Both Chelsea and Manchester United earned midweek first-leg draws in the first knockout round of the Champions League, and even though United’s came away from home.
United played 0-0 against Sevilla, and Chelsea’s came at home, 1-1 against Barcelona, the general consensus has been that it’s the Blues who can look upon their efforts with pride and confidence.
But one game does not define the season, especially in a sequence of 5-6 big games, which now includes the FA Cup quarterfinal against Leicester City after the second leg against Barcelona.
The draw against Barcelona in the first leg is all well and good, especially since it took a gift for Barca to equalise, but if Chelsea don’t follow that up with good performances in the other two competitions.
Chelsea will look to take it one match at a time of course, and not just because that’s cliche. It’s the only way to stay concentrated, pay great attention, demonstrate a winning mentality, and finish the season strong.
Manchester United team news:
Mourinho will be without two key soldiers, Ander Herrera and Maroune Fellaini. (As well as less impactful absences for Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, and Daley Blind.)
Does that mean José will look to play football? He did talk down the personal feud with Conte, just like Conte did. Still, probably not.
That’s not really his style, especially in big games. Then again, after laboring to the aforementioned 0-0 draw at Sevilla, which needed a couple David De Gea specials to stay scoreless, that may be the smart and practical choice as well for The Pragmatic One.
Chelsea team news:
Ross Barkley is back in light training, but his hamstring issue remains. Bakayoko and David Luiz remain out as well with unconfirmed injuries.
Everyone from the head coach on down to all the players and probably the kit men, too, are saying the same things about confidence and making a good fist of things and so on.
But Chelsea haven’t won at Old Trafford since almost five years ago, when Juan Mata (now one of the bad guys) scored a late winner, Rafael got sent off, and David Luiz smiled a big smile.
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