiration Wayne Rooney watching in frustration from the sidelines.
Drogba's goal looked to have sealed Chelsea's win, but Federico Macheda's scrambled effort - which also had a hint of handball - set up a grandstand finish in which Rooney's replacement Dimitar Berbatov wasted a glorious chance to equalise.
Chelsea, who had the game's outstanding performer in Florent Malouda, have produced the perfect response to their Champions League exit against Inter Milan and a tame draw at Blackburn. Twelve goals against Portsmouth and Aston Villa provided the platform and confidence for what could prove to be a pivotal victory.
United looked jaded after their midweek exertions in the Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich and they will rightly be furious at the manner of Drogba's debatable goal, but Chelsea were the more impressive team for long periods and have been swiftly reinstalled as title favourites.
Ancelotti created a stir with his starting line-up by keeping Drogba on the bench and retaining the team that thrashed Aston Villa 7-1. He saw his faith reap rich dividends as Chelsea dominated the first 45 minutes.
Chelsea were the sharper team in the early exchanges and it was no surprise when they took the lead with a goal that typified their approach.
Malouda, a player transformed from the struggles at the start of his Chelsea career, drove deep into United's penalty area and his low cross was cleverly flicked past Edwin van der Sar by Cole.
United, with Berbatov isolated, were left frustrated and this was illustrated by Paul Scholes, who was lucky to still be on the pitch after escaping with a late tackle from behind on Deco before being booked for a foul on Malouda.
Referee Mike Dean, at the centre of controversy after wrongly awarding Blackburn a penalty at Burnley last Sunday, was in the spotlight again as he waved away spot-kick appeals from both sides.
United felt Ji-Sung Park had been fouled by Yuri Zhirkov, while Chelsea believed Anelka had been bundled over by Gary Neville. Dean ignored the appeals, and, in his defence, both incidents were inconclusive.
Chelsea were inches away from a second goal shortly after the interval when Cole's perfectly weighted pass played in Paulo Ferreira, but the defender was indecisive in an attacking position and his half-hit effort rolled inches wide.
United finally managed to build momentum as the hour approached, and Berbatov stretched to direct Ryan Giggs' cross just off target.

Ancelotti responded by shuffling his resources in attack with 20 minutes left, replacing Anelka with Drogba, who was being watched from the stands by new Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.
And he demonstrated what he is all about within 10 minutes of entering the action, albeit in controversial circumstances. He raced on to Salomon Kalou's pass and buried a finish past Van der Sar, but he was at least a yard offside when he received the pass.

If Chelsea thought this would pave the way to a comfortable conclusion, they were thinking again inside two minutes as Macheda pulled a goal back for United. He bundled a finish over the line after Petr Cech half-cleared from Nani, although there was a suggestion of handball from the Italian.
In a predictably hectic finale, Berbatov should have levelled for United, only to volley Neville's cross straight at Cech.
It was the final act of the drama - and the Chelsea celebrations illustrated the significance of these three points.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Clash of the TITANS



Old Trafford will face the much awaited " clash of the TITANS " today with the table toppers Manchester United and Chelsea playing against each other today afternoon. The match may turn out to be a Final in prospect of Premier League title hunt as the two teams are separated by just one point in the table.

Manchester United will not have the service of inform striker and the leading goal scorer Wein Rooney as he picked up an injury during the Champions League clash with Bayern Munich. While Chelsea will feel much stronger as their main hit man Drogba came back to side after sidelined to last match with an injury.
Man Utd
Injured: Anderson (knee), Brown & Welbeck (both metatarsal), Owen (hamstring), Rooney (ankle)

Injured: Bosingwa, Essien & Ivanovic (all knee), Carvalho & A Cole (both ankle)

April could prove to be the cruellest month, at least for Manchester United fans. The Red Devils could be without star man Wayne Rooney for three crucial weeks after he damaged ankle ligaments in Tuesday's Champions League loss at Bayern Munich.

