United v Chelsea 2006-2008

matherto

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Watching the extended highlights of the 2008 CL final at the minute and we were both so good, worth asking who was better (albeit I guess we know really).

Results between the two teams were so very ridiculously even throughout the period.

06/07 home: United 1-1 Chelsea
06/07 away: Chelsea 0-0 United (albeit, with reserve teams as we'd already won the league)
06/07 FA Cup final: Chelsea 1-0 United AET (0-0 after 90 minutes)

07/08 Community Shield: Chelsea 1-1 United AET - United 3-0 Chelsea on penalties
07/08 home: United 2-0 Chelsea (Mourinho sacked/left 3 days previously)
07/08 away: Chelsea 2-1 United
07/08 CL final: United 1-1 Chelsea AET - United 6-5 Chelsea on penalties

I think in 2006/07 we had a really good team but we got exceptionally lucky with the injuriy Chelsea had to Cech which was massive and Shevchenko not bedding in like he could've. Arguably we nearly got ruined near the end by Vidic then Rio getting injured (as illustrated by Kaka then the entire Milan team tearing us apart in the CL semis). I think on balance they had the slightly better squad still, after a few years of dominance and we got a really good run from the start of the year and it carried us.

2007/08 we were even better still and definitely on par if not better (certainly Ronaldo elevated us even more this year) and they had that bad patch that led to Mourinho going but once we'd beaten them in Grant's first game we could never, ever shake them off and I remember hating the thought of winning the league on goal difference before they screwed up against Bolton and we won it on points.

Whenever we played them it always felt like we'd start excellently but then either just before half time or during the second half they'd go into another gear and we just played counter against them, whether intentionally or just they took over and then dominated us. If there was extra time they carried on dominating at least possession and chance wise. This was highlighted especially during the 2008 final if I'm being honest.

Both teams were fantastic but who was really better? We won more of course and our team is remembered as perhaps our very best (arguable of course) but I don't think we were much better than them if at all. First XI vs First XI I think as results above would show if we played each other 10 times we'd probably win 2 games each and draw the rest.

We were both top of the world then too when it came to the end of the 2007/08 season. Mad the quality on show when you look at it.

What say you Caftards?
 

Handré1990

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Good question. All I know is I feared that team, probably more than any other we’ve met. Felt like we never won. If you had included the two seasons prior the results are much the same, with them winning more than us, but mostly draws.
 

Berbaclass

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Yeah, I absolutely hated Mourinho's Chelsea team. I was paying attention to football much more being in my mid-teens compared to when we had the Arsenal rivalry, which I remember the tail end of.

A couple of my favorite moments from the clashes from that 2006-2008 period. Fletcher's header, unreal moment I can remember that goal like it was yesterday with Andy Gray's commentary. Also, Saha's goal when he curled it round Carvalho I think if I remember rightly in another game.



I always hated that game in the Carling Cup semi when Damien Duff scored when his freekick went straight in.
 

ricky-romeo

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We were a superb team back then but I always felt things were made a bit easier because they got Avram Grant as their manager after Jose instead of someone like Hiddink or Ancelotti, and the thing was that it was not easy at all.

We won the league on the last day of the season and needed a John Terry slip to win the CL, although we deserved to win the 2 trophies that season.

But yeah it was a great Chelsea side. They could have easily made into the CL final in 2009 as well if not for the referee and UEFALona. The fact that they pushed us to the limit in those 3 years also made us a much better team.
 

RyRy11

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Absolutely hated that Chelsea team and are probably the toughest team we've challenged in the PL era. I still thought we could beat the early 2000's Arsenal team or the early 2010's City team on our day, I never went into a Chelsea game with that confidence even with one of the best players of all time in Ronaldo.
 

Eleven-Eighteen

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I remember that phase because i started to consider United Chelsea games as bigger, more nerve wracking fixtures than any other PL fixtures. During that phase i remember feeling that i'd have traded a loss to Liverpool for a win at the Bridge.
 

cyril C

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We were a superb team back then but I always felt things were made a bit easier because they got Avram Grant as their manager after Jose instead of someone like Hiddink or Ancelotti, and the thing was that it was not easy at all.

