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By Osama Rahman

May 21st, 2008 sets the scene for one of the most epic battles of recent times for one of the most prestigious prize. The battleground is Moscow, the scene for the match of Chelsea versus Manchester United, a duel for European supremacy. The Champions League title is on the line and both of the teams have a lot to prove and have everything to play for.

Every final is of course highly looked forward to in this stage, but the 2008 finals are particularly much more interesting. There are jobs, egos, images, careers and billions of dollars on stake.

In the domestic league, Manchester United have shown that they are the most aggressive team while Chelsea remain the hardest to beat. Manchester United had earlier proved their superiority by winning 2-0 at home, although the red-card to John Obi left a lot to be questioned. However, Chelsea plotted revenge and got it at Stamford Bridge, their fortress, when they handed United a 2-1 defeat, though many were furious at the late penalty. Manchester United started the season dismally but recovered soon, whereas Chelsea's title ambitions took repeated blow. However, Chelsea showed heart and unmatched desire and came fighting back, even though the shock exit of Jose Mourinho left many in pessimistic state. Avram Grant wasn't quick to change fortunes but soon managed to build a team, seriously lacking morale and firepower.

Europe too showed Manchester United's firepower, but when they lay low against Barcelona and their hero, Cristiano Ronaldo looked jaded; many began wondering whether they really have what it takes. The 2-1 defeat once more showed C'ron's need for a break and Chelsea fans wondered that without Ricardo's mistake, could United really have provided a contest. Both teams have a formidable set of players, no lacking in talent, experience, heart or ambition and both breed a loath for each other. Looking at EPL's points table, apart from the vast goal difference, it is hard to judge who the better team is. United maybe quick to score but Chelsea have shown that they are hard to defeat, becoming masters of not losing, whether that means a 1-0 victory or a draw, Chelsea refuse to give in.

There is no sure-fire winner in this match and there are no advantages for either side. If Tevez, Ronaldo and Rooney can dismantle the best defenses then Droga, Joe Cole and Essien can breed fear in the oppositions defense. If Rio Ferdinand can boast a likelihood to future national captaincy, Terry can shrug and say 'Been there, done that.' Alex Ferguson and Avram Grant both need to think hard and strategize in the best possible manner. 90 minutes will be the time taken to decide who really is the greatest. May 21st is the day that you just cannot leave your TV sets. My predictions? Chelsea wins because they can and will. Only time can prove me wrong so until then keep your opinions to yourself. May the best team win!


 
 

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