Monday, December 11, 2017

Prediction: Chelsea vs Manchester United

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

Premier Leaders Chelsea play host to Manchester United in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup on Monday, as both teams take a detour from the domestic front to clash in hopes of making another step closer to one of the trophies in the running.

Chelsea

Antonio Conte deserves full praise for his excellent work at Chelsea this season, as the Italian has managed to transform the Blues and make them into a high-efficiency machine that looks set to receive the Premier League crown in May. The Blues are such a contrast to their last season’s selves when they were guided by Jose Mourinho in their title defence last term, which ultimately cost the Portuguese his job. Things could not be more different this time around as Chelsea head into the Manchester United clash on the back of a ten-match unbeaten run which is bound to be of big morale-boosting effect for the Blues. Chelsea will be without any pressure as they head into the Monday’s match and will be instructed to simply play their game and leave the emotions aside with Mourinho coming back to town. Chelsea beat Wolves 2-0 in the previous stage of the competition to reach the quarterfinals and they will undoubtedly be motivated enough to continue their rout to the trophy, although the Premier League race remains the priority for Antonio Conte.

Team News

Antonio Conte has a clean bill of health and will have all of his first-team choices available for selection.

The Italian is not expected to make big changes to his line-up, although Cesk Fabregas could be left on the bench for the occasion with Nemanja Matic being reinstated into the midfield slot.

Manchester United

Return to Stamford Bridge will be an emotional affair for Jose Mourinho, who need his men to make amends and improve the impression following the 4-0 defeat in the Premier League back in October. Mourinho is still holding a grudge over his former employers and the way they sacked him on the back of the lost title defence last season, so the Portuguese will be on a personal mission. This is exactly why Mourinho claims he will not be playing reserves at Chelsea, even though his men have just returned from an exhausting trip to Rostov in the Europa League. United continue to fight on multiple fronts and in addition to still aiming the top-four spot in the Premier League, they want to succeed in the FA Cup as well even though it guarantees nothing more than a Europa League spot next term. Some changes will be made however as Manchester United are locked down in a tight schedule, but Mourinho is making a promise not to play a Nicky Butt team as Manchester United are bigger than that.

Team News

Bastian Schweinsteiger is suffering from a muscular injury, whereas Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be suspended for the occasion.

Marcus Rashford could be in line for a rare start upfront, while Marouane Fellaini is likely to be given an extended spell in the starting line-up as his physical presence will give Red Devils an edge over Chelsea.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea and United are both unbeaten in last 10 matches across all competitions
  • Manchester United last beat Chelsea in 2012
  • Blues won 4 of the last 5 home encounters with Manchester United
  • There have been under 2.5 goals in 7 of the last 9 matches between these two sides
  • Mourinho suffered a 4-0 defeat in his last match at a former club

Conclusion

The FA Cup is not exactly a timely distraction for the Premier League chargers Chelsea, who will be forced to keep their focus and not let the emotions get the better of them on Monday night. Manchester United failed to win at Stamford Bridge in last six attempts, but the Monday’s clash is coming in the middle of a tight schedule and both managers could decide to save their strength for the challenges to come.  

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

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