Fergie's mystic missus saw Rooney ban coming

Lady Cathy said FA 'will do him' – but outcome of second leg is harder to call

So all Chelsea have to do at Old Trafford on Tuesday night in order to reach the Champions' League semi-final is repeat their 2-1 away victory over Manchester United of a year ago. Hmmm. Easier said than won, not least because the main opposition striker this time will be the heavily motivated young man whose goal in the first leg has already made United firm favourites to progress.

Last April, Wayne Rooney missed the decisive Premier League meeting between the clubs because he had injured an ankle four days earlier in defeat by Bayern Munich. It would have serious consequences for his club and country, the first of which was that with a listless Dimitar Berbatov in attack, United lost at home to Chelsea, effectively handing over their League title.

The one benefit of Rooney's draconian suspension from yesterday's League match and the FA Cup semi-final is that this time he will be fresh and fit for Tuesday's game, with Sir Alex Ferguson determined to make the most of a bad outcome at the hands of the faceless men he believes comprise the Football Association's disciplinary department.

"The way I'm looking at it is to use it," Ferguson said. "We'll use it with our fans, they'll be great, and the players are showing their determination. They're not stupid, the players, but they can't understand it, nobody can understand it. I don't know these people at the FA, to be honest with you. You hear stories about some of them and I don't know how many full-timers they've got in there. Somebody said there is 14 full-time people in the disciplinary department. But you think to yourself, 14 full-time people, for what? I don't even know these people, to be honest with you."

After Rooney's wild verbal outburst at Upton Park last weekend, the FA were initially briefing that he had broken no rule and that, bizarrely, it was more a matter for the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. The belief at Old Trafford is that Lee Mason, the match referee, was then "leant on" to include the incident in his report, allowing a formal investigation and charge.

The one person with United connections who saw it all coming appeared to be Lady Cathy Ferguson. "When I came home on Saturday night my wife said, 'they'll do him'," her husband revealed. "I said, 'don't be stupid, they can't do him for celebrating'." Not for the first time the manager's wife, who was instrumental in persuading him not to retire as planned in 2002, had seen things most clearly.

Lady F's views on preventing Chelsea from overloading the midfield to positive effect last Wednesday are not known, but she presumably advised dropping Rooney a bit deeper and telling Park Ji-sung to push in from the left flank to assist a rejuvenated Michael Carrick and the ageless Ryan Giggs.

Park, the South Korean dubbed Ji-Unsung Hero on one message board last week, is often favoured for this sort of game, all the more so when Darren Fletcher's comparable energy is unavailable. With a stomach virus continuing to rule out the Scot, Park and the fit-again Anderson would seem more likely to have a role on Tuesday than Paul Scholes, who is suddenly not wearing as well as his near-contemporary Giggs and remains a liability with continental referees because of his tackling.

Despite Rooney's goal, United will set out to win again on the night, thus avoiding the sort of tension that beset them in the last round when Marseille scored an away goal with eight minutes remaining. Chelsea, as Frank Lampard said, must aim to score first and take the tie back to square one, their chances of doing so surely being enhanced by swallowing hard and playing Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka instead of Fernando Torres.

The look on Drogba's face in the first leg when he was taken off instead of Torres – as all logic demanded – was priceless. Of course, the £50m striker may yet come good, but for the moment he looks like a vanity purchase who, partly by disrupting Chelsea's 4-3-3 system, has handicapped the quest for the very trophy he was bought to win.

Manchester United v Chelsea is on Sky Sports 2 on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm

How the players see the second leg...

Rio Ferdinand

"It's great to be back playing, these games will define our season. Fingers crossed we have a good end to the season. People look at this team and don't think it's as good as past teams, but this team has a lot of good players."

Frank Lampard

"We did it there last year. It's a very big pitch and you get the chance to counter-attack. It'll be a completely different game. If we score early, then it's game on. That's the mindset we have to take."

Ryan Giggs

"We maybe haven't played with the flair we've shown in the past but being resilient is a great quality to have. We have shown that all season and I think probably since the turn of the year we have played some good stuff."

Steve Tongue

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam