Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea and Manchester United fight for a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on Monday night (7.45pm, live on BBC1).
Antonio Conte’s side opened up a 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with their 2-1 triumph at West Ham United last time out. Attention now turns to English football’s primary domestic cup competition, which the Blues have won seven times in their history – in 1970, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Peterborough United, Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers have already been defeated to book Chelsea’s place in the last eight. A domestic double in Conte’s first season at the helm is now a distinct possibility given how dominant the West Londoners have been in the Premier League throughout the 2016/17 campaign. They are vying for favouritism in the FA Cup outright winner betting market with the best of the online bookmakers, even in advance of having to face United here. Home advantage could also work in Chelsea’s favour. It is worth remembering that a 2-1 loss to Liverpool in September is the only time Conte’s charges have failed to emerge victorious in their 17 fixtures at Stamford Bridge in all competitions this season.
Manchester United are the defending FA Cup champions, having got the better of Crystal Palace 2-1 in last year’s showpiece at Wembley. Ambitions of winning the Premier League title have long since vanished for the Red Devils, whose focus is instead on claiming as many other trophies as possible in Mourinho’s first year in charge at Old Trafford. Man Utd have already wrapped up the EFL Cup courtesy of last month’s 3-2 defeat of Southampton in the final, while they are also in the last 16 of the Europa League. The Portuguese would love nothing more than getting revenge against his former employers following United’s 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea earlier this season, and it is likely that he will name a strong team in an attempt to guide the Red Devils into the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Monday’s clash, but Conte may opt to rest some of his first-choice starting XI as he has done in previous rounds. Having said that, the fact that this is a quarter-final against Man Utd may persuade the Italian to name his strongest side possible, which means the likes of Diego Costa, N’Golo Kante, David Luiz and Eden Hazard will probably all be included in the hosts’ line-up. Cesc Fabregas may make way for Nemanja Matic, though, and Willian could replace Pedro on the right hand-side of the Blues’ fluid front three.
Mourinho is missing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been banned for three domestic matches following his elbow on Tyrone Mings in last weekend’s meeting with Bournemouth, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan (hamstring) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (muscular) are also set to sit this match out. United will stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation they have been using for most of the campaign, with Michael Carrick likely to play at the base of midfield and Paul Pogba (pictured) pushed forward into the No.10 role.
This Preview’s Chelsea v Man Utd Betting Tips Verdict
Chelsea have been extremely impressive at Stamford Bridge all season long, and the fact that Mourinho will be without his chief goal-getter in Ibrahimovic means it is probably worth backing the Blues to come out on top in front of their own supporters on Monday night.
This could be a tight and rather low-scoring affair, however, which is why a home triumph in a game featuring fewer than 2.5 goals in total looks to be the best option when it comes to predicting the result. In the anytime goalscorer market, meanwhile, the superb Hazard would be an astute choice to increase his tally for the campaign to 12 in all competitions. In summary, here are our preview’s match betting tips:
- Chelsea to beat Manchester United with fewer than 2.5 goals scored in total at 27/10 with Coral. A simpler alternative is just to back Chelsea to win this match at 5/6 with Betfred, Paddy Power or Ladbrokes. The choice is yours.
- Expect Eden Hazard to score anytime at a best price of 23/10 with William Hill.
Greg Lea is a freelance sports writer. Read the articles that he has written at Just Bookies.