14 min: On a lightning fast counter-attack, Antonio Valencia gallops up the inside right position with the ball at his feet, before squaring it to Wayne Rooney a couple of yards outside the Chelsea penalty area. With what seems like all the time in the world at his disposal, the Manchester United striker looks up, takes aim and fires ... a low drive a couple of feet wide of the left upright. First half possession stats thus far: Manchester United 60% Chelsea 40%.

13 min: Branislav Ivanovic gets booked for a desperate lunge on Wayne Rooney.

10 min: Hernandez goes close again. From the aforementioned free-kick, the ball is played to Park on the edge of the area, right hand side. He sends in a curling cross to the far post, where Javier Hernandez is lurking. The cross gets the faintest nick off David Luiz, which is enough to take it past Hernandez, who could and probably should have bundled it home from about four yards out.

9 min: Chelsea are all over the place here. Their midfield is being over-run and now John Obi Mikel is forced to concede a free-kick by fouling Park after failing to get to a misplaced pass by Michael Essien.

7 min: Petr Cech keeps his side in the contest, diving low to his right to save a sensational Wayne Rooney strike from 25 yards that was heading for the bottom left-hand corner. Slack defending by Florent Malouda and John Obi Mikel allowed the Manchester United striker to shoot; they were very slow to close him down, with each seeming to presume the other would take care of him.

6 min: Bloody hell, is there really only six minutes gone? It seems like a lot longer - this is real death or glory stuff. Didier Drogba fires off a shot despite the whistle having been blown. He doesn't get booked, probably because the atmosphere at Old Trafford is so raucous, it's probably difficult to hear the whistle.

4 min: According to Sky's man on the touchline, Geoff Shreeves, Carlo Ancelotti is holding David Luiz responsible for that goal. As soon it was scored, he summoned him for a bollocking, telling him to just get rid of the ball next time it came near him. Sideshow Bob proceeded to argue with him and now Ancelotti has ordered Alex to start warming up. He'll hardly subject his young centre-half to the indignity of being substituted this early, will he?

3 min: What a sensational start for Manchester United, who have Chelsea on the ropes already. It was a marvellous goal, with Giggs and Park combining to eviscerate Chelsea down the middle, before sending Hernandez galloping clear past David Luiz, who is himself no slouch.

GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Chelsea (Hernandez 1) Javier Hernandez's prayers are answered within 30 seconds after Ryan Giggs plays a ball through the centre to Park Ji-sung, who helps it on its way past David Luiz, who was dumped on his backside, and into the path of the Mexican. Hernandez slots the ball past Petr Cech, into the bottom left-hand corner.

1 min: Little Pea Javier Hernandez kneelks in the centre-circle and gazes heavenwards for a quick pre-match pray, then Manchester United kick off playing away from the Stretford End. Within seconds, Chelsea win a free-kick for, I presume, an offside.

Click-clack, click-clack,click-clack: The time for staring intently ahead, clapping hands and shouting "C'mon boys!" is over. The teams march out on to the Old Trafford sward and line up wearing the colours with which they're readily associated.

Office sweepstake: I've drawn fifth official and Chelsea skipper England's Brave John Terry to score the first goal. Go JT! *gets a little sick in mouth*

Not too long now. With the sound of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot ringing around the stands of the Britannia Stadium, Stoke RFC have just put Arsenal to the sword in the second of this afternoon's preliminaries. If the main event is as entertaining as the two Premier League clashes that preceded it (Wolves 3-1 West Brom being the other one), we should in for a real treat.

Team news: Fernando Torres is on the bench, with Didier Drogba in attack rather than their £50million Spaniard. United line up without left-back Patrice Evra, who is sidelined by a thigh injury. Sir Alex Ferguson retains only three members of the starting line-up that swept Schalke aside in midweek, with Fabio occupying one full-back berth, John O'Shea the other and Javier Hernandez in attack.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Fabio Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea,
Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park, Rooney, Hernandez.
Subs: Kuszczak, Anderson, Berbatov, Smalling, Nani, Scholes, Evans.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, David Luiz, Cole, Mikel,
Lampard, Essien, Kalou, Drogba, Malouda.
Subs: Turnbull, Ramires, Torres, Benayoun, Ferreira, Alex, Anelka.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

Good afternoon all. With Chelsea just three points behind Manchester United with three games to go, this match is very much a potential title-decider. Should Chelsea lose, the jig is almost certainly up as far as Carlo Ancelotti's tilt at consecutive Premier League titles is concerned. Win and they'll leapfrog Manchester United to go top of the table on goal difference with two matches left to play: Newcastle at home and Everton away (after today's clash, Manchester United's remaining fixtures are away at Blackburn and at home to Blackpool).

Picking a team to side with this afternoon is a puzzling dilemma for the neutral, what with there being plenty to dislike about both clubs, but a Chelsea win would certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons and go a long way towards ensuring the title race won't be decided until the final day of the season, possibly by goal difference.

The boys from Stamford Bridge will have their work cut out this afternoon, however, as Manchester United have only dropped two points at home all season and beat Chelsea at home and away in their recent Champions League quarter-final. They're 11-5 outsiders to win the game, with Manchester United favourites at 5-4 and the draw priced up at 23-10.

Match pointers

• No opposition player has scored a first-half goal at Old Trafford in the League since Joe Cole did so in this fixture in March 2010

• Chelsea have won their last three Premier League games against United – Liverpool (between December 2000 and January 2002) are the only side to have beaten them four times in a row

• United need to win their final two home games to equal the record of 55 points (P19 W18 D1 L0) set by Chelsea during the 2005-06 campaign

• Howard Webb has awarded United a penalty in three of the last four games he has officiated at Old Trafford