Wayne Rooney has had a fantastic season but his injury could be an advantage for us
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti

Rooney now faces an anxious wait to see if United's pursuit of Premier League and Champions League glory falters in his absence.
While Sir Alex Ferguson has lost his biggest goal threat, the headache for Carlo Ancelotti is how to find room for both of his front-line strikers. Perversely, Chelsea have produced some of their best performances without leading scorer Didier Drogba. His absence allows Nicolas Anelka to play a more advanced role, which in turn gives Frank Lampard more space in midfield.
Drogba was not involved in either of the Blues' seven-goal victories this season (against Aston Villa and Sunderland). Chelsea also had few problems coping without him during the Africa Cup of Nations, winning all five of their league and cup games in January. But with 10 goals in his last eight league games, dropping Drogba is not an option.
Ancelotti may feel now is a good time to visit Old Trafford, scene of his win in the 2003 Champions League final with AC Milan. The Red Devils have lost three of the four league games that have followed European away games this season.
The Italian, who has won five of his last six meetings with Sir Alex Ferguson, says Rooney's injury is a boost to Chelsea's title hopes, but he knows better than most that United will fight to the finish. Ancelotti was the Juventus coach when the Red Devils famously clawed back a two-goal deficit in Turin to reach the 1999 Champions League final.


• Chelsea and Man United have met 35 times in the Premier League, with the Blues winning 11, the Red Devils 10 and 14 games drawn.
• Manchester United are unbeaten in their last four home league games against Chelsea, winning three of those. The Blues' last win at Old Trafford was 3-1 on 10 May 2005.

• The Red Devils have won nine of their last 11 league games, scoring 30 goals in the process. The 3-1 loss at Everton is their only defeat in 14 top-flight games.
• Manchester United have won their last nine league games without Wayne Rooney, a run stretching back to December 2008.
• The Red Devils have conceded only nine league goals in 16 league games at Old Trafford this season. No Premier League club has a better defensive record on home soil.
• Manchester United have benefited from 11 own goals in this season's Premier League.
• The Blues have netted 82 goals in 32 league games, the highest tally in England.
• Chelsea have won their last five league matches against 'Big Four' clubs, keeping clean sheets in the last four of those victories.
• Didier Drogba has scored 10 goals in eight league matches since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations.


Man Utd
Rooney: 34 goals (26 league);
Berbatov: 12 goals (12 league)

Drogba: 30 goals (24 league); Lampard: 21 goals (17 league)
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistant referees: Simon Beck & Stephen Child
Fourth official: Chris Foy

Man Utd (W4-0 v Bolton, a): Van der Sar, Neville, Vidic, Jonathan Evans, Evra, Fletcher (Gibson 80), Scholes (Carrick 74), Valencia, Giggs (Macheda 84), Nani, Berbatov. Subs not used: Kuszczak, Park, Rafael Da Silva, De Laet.

Chelsea (W7-1 v Aston Villa, h): Cech, Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Zhirkov (Van Aanholt 76), Deco (Ballack 72), Mikel, Lampard, Joe Cole (Kalou 76), Anelka, Malouda. Subs not used: Turnbull, Drogba, Sturridge, Bruma.

Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd (8 November 2009)
Chelsea scorer: Terry 76

Chelsea demolish Aston Villains ( Chelsea 7-1 Astonvilla )


Frank Lampard passed the 150 goal mark for Chelsea as they threw the gauntlet down to Premier League pace-setters Manchester United by destroying Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard's four goals made him the third-highest scorer in the club's history eclipsing legends Roy Bentley and Peter Osgood with 151 goals.
His efforts, two from the penalty spot, were the centrepiece of an emphatic Chelsea victory as they followed up their 5-0 midweek win at Portsmouth with another goal-laden attacking display.
And as coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted the disappointment of their Champions League exit at the hands of Inter Milan may yet aid their attempts to regain the title, Chelsea's embarrassing superiority over a Villa side with sights set on the top four provides the perfect tonic for next Saturday's visit to Old Trafford.
It was a win made all the more impressive because it was achieved without main marksman Didier Drogba, who was rested on the substitutes' bench after picking up a knock in the victory at Fratton Park. To say he was not missed is an understatement.

