Manchester United‘s match away to Chelsea this Sunday has just gotten even harder for the Red Devils, who will have to face the Blues without star forwards Wayne Rooney, who is out with a groin injury, and Robin Van Persie, who hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring in December. Unfortunately for United, the injury bug has hit, as it usually does during this time of the year, and it could not have come at a worse time for David Moyes‘ side.
United have struggled all season to keep pace with the top three teams of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, and Sunday’s game is a make-or-break type situation for the defending champions. Moyes has not enjoyed a good start to his career at United, who are currently sitting in seventh place and 14 points behind league leaders Arsenal. With the media, fans and players seemingly all against Moyes, he needs to get his side back to its winning ways, as qualifying for the Champions League should be the minimum expectation for a team as storied as United.
To be honest, United’s season is on the line against a Chelsea side that is in great form, and Blues manager Jose Mourinho has built a side that believes that they will be lifting the title come May. If United fail to win, their chances of making a title push, or even a spot in the top four, are effectively over. It is truly a dire situation for the Red Devils, who aren’t helped by the fact that Moyes has never won an away match against the traditional top four teams in his career.
Not that many away teams win matches at Chelsea anyway, though. Mourinho has turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress, and the Special One hasn’t lost at home while in charge of Chelsea for 70 games. In order for United to break a record like that, they will need to be near perfect on both offense and defense. But without the goal scoring threat of Van Persie and the creativity and drive of Rooney, United are a much different side.
Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez are quality forwards who will fill in for the injured duo, but with only nine goals between them, they are not quite the same threat as Rooney and Van Persie. Perhaps the only solace that United can take going into the game is that if they win or draw, they seriously damage Chelsea’s chances of winning the league. But if they lose, Moyes may soon be on his way out before he can even get going with one of England’s most legendary clubs.