We won the league on the last day of the season and needed a John Terry slip to win the CL, although we deserved to win the 2 trophies that season.

But yeah it was a great Chelsea side. They could have easily made into the CL final in 2009 as well if not for the referee and UEFALona. The fact that they pushed us to the limit in those 3 years also made us a much better team.
Agree
 

InfiniteBoredom

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The most annoying team to face since I started watching Utd. It’s a personal conviction of mine that had we met them in the CL 09 final we would still have lost.

Ultimately though between 06-11 they won 1 league title out of 5 against us, so we were still the better team.
 

Vault Dweller

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As a result of that rivalry, even to this day I am never confident playing Chelsea. Brilliant rivalry and certainly the final in '08 was the two best teams in the world at that point playing each other.
 

Haddock

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For everything people say about Mourinho and his short termism and dogmatism, one thing is indisputable. He changed the whole course of Chelsea's history and he changed the mindset of the club from a decent competent team to winners. Even if Abramovich leaves tomorrow I am confident that Chelsea will remain a top club.

As for the rivalry, it's forgotten how far behind we were. Going into 2006-07, we finished 9 and 18 points (about the same difference as Jose and Pep in 2017-18) behind them in the previous two seasons. Chelsea strengthened their squad by selling Gudjhonsen and Gallas and buying Shevchenko and Cole. We sold Ruud and bought Carrick. It looks like a genius move now but it wasn't perceived as one. We can laugh at Rob Smyth's shredding his legacy article now but he is a lifelong United fan and only said what a growing number of people were beginning to feel. That Rio was a flash London git with no substance, Vidic and Evra were soft no hopers.

The best moment of the whole 2004-2011 United v Chelsea period wasn't the CL win, it was watching EBJT give Kieran Lee and Dong a guard of honour at the bridge.
 
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GenZRed

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Certainly we a happier football era for both clubs. I remember asking a mate on the day of the 2008 CL final we he thought would win and he said Chelsea, despite being a Man United supporter. I was cautiously optimistic about us winning and that is how it panned out.
 

kafta

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Very few united goals made me happier than that Fletcher header. I just remember going into that game thinking we had no chance.

Looking back now, it was a great rivalry between two super teams (2004-2011). It always got me how chelsea kept competing year after year, when they had no stability and kept changing managers. That Drogba goal in 2010 still upsets me too.
 

AltiUn

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They were a great team and really helped push us, without them our ceiling would've lowered. Put it this way, I don't think any teams would be sleepwalking the league with that Chelsea side in it.
 

Dante

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There was hardly anything between the two teams.

Chelsea were only 2 points and a John Terry slip away from eclipsing us.

We were still better, but I think their team from that era has become underrated over time.
 

InfiniteBoredom

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There was hardly anything between the two teams.

Chelsea were only 2 points and a John Terry slip away from eclipsing us.

We were still better, but I think their team from that era has become underrated over time.
That team with half of their players on the decline and basically self-managed won CL beating Pep’s Barca over 2 legs.

I think their lack of flair in an era when attacking football is elevated (Barca 04, Utd 08, Barca 09-11, Bayern 12-14, Dortmund 11-13) works against them in the general perception.
 

tjb

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That team with half of their players on the decline and basically self-managed won CL beating Pep’s Barca over 2 legs.

I think their lack of flair in an era when attacking football is elevated (Barca 04, Utd 08, Barca 09-11, Bayern 12-14, Dortmund 11-13) works against them in the general perception.
They were not on the decline that year, i feel 2010 may have been their best year ( 04-06 not included), that was peak Drogba.
 

Dancfc

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For everything people say about Mourinho and his short termism and dogmatism, one thing is indisputable. He changed the whole course of Chelsea's history and he changed the mindset of the club from a decent competent team to winners. Even if Abramovich leaves tomorrow I am confident that Chelsea will remain a top club.

