Date: Monday 13th March, 2017
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Tonight’s game sees us take on Manchester United in the sixth round of the FA Cup.
Of course, last time United came to Stamford Bridge, we kicked their arses and sent them packing with a 4-0 defeat to think about on their way home. This isn’t quite the same side we faced then though because the side that sat in 6th place for so long have put together an unbeaten run that sees the team we’ll host tonight – still in 6th place but with plenty of draws under their belts.
All joking aside though, they’re not quite the shambles they were and Jose Mourinho I’ll have been at their heads enough lately so that the side he puts out are clear of the job he expects them to do. As is usually the case with Mourinho though, half the first team are reportedly injured of ill right before the game, so we can probably expect some divine intervention to get them in the starting XI.
I’m not sure whether the United manager has mentioned our schedules are a little bit different, so whilst Antonio Conte will probably pick a stronger side than he has for the previous two cup ties, Mourinho will need to consider Thursday’s trip to Russia, what with that probably being their only hope of a Champions League spot.
I guess the only thing we need to think about, is that Jose Mourinho has never lost an FA Cup quarter-final.
Going into tonight’s game, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says “In October, before the game, I was sure of facing a great team. It’s the same now. Manchester United have, together with [Manchester] City, the best squad in the league. We have a good identity. We are showing good football, but for sure it will be a really tough game against a good team. I hope to be favourites, but to show this on the pitch, not only in the words. The facts are on the pitch. We must talk during the game on the pitch, not before. I prefer to focus on the game, and my players to speak with facts.”
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho meanwhile, says “We cannot go with Nicky Butt’s team [ie players from the under-23 team, managed by Butt]. Manchester United is too big. Manchester United is the winner of the competition. It is not Chelsea’s fault that we were given this Monday match, so we have to make changes for sure… but we cannot go to Stamford Bridge with a Nicky Butt team.”
For Chelsea, Antonio Conte has a fully fit squad to choose from.
For Man United, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford (illness) are both supposedly out although this being a Jose Mourinho side, we’ll take that news with the usual healthy pile of salt. Wayne Rooney (leg) is reported to have picked up an injury in training. The one we can guarantee won’t turn up in tonight’s United side though, is Zlatan Ibrahimovic who starts a 3-match ban.
CHELSEA (Possible starting line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Hazard, Costa, Pedro
MAN UNITED (Possible starting line-up): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Blind; Herrera, Carrick; Martial, Pogba, Mkhitaryan; Rashford
Chelsea 4-0 Man United (23rd October 2016)
RECENT FORM (All competitions)
MAN UNITED: DDWWW
~ This is the 12th time the sides have played each other in the FA Cup.
~ Manchester United have won eight and Chelsea three of their 12 FA Cup meetings.
~ Chelsea have won in both ties since the turn of the century
~ Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 11 league and cup games against United (W6, D5)
~ Chelsea and have only conceded three times in the last nine meetings.
~ United have only won two of their last 19 league and cup games at Stamford Bridge (D6, L11).
~ The last time Chelsea knocked the FA Cup holders out was in 1966 (Liverpool)
~ Chelsea have won 15 of their 16 home games under Antonio Conte in all competitions
~ Chelsea have won nine of their last 10 FA Cup home games
~ Chelsea have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals 12 times in the 21st century – more than any other side.
~ The last time United lost an FA Cup tie away from Old Trafford was their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in 2013.
~ United have progressed in 10 of their last 13 FA Cup quarter-final ties.
~ Jose Mourinho has never lost an FA Cup quarter-final.