And we’re off!
Chelsea have two injury doubts ahead of Sunday’s game with midfielder Yuri Zhirkov doubtful with a knee injury.
Midfielder Joe Cole is still out with a knee ligament injury but Michael Ballack (toe) could be passed fit.
Manchester United are without defenders Nemanja Vidic (calf), Wes Brown (thigh) and Gary Neville (groin).
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson must decide whether to choose Ben Foster or Tomasz Kuszczak in goal with keeper Edwin Van der Sar out with a broken finger.
Ferguson is refusing to be drawn on who will replace Van der Sar on Sunday, and for the remaining eight weeks the Dutchman is absent for.
But in Kuszczak and Foster he knows he has two perfect understudies for the veteran Dutchman.
“I will speak to both of them about the situation,” said Ferguson.
“We have a selection dilemma as to who plays in goal on Sunday. It is not an easy one for me.”
With Vidic, Brown and Neville all injured a lot also rests on the shoulders of centre-back Rio Ferdinand to remain fit.
And despite the injury problems he encountered towards the end of last season, Ferdinand says he can be relied on to lead United’s defence.
“I am fine, there are no problems,” said Ferdinand.
“I have not missed any training sessions this pre-season, not missed any games and played a lot of minutes.
“I am delighted and feeling good. Long may that continue this season.
“The club have been really good. I’ve had rest and maintenance, a good pre-season tour and training. That’s the most important thing. ”
Chelsea (from): Cech, Hilario, Turnbull, Belletti, Alex, Terry, Carvalho, Mancienne, Bosingwa, A Cole, Ballack, Sturridge, Mikel, Deco, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Ivanovic, Kalou, Ferreira, Malouda.
Man Utd (from): Foster, Kuszczak, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Scholes, Anderson, Gibson, Nani, Giggs, Rooney, Owen, Berbatov, Macheda, Tosic, Fabio, Cleverley, De Laet. (BBC Sport)
So the traditional curtain raiser is only hours away and it promises to be a tasty encounter, although whenever I make such a statement it invariably leads to a goalless draw.
Carlo Ancelotti will be keen to get his Chelsea account underway with a win and a trophy, even if it is in the form of a relatively meaningless one. It will be a good indicator for Sir Alex to judge just what sort of impact the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo has on his side. Luis Antonio Valencia was explosive in his last United outing and will be hoping to thrill the crowd with his old fashioned wing display.
George Burley will look on exasperated as Darren Fletcher appears to have opted for a run out in this match ahead of his country’s crucial World Cup Qualifier on Wednesday.
COS Prediction 1-1 ( Chelsea to win on penalties)