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Battle at the Bridge

Vidic and Malouda challenge for the ball.


Chelsea host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge this Wednesday in what promises to be an epic Champions League quarter-final clash.

United may have one hand on the Premier League trophy but the Blues have been focussed on this competition from the outset and have a big hold over the Red Devils at Stamford Bridge.

In fact Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have not won in their last ten trips to the Bridge and have failed to score in five of their last eight visits.

Chelsea are without long-term absentees Alex and Yossi Benayou and the ineligible David Luiz but other than that Carlo Ancelotti boasts a clean bill of health amongst his squad.

Ferguson and Jonny Evans are available for United as their respective bans only apply to domestic football. Rio Ferdinand is still unavailable while Wes Brown and Darren Fletcher are doubtful.

The bookmakers have made Chelsea the short priced 6/5 favourites to take a lead into the second leg at Old Trafford next week. The draw is priced at 11/5 and a rare United win at the Bridge is priced at 13/5.

Wayne Rooney was on song on Saturday as he rescued three points for the Red Devils with his second half hat-trick at Upton Park. He is 6/1 to open the scoring this Wednesday.

Fernando Torres is yet to open his account with the Pensioners but does have an admirable goal scoring record against Manchester United. The former Liverpool striker had scored three in his previous four games against United before he made his £50million switch to the champions. He is quoted at 5/1 to break the deadlock here.

It is no secret that Roman Arbamovich’s biggest desire is to bring the Champions League trophy to Stamford Bridge. The January acquisition of Torres was seen as a direct attempt to give the club every chance of winning European football’s premier tournament.

With both sides priced at odds of 10/11 in the To Qualify market the bookmakers have offered a clear indication of just how evenly matched these two sides are. It may come down to which group of players can hold their nerve when it comes to the crunch.

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