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Ferguson to rest star ahead of crunch title clash with Chelsea

| 04.05.2011

Florent Malouda has stoke the fires ahead of the biggest game of the Premier League season by suggesting Manchester United are cracking under the pressure of chasing the title.

Sir Alex Ferguson has responded by dropping several key players for Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final with Schalke as the Manchester United manager focuses on effectively sealing the title at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Manchester United take a 2-0 lead into tonight’s game with Schalke and with Champions League odds of 1/200 to qualify, the odds would suggest Ferguson can afford to take a calculated risk.

Schalke are 13/2 to beat Manchester United tonight and 25/1 to win 2-0 with a 3-0 win – enough to see them through – looking unlikely at 100/1.

Ferguson has said he will hold Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez back for Saturday and after missing training on Monday, it’s unlikely that Fabio will play any part.

Ferguson is also considering whether or not to drop Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar for tonight’s game but while the 2-0 lead is comfortable, a clean sheet will be of paramount importance for Ferguson tonight.

The German side showed in their quarter-final with Inter Milan that they are capable of scoring goals and with Dimitar Berbatov – a man who hasn’t scored a European goal in two and a half years – leading the line for Manchester United, this tie isn’t over.

A clean sheet for Manchester United is 11/10 and Ferguson’s side have kept eight clean sheets in their 11 Champions League ties this season which would suggest that Ferguson will keep defensive changes to a minimum.

Ferguson sees Sunday’s game with Chelsea as Manchester United’s biggest game of the season so far and while the Scot has been in this position many times before, there’s no doubt he will be feeling the pressure of Chelsea’s attention.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.