|Manchester United – Our biggest rivals in the last decade.
Chelsea’s season in a nutshell so far, has been great. Before the last week of October, we stand top of the table, 4 points clear of the Manchester clubs, having beaten Arsenal and Tottenham away. Second in our UEFA Champions league group. But, even after facing Arsenal and Tottenham already, the tough part of the season begins now. October is ending, and we are facing Manchester United twice in the space of 3 days. A terrific Premier League encounter, followed by a Capital One Cup clash. In lieu of this heavyweight clash of the giant clubs, we take a look back at the rivalry which has become one of the biggest rivalries in the Premier League in the last decade.
Rivalries in football are born out of two things : Geographical proximity or repeated competition for honours between the clubs. And with about 170 miles and a lot of other establishments between them, it can only be a case of the latter, in this case. Chelsea and Manchester United weren’t really rivals prior to the Roman era, because there was no real fight for the title between the two clubs. But soon after Abramovich’s arrival in 2003, when Mourinho stepped in, Chelsea won their first league title after 1955 which sparked a rivalry between the two clubs. Mourinho’s Chelsea won 2 league titles, an FA cup, and 2 league cups in three years. Mourinho and Sir Alex were often involved in verbal battles many a times as well, making the atmosphere between the two more fierce. This also stoked the intensity of the game, making the players fired up to rise to the occasion.
Even when Mourinho departed, on which occasion Sir Alex had admitted to being upset that the league had lost “a young gunslinger who had come to town to challenge the old sheriff”, the rivalry formed did not dissolve, but lived on, only to keep getting stronger. The two clubs have faced each other many times after that, and all of those games have been huge games which have defined the course of the league title which makes the rivalry all the more intense. In recent years, this rivalry has become far bigger than any geographical rivalry, owing to the importance of the fixture where these two giants meet. Clashes between players and groundstaff, on field clashes, spectacular goals, this fixture has seen it all, and will probably keep seeing it, for the years to come.
Chelsea winning the Champions League makes it even more intense now, as both can be termed as European giants. Hopefully, we’re about to witness another footballing spectacle this Sunday. And hopefully, it’s THE 3 points, for the Blues.