Chelsea host Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Stamford bridge tonight and the best fixture has been saved till the end. The defending champions are looking to reach the FA Cup quarter finals for the fourth consecutive season and they could also become the first side to eliminate Manchester United in five consecutive FA Cup meetings. However, the Red Devils have eliminated the holders on 10 previous occasions and are looking to equal Arsenals record of 13 FA Cup titles.
We have previously documented about the tough times at Stamford Bridge and it’s fair to say Chelsea come into this fixture in a tricky period of the season for them.
Although after a drumming at The Etihad from Manchester City in the Premier League, the Blues were able to bounce back with a solid 2-1 away victory in the Europa League against Malmo. This match is the first of three tough fixtures for Chelsea with a cup final tie against City next weekend and following that they welcome a very in form Spurs side to West London (with the complication of the Malmo 2nd leg sandwiched between the two Manchester sides).
Manchester United are coming into this fixture off the back of a 2-0 home defeat to PSG in the Champions League, their first defeat in 12 games since caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær took over. Despite this defeat, United are still playing fantastic football recently and I don’t think they will be dwelling on that result. What I think will have a huge impact on the team is the injuries that occurred forcing Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard to go off, they will be a huge miss. This is a difficult spell for United too, as, if they fail to come away with the victory here, they face Liverpool off the back of two defeats and confidence might be lacking.
The bookies have Chelsea down as heavy favourites here — but I see this as a more of a 50/50 match.
Even though it is being played in London, and Manchester United do not have a great record playing away at Chelsea, having only won just 2 out of 22 fixtures, history only plays a small part.
Current form is a pivotal factor and the blues need this win much, much, more than the Reds. Over recent years, it seems this Chelsea squad are able to turn it on when it matters and The FA Cup is obviously a competition the club take seriously having been so successful in it over the past 10 years.
Both teams will see this as a trophy they can win this season therefore I expect a great game but also a tight contest that might have to be settled on penalties. These are the games where the big players are expected to turn up and earn their pay check which is something that both sides have struggled with this season!
Do you think the bookies have got it right putting Chelsea as favourites? Let us know below