Manchester United vs. Chelsea FA Cup PREVIEW

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PREVIEW: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

DATE: Sunday 19th July 2020

VENUE – Wembley Stadium

COMPETITION: FA Cup

CHANNEL: BBC ONE

OFFICIAL: Mike Dean

 

FA CUP JOURNEY

Manchester United

Manchester United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers (Replay)

Tranmere Rovers 0-6 Manchester United

Derby County 0-3 Manchester United

Norwich City 1-2 Manchester United (AET)

 

Chelsea

Chelsea 2-0 Nottingham Forest

Hull City 1-2 Chelsea

Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool

Leicester City 1-2 Chelsea

 

Manchester United’s road to Champions League qualification will be on the back burner as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his United team to Wembley to face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final.

 

For both Chelsea and Manchester United, the Top 4 battle takes priority, and both may play weakened teams in this cup tie however it still is an FA Cup semi-final and both managers will want to win a trophy in their first full seasons in charge of their respective clubs.

 

Ole’s United is currently 3-0 against Lampard’s Chelsea this season with an aggregate score of 8-1 but it’s always the final result that is remembered so Solskjaer would want to inflict a fourth and final loss onto Chelsea.

 

This will be a fascinating encounter more than anything else so let’s dive into this cup semi-final and digest everything Manchester United vs. Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final.

 

Last Meeting

As said previously, United have already beaten ‘The Blues’ on three separate occasions this season and the last meeting was a convincing 2-0 away win for ‘The Red Devils’.

 

Anthony Martial scored on the stroke of half time to give United the lead and then Harry Maguire grabbed his first Premier League goal for his new club to seal the win.

 

The game itself was tainted by a contentious VAR decision as United captain appeared to kick out at Michy Batshuayi as they tussled off the pitch. After the game, Maguire controversially gave reasoning for his kick explaining that he went to stop the Belgian from falling. However dodgy this decision was, it shouldn’t take away from United’s performance and if they put in a display similar to that then they should have no worries getting past Chelsea in this cup semi.

 

Manchester United Team News

Manchester United have had a busy week with a draw against Southampton and a tough away win at Crystal Palace so expect some much-needed changes in this game. Solskjaer will rotate to allow for rests before the crucial game on Wednesday against West Ham, but he shouldn’t go fully the other way because at the end of the day it is an FA Cup semi-final and it is a fantastic opportunity to win a cup in his first full season in charge of the club that gave him his legendary status.

 

Formation

Despite it being a different competition, the formation should transfer from league to cup. 4-3-3 has been the key to United’s success recently so there is no reason to change it even for a cup tie.

VERDICT: 4-3-3

 

Goalkeeper

The best second choice keeper in English Football has unbelievable patience and knows his place as a cup keeper. This one, like normal, is a no brainer. A cup game calls for a cup keeper and Sergio Romero is one of the best there is in that department.

VERDICT: Sergio Romero

 

Defence

A tough one to start the defence. Aaron Wan Bissaka has had a great first season as Man United’s right back despite having a poor return after lockdown. However, our second choice Diogo Dalot is clearly not favourable by Ole Gunnar as Fosu Mensah, who hadn’t started since May 2017, was picked ahead of the Portuguese youngster for the game at Palace. Despite his form, I believe Wan Bissaka is the right choice to counter the pace and skill that Chelsea will undoubtably have on the wings.

 

I have had my say on Harry Maguire before, but this is a game for a physical defender and a leader and like it or not, Harry Maguire is United’s leader. Olivier Giroud is on form for Chelsea and needs a Maguire type figure in order to counter him and with our resident Slabhead as captain, that confirms he must be involved from the start against Chelsea.

 

Man United’s defensive options at centre back are as scarce as toilet roll was four months ago. With Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe out injured, Chris Smalling out of loan at Roma and Marcus Rojo MIA, Ole only has two centre back options to partner Maguire, so in order to rest Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly needs to start against Chelsea. A cup semi? Surely a game a player of Bailly’s passion and potential should be up for.

