18th February, 2019
It is surely going to be a match of the titans in England later today as Manchester United travel to London to take on hosts Chelsea F.C. at Stamford Bridge in a FA Cup fixture.
A few weeks back, it would have been easy to predict the outcome of this match but right now, the situation at both clubs have somewhat changed.
In this post, let’s take a look at some of those changes as they will likely affect the outcome of tonight’s game. We start with the hosts.
While Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season may have had them believing they’re title dark horses, the Blues are enduring a very worrying run of form.
Conceding six goals against Manchester City last week was surely a mini disaster and that has raised some feeling that Maurizio Sarri’s short tenure could be coming to an abrupt end as they have now lost two of their last three domestic outings. Presently located outside of the top-four in the Premier League, last year’s FA Cup winners will be glad to be making a return to Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
Coming back to West London after a 2-1 win away at Malmo in the Europa League, Chelsea are enjoying a six-match unbeaten run on home soil.
with knocking Tottenham out of the EFL Cup and booking their spot in the final last month, Sarri will be looking for January signing Gonzalo Higuain to lead their charge at the Bridge.
Bagging a brace against Huddersfield a fortnight ago, the player who is on loan from Juventus, became the first Chelsea player to score twice on their home league debut for the club in almost two decades.
FA Cup holders Chelsea will assess the fitness of several unnamed players ahead of Monday night’s tie.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s ongoing back problem kept him out against Malmo, while Marcos Alonso was rested for that game – both could return.
While Manchester United’s 2-0 loss to PSG last week may have ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unbeaten start, the mood around Old Trafford should still be on a high.
Booking a return to the top-four and playing with a new-found attacking identity, it has been arguably their form away from Old Trafford that has been gaining the most plaudits.
Winning their last six matches on the road, a run that stems back to the middle of December, the Reds have scored in their first 18 away games of a season in all competitions for the first time.
In spite of the fact that England international Marcus Rashford scoring five goals in his last six Premier League outings, one man to watch on Monday could be former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian international has scored 13 goals in his last 15 FA Cup appearances.
If United are to extend their unbeaten domestic run under Solskjaer, then the Norwegian legend will know they must improve on their recent record against the Blues. The Reds have been knocked out by Chelsea in their last four FA Cup meetings.
Manchester United forwards Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard face at least a fortnight out because of respective groin and hamstring injuries.
Teenagers Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes may feature, along with Marcos Rojo.
Full-backs Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia remain sidelined.
Key Factors to Consider
- Chelsea could become the first team to eliminate Manchester United in five consecutive FA Cup meetings.
- The defending champions are seeking to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals for the fourth consecutive season. They’ve reached the past two finals.
- Chelsea have progressed from their last 10 FA Cup home games, including a shootout win against Norwich.
- The Red Devils have eliminated the FA Cup holders on an unrivaled 10 occasions. They last did so in 2011-12 against Manchester City.
- United, vying to equal Arsenal’s record of 13 FA Cup titles, are looking to reach the quarter-finals for the fifth consecutive season. They last achieved that feat in 1966.
While Manchester United might be coming off the back of their first defeat against PSG in midweek, Monday’s visitors should be confident of picking up another eye-catching victory on their travels.
Despite Chelsea’s winning record at Stamford Bridge, the mood in Sarri’s camp is becoming more unsettled by the week and they are likely to still be feeling the effects of their 6-0 defeat against City last weekend.