Old Trafford has been a veritable fortress and Man Utd surprisingly for all of Rooney's magnificent contribution have shown that they really do not need him when he is absent.
They have won the last nine games that he has missed. A streak that goes back to December 2008. However Carlo Ancelotti does not see that way as he believes that Rooney's absence favours Chelsea. .
"Everyone knows how Wayne Rooney is important for this team, he is a fantastic player," said Ancelotti. "He has had a fantastic season but his injury could be an advantage for us."
Ancelotti will be well cautioned that Utd are not just Rooney. I suspect he already knows this because his team have also done well without their talisman, Didier Drogba in the last two matches.
Drogba does gets back. But his return is a mixed blessing because in his presence the other attackers have turned in subterranean performances, chiefly Nicholas Anelka and Frank Lampard. The 7-1 drubbing of Villa saw the best of Malouda, Anelka, and especially Lampard as a roving destroyer while Drogba was out recuperating from an injury.
Man Utd's attacking responsibilities lie on the narrow shoulders of Dimitar Berbatov whose talent while unquestionable, the same thing cannot be said of his application. Park Ji Sung and Antonio Valencia will be Man Utd's main counterattacking threats. An advantage they enjoy over the slower more deliberate Chelsea midfield.
The Utd game is also much wider which favours a lot of crossing into the box opening up scoring opportunities. The Chelsea attack predicates itself around set pieces and an attack that sweeps from the left to the center, so if Gary Neville and Antoni Valencia tracking back can keep Malouda from supplying Drogba then there is a good chance of a win.
As an Arsenal fan, a tied game would be desirable and coupled with a Wolves win, the Gunners could be just two points from pole position. So lets keep our fingers crossed.