Emirates FA Cup: Chelsea v Manchester United Prediction and Preview – Stamford Bridge – 13 March, 2017 – Quarter-finals
A tired Manchester United return from their long trip to Russia. There they played out an impressive 1-1 draw against a doughty FC Rostov in a Europa League Round of 16 clash. Jose Mourinho's men who are competing on three different fronts, get ready to face a confident and less-burdened Chelsea in a FA Cup quarter-final clash away at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte will probably field a full strength side against the Red Devils. He has tried fringe players in lesser FA Cup ties against teams like Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves), Brentford and Peterborough FC. Thibaut Courtois, N’Golo Kante and Gary Cahill are all expected to feature in Monday's game.
Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, both of whom featured in the match against the Wolves look certain to start at Stamford Bridge on March 13. Center-half David Luiz looks likely to miss the United clash thanks to an ongoing knee injury.
The last fixture the Blues' played was on Monday, March 6, a Premier League game against West Ham. This means they are well rested before the coming clash at home.
Manchester United are in the middle of a good run in 2017. Expect for blemishes in the EFL Cup with 1-2 and 2-3 losses to Hull City and Southampton, the Red Devils have remained undefeated in other competitions for months.
Ibrahimovic's goal-getting touch is still intact (26 from 40 appearances); Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial have all got into the act upfront getting goals of late. Paul Pogba seems to be fitting in but is yet to reach the peak of his prowess. Argentine Marcos Rojo has been superb at the back. He is well-supported by the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Ashley Young.
As for field strategy, Mourinho may even try to take a leaf out of Conte's book by trying the 3-4-3 formation, one that has worked such wonders for Chelsea under their Italian coach.
The current Premier League leaders seem bookmakers' favorites for Monday's quarter final game. They have remained unbeaten in all their previous 11 meetings with Manchester United since 2012. But United's record of 7 FA Cup wins out of 9 against the Blues balances things out. Nevertheless, a fascinating duel is on the cards.
For Manchester United the grind continues with the hosting of FC Rostov at Old Trafford. It will be for the return leg of a decisive Europa League Round of 16 tie, just three days after Monday's FA Cup clash.