Date: 5th April 2011 at 10:00pm
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Chelsea will host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, with both teams looking to settle a score with each other.

The Blues would hope to make amends after losing on penalty kicks in the final to the Red Devils back in 2008, and United are still feeling aggrieved about certain refereeing decisions that didn’t go their way during Chelsea’s 2-1 win against them last month.

But where will the key battles be during tomorrow’s game?

Jose Bosingwa v Luis Nani

As David Luiz is ineligible to play in the Champions League, I am expecting Branislav Ivanovic to partner John Terry in the centre of defence, which would mean that Bosingwa will keep the right-back spot he occupied against Stoke on Saturday.

Bosingwa once faced up against the best player in the world Lionel Messi and kept him quiet, but he hasn’t been himself for a while and this could be an area that United will be keen to exploit, especially as Nani is comfortable with both his right and left foot. Brazilian Ramires helped subdue Nani during the game last month and he may have to do a similar job tomorrow.

John Terry v Wayne Rooney

Rooney scored the last time these two sides met and after scoring a hat-trick at the weekend he will be high on confidence going into tomorrow’s game, but Terry knows the Manchester United striker well and will relish a duel against his England team-mate.

Terry is also capable of doing some damage at the other end of the pitch from set-pieces and has scored four goals for Chelsea this season. Ivanovic is another threat during dead ball situations and has scored five times this term.

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Ramires v Patrice Evra

Whether or not Chelsea stick with a 442 formation or revert back to a 433, Ramires will likely have to help out our right-back to nullify the threat of Nani.

But the Brazilian has boundless energy so getting up and down the park should be no problem for him, and with his ever improving form and confidence he could help double up on Evra when we are on the attack. The French left-back can sometimes become isolated and is not very comfortable on the back foot, which showed at the weekend when he appeared to be asleep in the first half against West Ham and gave a stupid penalty away.

Fernando Torres v Nemanja Vidic

There have been rumours that the Spaniard may start the game tomorrow on the bench as he did against Stoke at the weekend, but during his time at Liverpool the forward seemed to have something of a hex on Vidic and caused the Serb a fair few nightmares.

Vidic is adamant that he’s no more worried about Torres than he is any other forward, but if there’s a chance of exploiting any doubt in the defender’s mind (who looked shaky at the weekend) it could pay dividends. Of course Torres is yet to score his first goal for Chelsea, but this would be the perfect time to start doing so.

Where do you think the key battles will develop during tomorrow night’s clash against Manchester United?

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2 responses to “Chelsea v Manchester United – Key Battles”

  1. Karl Pilkington says:

    Torres vs The Bench.