As for the rivalry, it's forgotten how far behind we were. Going into 2006-07, we finished 9 and 18 points (about the same difference as Jose and Pep in 2017-18) behind them in the previous two seasons. Chelsea strengthened their squad by selling Gudjhonsen and Gallas and buying Shevchenko and Cole. We sold Ruud and bought Carrick. It looks like a genius move now but it wasn't perceived as one. We can laugh at Rob Smyth's shredding his legacy article now but he is a lifelong United fan and only said what a growing number of people were beginning to feel. That Rio was a flash London git with no substance, Vidic and Evra were soft no hopers.

The best moment of the whole 2004-2011 United v Chelsea period wasn't the CL win, it was watching EBJT give Kieran Lee and Dong a guard of honour at the bridge.
I actually thought the opposite from the outside. The second half of 05/06 you (and Liverpool) were actually better than us and it was pretty clear to me next year there was a title race on.
 

tjb

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They won CL in 2012, Drogba left the summer after, they finished 6th in PL.
The year they won the UCL was the year they were at their worst. They were best when they were beating teams 8-0 every week in the 09-10 season. I fail to understand how the two are related.
 

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They were a match up nightmare for us, for a long, long time.
 

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2006/2007 was the most satisfying United season for me.

In the beginning of the season, people were writing us off. Chelsea looked invincible, bought Shevchenko and Ballack. They lured our CEO and signed our (supposedly) targets . Chech, Robben, Essien. And of course, Obi Mikel. They were a real pain in the ass. Much more than City is now.

I still remember countless moan threads here. A lot of posters were calling Fergie out.

then we won it and finished Mourinho. As things turned out, that Chelsea team were not the next biggest thing in English football. It was just an episode of the United 20 years reign in England.

Now, as a more experienced United fan and person in general, I believe that we are on the right track. We will be back.
 

Infordin

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2008 is the most evenly matched Champions League final I can remember.

2016 comes close
 

RedDevilRoshi

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Hated playing that Chelsea team. Very good team and always seemed to have the upper hand against us.

JT slip in the CL final & winning the league that year was just joyful.
 

InfiniteBoredom

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Arsenal didn’t even come close to the level of threat Chelsea managed to impose on our status. They became Goliath, And we were David.
I think that partly has to do with the fact that we weren’t very good when they became dominant, as opposed to the late 90s.

People gave a lot of credits to Wenger for the changes he brought to the PL, but imo Mourinho and to a lesser extent FSW had as big if not bigger impact on the league, English teams as a whole, not just Utd, became more canny and tactically prepared in Europe during that period. The resources that was brought to bear by Chelsea also forced a change in squad management, Fergie talked about how he had to change from his tried and tested pacing which would see us start slow but hit form by Christmas to hitting the ground running to prevent an insurmountable lead being built up, all of his more funky lineups(6 midfielders, 7 defenders) later on in 2ndary competitions like LC/FA cups came after 04.
 

siw2007

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Remember the era very well and yes, both teams were superb in those years. What made our accomplishments sweeter was that we were written off at the start of the period and came back to overcome Chelsea.

A few thoughts though:

Chelsea were incredible in the Mourinho era and it took a hell of an effort to overcome them in 2007. Afterwards when Jose left, I thought they would fall away a little but they didn’t. That’s a testament to the quality of team they had which was full of hardened professionals with Terry leading them to battle, and despite him being a detestable person, he was the driving force in that team and why they were anywhere near competing for trophies in 2008.

There wasn’t much between the two teams in 2008. Felt we had a bit more flair and speed, while they had more power and experience (one of the reasons why they didn’t miss Jose that much). Overall I think we were just a bit better on the basis that we had Ronaldo who was the best forward in the game and Ferdinand who was the best defender (travesty he didn’t win the uefa award when the team only conceded two goals in the knock out stages).

A bit of a cheap dig but the medal/trophy collection in the final showed the difference between the two clubs. Peter Kenyon leading Chelsea up to get their runners up medals vs Sir Bobby Charlton for United.
 