Lampard gave Chelsea an early lead when he converted Florent Malouda's cross at the far post, but John Carew quickly put Villa level after good work by Ashley Young.
The game took a crucial twist right on half-time when Lampard put Chelsea back in front from the spot after Yuri Zhirkov was brought down by James Collins - and there was no way back for Villa as Ancelotti's side cut loose after the interval.
Malouda took advantage of more fine work from Zhirkov to beat Friedel, and Lampard completed his hat-trick with another penalty. He made his mark in Chelsea history by slipping his spot-kick comfortably past Villa keeper Brad Friedel after another run from the rampant Zhirkov drew a foul from Dunne.
Villa crumbled and Malouda piled on the agony after he was set up by Lampard and substitute Salomon Kalou made it six when he shot low past Friedel after Nicolas Anelka had been given what seemed like an age to turn in the area.
It was fitting that Lampard rounded off the rout with his fourth goal in the dying seconds, turning home his effort inside the area as Villa gave every impression of a side who simply could not wait for the whistle to sound.
And as if this was not enough to ignite ecstasy around Stamford Bridge, the roars were deafening as news of Birmingham City's late equaliser against Arsenal filtered through.
Villa actually made the brighter start and won a succession of corners, so it was against the run of play that Lampard made the breakthrough for Chelsea after 14 minutes. Villa's defence allowed Malouda's driven cross to fly right across the face of goal, leaving Lampard to steal in for a sliding finish at the far post.
The goal should have banished Chelsea's early uncertainty, but they were also guilty of defensive carelessness as Villa drew level just before the half-hour.
Again it was a cross that caused the problem as Young delivered into the area, Zhirkov appearing blissfully unaware of the giant Carew's presence behind him as he let the cross go, presenting the striker with the simplest of finishes.
Chelsea ended an undistinguished first half, which gave little hint of the riches to come, in the ascendancy as Lampard restored their lead from the spot a minute before the interval.
Referee Peter Walton pointed to the spot as Zhirkov went down under the challenge from James Collins as he raced into the area, leaving Lampard to thrash the penalty beyond Friedel.
If Villa had any plans to mount a second half revival, they were swept away as Chelsea ran riot after the break in brilliant fashion.
Malouda made it three for Chelsea after 57 minutes when he swept in Zhirkov's inviting cross - and the Russian was instrumental as they extended their lead, allowing Lampard to complet his treble from the spot five minutes later.
Zhirkov surged into the area and was upended by Dunne. Lampard stepped forward to beat Friedel again and reach his landmark goals tally.
Villa boss Martin O'Neill was pondering the introduction of Stewart Downing when the outstanding Malouda made it five after 68 minutes. Lampard filled the role of creator in another move that sliced Villa apart, simply rolling the ball into Malouda's path inside the area and he rifled a finish high past Friedel.
O'Neill's side had degenerated into a shambles, and Kalou and Lampard inflicted further late punishment before Villa were put out of their abject misery.
Second-placed Chelsea remain two points behind leaders Manchester United, who won 4-0 at Bolton in Saturday's late kick-off, and are now three points clear of third-placed Arsenal, who were held to a 1-1 draw at Birmingham
Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins:
"We have to keep winning. This is just another three points, although it is good to boost the goal difference.
"I tried to keep them going and even at the end we were pressing for eight.
"It was the perfect tonic before we go to Old Trafford next weekend. We fear nobody and we'll go there and play and hopefully we'll get the right result.
"Carlo Ancelotti is delighted and he's in there having a nice glass of red wine - good luck to him as he deserves it."
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:
"We were well beaten by a fine side but we were also masters of our downfall.
"We stopped competing at 3-1 and that's unforgivable. We had the possibility of going 2-2 but it went 3-1 and the floodgates opened.
"It was a desperately poor performance against admittedly a fine side. We are devastated and we have to fight back from this."