By Josh Powell | Manchester United v Chelsea
Jose Mourinho christened himself ‘The Special One’ when he landed at Stamford Bridge in June 2004. At the same time Feyenoord winger Robin van Persie joined Arsenal for £2.75 million in a much more understated move. Nine years later Mourinho is back, and on Monday night, must find a way to stop the Premier League’s most feared striker.
Although Mourinho is blessed with an array of attacking talent at the Bridge, defensively they are hardly rock solid. Chelsea conceded 23 goals away from home last season – the same as Stoke – and at centre-back David Luiz is as unreliable as England’s public transport system. Captain John Terry will throw his face in front of a shot, but he’d get beaten by a geriatric snail in a sprint and turns as quickly as a barge. Worrying times when you’re facing Van Persie.
RVP has scored 75 goals in the Premier League since January 2011, 26 more than any other player in the top flight. He’s won the last two Golden Boots and is the firm favourite to make it a hat-trick this season. He’s in unstoppable form, and is no stranger to finding the onion bag against Chelsea.
- RVP has six goals in 17 appearances versus Chelsea
- He averages a goal every 184 minutes against them
- He is currently on a 224 minute drought against Chelsea which makes you think he is probably due one
Despite the stats, Mourinho has reason to be quietly confident going in to Old Trafford. As Aidan shows in this stats piece, Jose’s record at OT isn’t something to shout about, but Van Persie has struggled against The Special One in the past.
- Van Persie has lost 42 per cent of the games he has featured in against Chelsea
- He was never on the winning side in six games against Jose Mourinho, losing three and drawing three
- Van Persie never scored against Mourinho’s Chelsea in 294 minutes of football
Those are the stats that will help Branislav Ivanovic sleep easy, but they’re not all as they seem. RVP didn’t play the full 90 minutes in any of those six games, and played less than two-thirds of the match in four of them.
Nine years later and Van Persie is in the best form of his career. Since the start of the 2011/12 season RVP has scored 58 goals in the Premier League and 18 per cent of his shots in that time have found the back of the net.
Is this the match RVP ends his drought against Mourinho, or will the Specaial One find a way to nullify United’s greatest threat?