With Manchester United set to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, much of the pre-match talk will surround John Terry and Rio Ferdinand. Will Rio snub JT at the pre-game respect handshakes? Will someone call for the handshakes to be abandoned once again? Should Terry be banished from the England set up for the Euros? It’s a bit of a shame that we won’t be wondering how Chelsea will cope with United’s wingers without Ashley Cole? Or how Chelsea plan on stopping Scholes and Carrick from controlling the midfield? And will Fernando Torres ever score a goal again?
While wondering who is likely to come out on top in the head-to-head battles in Sunday’s showdown, it got me thinking: who might win in a match between a whole team of John Terrys and a team Rio Ferdinands…
11 Daniel Sturridges vs 11 Danny Welbecks – Both have shone for their clubs this season and the pair could be fighting it out for a place in Fabio Capello’s squad for Euro 2012.
Verdict: Sturridge would carry more of a goal threat than Welbeck in this one and would also be better at creating chances from the flanks. But the Daniel Sturridge selected to keep goal would be unhappy with his position and would be unlikely to try, while Welbeck actually looks quite composed as a keeper. Ultimately, it’s goals that will win this one though and Sturridge prevails.
11 Juan Matas vs 11 Paul Scholes’ – Chelsea and Manchester United’s most creative players by some distance.
Verdict: Had this contest taken place a few years ago, not many would doubt that Scholes would have easily overcome the challenge of Juan Mata. The United midfielder has the vision to create and the ability to finish with aplomb. But after taking the lead, he becomes frustrated when Mata skins him with a fine piece of skill and lashes out, getting himself sent off. With his team down to 10 men, the Matas are able pass Scholes to death tiki-taka style and fightback to earn a draw.
11 Fernando Torres’ vs 11 Dimitar Berbatovs – Chelsea’s misfiring £50million man and United’s gifted but lacklustre £30million man have both had disappointing seasons so far.
Verdict: With his opponents standing around on the sidelines smoking, the team of Fernando Torres’ is able to create chance after chance, despite some heavy touches. The Berbatov in goal is leaning against the post, looking far from prepared to dive around in this one. But the misfiring Fernandos are incapable of hitting the target as the Dimitars look on with indifference. Towards the end of the game, the moody Bulgarian decides he would actually like to win and performs a series of exquisite flicks, tricks and one-twos with himself, bamboozling the Torres defence, before slotting home nonchalantly to win the game.
Don’t ask me who’ll win the actual game on Sunday, mind.