 

Another full back, another headache for Solskjaer. United’s boss confirmed Luke Shaw is out of the Chelsea tie due to the injury he sustained against Southampton on Monday and although history tells us not to always believe Ole in a presser, this is an opportunity for Williams. Yes, Williams is also carrying a knock and sporting a black eye that looks like he has just been ten rounds with Mike Tyson, but I reckon he should be fit enough to start. Fosu Mensah was the other option but having played his first full game in a long while, he might not be up for this game so that’s why I’m advocating a start for the young Englishman. Make a name for yourself kid.

VERDICT: Aaron Wan Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Brandon Williams

 

Midfield

No matter how much of an FA Cup fan you may be, you can’t justify it being more important than the league and the top 4 race. Usually, Nemanja Matic would be a no brainer however even after a rest at Selhurst Park, he shouldn’t be risked considering the magnitude of the game on Wednesday. Scott Mctominay started against Palace and was shaky, so I don’t expect him to feature again in the league this season. That’s why he should start in the cup in order to rest key players. Scott is still a good player and may very well cause problems for the 8-time FA Cup winners.

 

Fred has had a weird season. He was almost non-existent from August through to October and then was a key part in United’s team just prior to lockdown and since the restart has been poor to say the least. This is a big opportunity for the Brazilian to find his form again and maybe force his way back into the team. Fred starts.

 

As for the more advanced midfielder, it needs to be Bruno Fernandes. Chelsea are a hard team to break down so a player of Fernandes’s quality is almost a must in order to punish a mistake prone defence. He is used to playing many games way back in the Portuguese league for Sporting so I reckon Bruno can cope with adding a cup game into his already busy schedule.

VERDICT: Scott Mctominay, Fred, Bruno Fernandes

 

Attack

Dan James was not involved for any of United’s win at Palace which leads me to suggest a start against Chelsea. Greenwood was close to getting in my team but his slight knock he played through on Thursday was enough to warrant a rest. Pace is a big part of cup ties and that’s about everything James can bring to the game. The Welshman has about a 20% chance of changing this game, but he is a good alternative option Chelsea won’t expect and will struggle to contain. This could be the game that James saves his United career.

 

I’ve seen a lot of talk about Jesse Lingard in the build up to this game and I can see why. His energy and pace could cause Chelsea problems but with James already selected I see Jesse Lingard as a waste of a position considering he would just double up on what the Welshman will already bring. So, I think an in form Rashford should start. He has a good record against Chelsea including a wonder free kick in the League Cup last year so an involvement for ‘The Doctor’ will be brilliant for ‘The Red Devils’.

 

It’s a tossup between Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo in who should start up front for United on Sunday. I’m going the Nigerian dominator, Odion Ighalo. When he is brought into the team, he rarely disappoints and as a cup striker goes, is an upper echelon player. If needs be, Martial can be subbed on, just like against Norwich, and help turn the tide in United’s favour.

VERDICT: Daniel James, Marcus Rashford, Odion Ighalo

Chelsea Team News

The biggest news coming out of the Chelsea camp is the emission of N’Golo Kante due to injury. He has missed all games since lockdown and will be a major miss for ‘The Blues’.

 

The only other injury concern for Lampard’s men is Scottish youngster Billy Gilmour who suffered a terrible injury a few games back and is out for the rest of the season.

 

Frank will likely rotate and the predicted line-up is seen below:

Prediction

A fascinating game is on the horizon and with many expected changes, this one is almost impossible to predicted. Almost.

 

I’m riding a wave of momentum after my correct prediction for Palace and my near perfect one against Southampton and I want to continue my hot form so I’m going with a big 3-2 win for United but for the winning goal in extra time. I beg it doesn’t go into ET but if it does, I think United have what it takes to walk away with the dub.

VERDICT: Manchester United 3-2 Chelsea (AET)

 

What’s your thoughts and predictions for this tight cup semi? Let them known in the comments below.

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