Red alert at the Bridge!
Chelsea must avenge their 2008 Champions League final defeat by Manchester United or face a trophyless season if they lose the all-English quarter-final which kicks-off at Stamford Bridge.sports Updated: Apr 06, 2011 01:26 IST
Chelsea must avenge their 2008 Champions League final defeat by Manchester United or face a trophyless season if they lose the all-English quarter-final which kicks-off at Stamford Bridge.
Defeat for Chelsea, 11 points behind United in the Premier League title race with eight games to play, would put manager Carlo Ancelotti under huge pressure less than a year after he led the team to a league and FA Cup double.
The Italian knows his future is on a knife-edge after an uneven season and recent history between the two clubs suggests that the Champions League tie, which concludes at Old Trafford next Tuesday, will be decided by the slimmest of margins.
Only two of their last 11 competitive matches have been settled by more than one goal, while their most famous meeting, the Champions League final in Moscow, went to penalties.
Chelsea go into the match with a good record at home against United. They are unbeaten in their last 10 matches against Alex Ferguson’s men, including last month’s Premier League game when they came from behind to win 2-1 with a goal from David Luiz and a Frank Lampard penalty.
Chelsea’s front men, however, have been lacklustre with Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Salomon Kalou and Fernando Torres scoring just three goals in their last nine matches.
Torres, two months after his 50 million-pound move from Liverpool, is still looking for his first goal for Chelsea after eight appearances, and might start on the bench.
Chelsea drew 1-1 at Stoke City on Saturday, though they played better than the result suggested, and Ancelotti is looking forward to Wednesday’s game.
“The condition of the players is good psychologically and physically. We don't have any problems and we are ready to play United. We have the confidence to do our best and win,” he said.
“We know that United have the same opinion. It will be a very exciting game, a very tough game. We know everything about Manchester United and they know everything about us. Whoever deserves to win, will win.”
Barca favourites against Shakhtar
Barca need to be careful of complacency after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Villarreal and focus fully on the Shakhtar match, Villa said.
“When you come into a game after losing or drawing everyone knows you have to put it behind you and concentrate on the next match, but the same thing holds true if you’ve just won.
“Now we have to try and play well, win and get a good result for the second leg.”
Shakhtar, who recorded a shock 3-2 win at the Nou Camp in December 2008 before Barca went on to win the final, have defensive problems.
Centre back Dmytro Chygrynskiy, who had an unsuccessful spell at Barca last season, is struggling to recover from a minor injury.