Former Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham feels that the club’s clash with Premier League leaders Chelsea this weekend bears some resemblance to the infamous ‘Pizzagate’ game between the Reds and Arsenal.
That game was 10 years ago today and Higginbotham says he can see the comparison. “It’s such a big game with two of the best clubs in the country, Chelsea are unbeaten and United are going through a transition so you can see that comparison,” he admits. “What I would say is that ten years ago, United at their best and Arsenal at their best ten years ago were two evenly matched sides. United are still finding their own way at the minute so it’s difficult to say, honestly, that both sides at their best are evenly matched, as for me, Chelsea look by far the strongest team in the league.”
In the past such words might sting the pride of United fans but most accept the transitional period this year as a development experience for Louis van Gaal and the new players. However, that doesn’t mean that results should be dismissed, and Sunday’s encounter is anticipated on its own merits.
With that in mind, Danny believes that the manager should play to his strengths, namely, in form players.
“I think United need to line up in a version of 4-4-1-1 with Fellaini behind the front man. He gives you a focal point, and means that you can go longer and bypass Chelsea’s midfield early on, getting them running back towards their own box,” explains Danny. “That’s what you want. It’s alright playing possession based intricate passes but if Chelsea get the ball you’re in trouble. You want to play longer balls in the first 15-20 minutes to get rid of the early counter attacks which they do so well. That way, the power of Falcao or pace of Di Maria can hopefully be utilised.”
United face Chelsea on Sunday at 4pm at Old Trafford.