Cristiano Ronaldo News

Monday, January 29, 2007

PREVIEW-Ronaldo and Saha back to fire United

By Trevor Huggins

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Manchester United are ready to unleash goal-happy Cristiano Ronaldo and Louis Saha when the Premier League leaders take on bottom club Watford on Wednesday.

Last weekend's FA Cup ties mean a midweek programme for the top-flight clubs, plus a League Cup semi-final, second leg between north London enemies Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

United, with a six-point lead over champions Chelsea, are taking no chances with a Watford side who already look set for a quick return to the second division.

Ronaldo, given a week off to spend in Dubai by manager Alex Ferguson, and Saha, who had a bruised knee, will both be back after missing Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup win over Portsmouth.

Ronaldo has been on sparkling form, scoring seven times in his last seven outings, with the Portuguese winger and the French striker scoring 25 goals between them this season.

Watford could also face Wayne Rooney after the England striker came off the bench to score both goals, including a stunning 20-metre chip shot against Pompey.

Ferguson had planned to rest him but is now re-considering in the hope that Rooney, who also scored in the previous weekend's 2-1 defeat by Arsenal, is on a hot streak.

"If he can get into the scoring form which he did last season and get on a run of scoring single goals, I tell you, he'll make some difference to our team," Ferguson told MUTV.

Chelsea, with 51 points to United's 57, can ill-afford to slip up against a Blackburn Rovers side who have won six of their last eight games on all fronts, including a victory over third-placed Liverpool.


Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho will be hoping captain John Terry makes his long-awaited return from back surgery.

Terry has not played since a win over Newcastle United on Dec. 13 and his absence from central defence has been a big factor behind their recent dip in league form, with three consecutive draws and a 2-0 defeat at Liverpool.

Chelsea, who have missed the spark of injured wingers Joe Cole and Arjen Robben, also need to set aside their problems off the pitch.

Striker Didier Drogba and defender Ashley Cole both said last week that reports of a rift between Mourinho and the board have become a distraction.

They can take some comfort from a couple of easy League Cup and FA Cup wins, over fourth division Wycombe Wanderers and third division Nottingham Forest, along with a 4-0 drubbing of a Wigan Athletic side hovering above the drop zone.

Blackburn should give them much more of a game, though, and a better test of their desire for a hat-trick of titles. Liverpool, with 46 points and a one-point lead over Arsenal, sense a chance to seize second place -- worth a guaranteed Champions League slot -- if Chelsea's bout of the wobbles were to continue.

Rafael Benitez's men have an ideal fixture on Tuesday to keep the pressure on Mourinho's men -- away to relegation battlers West Ham United.



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