So here we are. Not gigantic amounts can be read into who wins these games, neither for the following season’s champions nor for the form of the competing teams. But there is one thing I am interested in seeing from the fixture. What on earth is going to be United’s formation this season?
First name on the team sheet must surely be Ben Foster. With Van Der Sar injured this is a chance he has to take and it vindicates his decision to ignore the clubs who have shown him a bit of leg over the summer. He is a solid goalie but it remains to be seen how comfortable the defenders are with him between the sticks, that could be key.
Three of the back four pick themselves and we will need them to be totemic again this year . Whilst we certainly relied on Ronaldo for goals scored in the last two seasons the defence has also been paramount.
Being tough to beat is going to have to be our strongest quality at the start before all of these new strikers and wingers have been properly introduced. That could take some time, I can hear the crossing of a million fingers as I type this. It might take a few weeks to figure out our best line up and in that case there could be a late transfer at the end of August. This is how we got both Canotona and Yorke, so the precedent is decent.
My best guess is that Rooney and Berbatov will start together up front and that Owen will be brought on sometime during the second half. John Terry will be running around like a thug trying to prove he still loves Chelsea so having Rooney in the centre to bump into him from time to time is necessary.
Much feting will be done of Chelsea’s hallowed ‘midfield diamond’ formation. No doubt Ancelotti’s serie A tactics will be greeted in London like the first shipments of sugar. Fergie knows this and will try to counter it by putting a bit of bruise and a bit of experience in the middle. I expect to see Fletcher and Ryan Giggs(84). He will complement that with two of our widest wide men to try and exploit those wholesome Wembley flanks. Probably Nani and a debut for Valencia.
Follow Mark at thedevilinme.co.uk and on Twitter @markjpayne
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