RyRoc

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A bit off topic but the 07/08 season was really an excellent season in terms of the quality of the top teams in the league. United were probably the best in the world with Chelsea not too far off but even Arsenal only ended 4 points off United and lead the season for most of the way. Liverpool's team with Gerrard and Torres at the peak was also very good. Think this was backed up by the fact that the Champions League final was United vs Chelsea with Liverpool knocking Arsenal out to make the semis.
 

Andycoleno9

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2009 they should have played final of LP against us. But Uefalona was too strong. That day my hate towards Barca started.
Shame about that. I am pretty confident that we would have won another CL if we played against them.
 

adexkola

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That team with half of their players on the decline and basically self-managed won CL beating Pep’s Barca over 2 legs.

I think their lack of flair in an era when attacking football is elevated (Barca 04, Utd 08, Barca 09-11, Bayern 12-14, Dortmund 11-13) works against them in the general perception.
Yeah that wasn't because they were good (they finished 6th), it's because Barcelona couldn't put the ball in the back of the net despite cutting Chelsea open again and again
 

esmufc07

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Do Chelsea win that final with anyone other than Grant in charge?
 

Prometheus

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Yeah that wasn't because they were good (they finished 6th), it's because Barcelona couldn't put the ball in the back of the net despite cutting Chelsea open again and again
Only a few of those chances were clear cut - either there wasn't enough space to take a good shot or there wasn't enough time. That's why they kept hitting side netting or blasting it over. I think that team deserves a lot more credit for bettering Barca and Bayern for over 5 hours of football. No questionable referring decisions went our way either.
 
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adexkola

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Only a few of those chances were clear cut - either there wasn't enough space to take a good shot or there wasn't enough time. That's why they kept hitting side netting or blasting it over. I think that team deserves a lot more credit for bettering Barca and Bayern for over 5 hours of football. No questionable referring decisions went our way either.
Really? I have to watch that again

I will always give Ramires and Lampard credit for that against the odds goal.
 

InfiniteBoredom

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Yeah that wasn't because they were good (they finished 6th), it's because Barcelona couldn't put the ball in the back of the net despite cutting Chelsea open again and again
It’s a defence with David Luiz and Gary Cahill in there.

Of course they were lucky, but a team with lesser mentality would have crumbled from the pressure, also from 04-12 they managed to shut out Messi in every single match the two played together, which is no mean feat.
 

Prometheus

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Really? I have to watch that again

I will always give Ramires and Lampard credit for that against the odds goal.
Well, it could well be my blue-tinted glasses. :D

Yeah, that goal was class.
 

Haddock

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I actually thought the opposite from the outside. The second half of 05/06 you (and Liverpool) were actually better than us and it was pretty clear to me next year there was a title race on.
With the rival fan's clear sightedness of the opponent no doubt! But we were rotten for a good while. Its forgotten now but this asylum and Red Issue were calling for Fergie's head. Old Trafford had thousands of empty seats when we played Lille that year. Some fans were booing and jeering the team frequently. We like to think we are better than the Arsenal Fan TV lot. But lose a couple of games and we'll see the truth.

When 2006/07 rolled around, I remember listening to a few (then nascent) podcasts and everyone went for Chelsea. When Espn, my local broadcaster at the time did the predictions for 2007/08, they still went for Chelsea. Brian Glanville, a lifelong Arsenal fan, used to write a syndicated column where he would lament Abramovich's spending. He couldn't go two columns without referring to Essien as "the hugely expensive Ghanian midfielder Michael Essien".

Chelsea seemed unstoppable back then. None of us could have predicted that a country funding a football club would be the next step.
 
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choiboyx012

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Besides their obvious quality, I remember being annoyed that they never seemed to have injury issues while we (and other teams) did. They had a very solid spine in that team (Cech, Terry, Ashely Cole, Lampard, Drogba) all in their primes from 04-12. Although I think our United teams from the same era were slightly better, I honestly had more confidence in Chelsea being able to beat the likes of Barcelona than us. They had that tough mentality and ability to play defensive shit-housery football, along with physically strong and athletic players that could bully the tiki-taka flair players. I was cheering for them against Barca and Bayern. Those 2 teams needed to get pegged down from the media love-in of being God's gift to football.