The fifth round of the FA Cup is a great chance for both Chelsea and Manchester United to redeem their reputations after games they would rather forget when they take each other on Monday night (18 February, 7.30pm).
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is under real pressure after Chelsea’s 6-0 humiliation at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last weekend and, despite Chelsea’s subsequent Europa League win over Malmo, he’s now odds-on to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post. Whether that will happen sooner rather than later if Chelsea lose to United on Monday night remains to be seen.
By comparison, Manchester United’s home defeat to PSG stopped Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s dream start as United’s caretaker manager, but he remains the firm favourite to be given the job full-time in front of Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Despite that, the loss to PSG will surely have set some alarm bells ringing on the Manchester United board as to whether Solskjaer has the tactical awareness to take United back to the top of European football.
However, for now, all that Sarri and Solskjaer can do is try and win this match.
Chelsea Current Form
Gonzalo Higuain was supposed to be the missing part of the puzzle for Chelsea but, whilst the Argentinean hitman scored twice on debut in Chelsea’s 5-0 win over Huddersfield, he made no impact in Chelsea’s game against Manchester City.
Unbelievably, neither did Chelsea’s other world-class stars Kante, Jorginho, Barkley, Pedro, and Hazard, and it was a performance that was a far cry from the one that saw Chelsea beat City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season.
But Chelsea’s troubles aren’t surfacing just when playing away, as they’ve also suffered a home defeat to Leicester and failed to score against Southampton in a 0-0 home draw. So, is it a case of the players not wanting to play for Sarri, just like Manchester United’s didn’t want to play for Jose Mourinho before he was sacked at Old Trafford?
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Manchester United Current Form
PSG may have seriously dented Solskjaer’s dreams of leading United to Champion league glory this season, but there’s no doubt that the United players have been enjoying playing for him with the emphasis more on playing attacking football than under predecessor Mourinho.
United’s away form has been especially impressive since Solskjaer’s arrival, with a 100% record against Cardiff, Newcastle, Tottenham, Arsenal, Leicester, and Fulham. Clean sheets in the last four of those games are even more impressive and United’s tactics may be to try and soak up any Chelsea pressure and hit them quickly on the break.
Chelsea vs Manchester United Head-To-Heads
Manchester United haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since 2012, but it took a 95-minute equaliser from Chelsea to stop them doing so earlier this season. That match ended 2-2, whilst United won 2-1 at Old Trafford last season. In between those matches, Chelsea won the 2018 FA Cup Final against United. But those head-to-heads may not count for anything here as this will be a new clash of management styles.
Chelsea vs Manchester United Team News
Chelsea appear to have fewer injury worries than Manchester United coming into this match, with only Rufus Loftus-Cheek a major doubt.
By contrast, United look certain to be without the in-form pair of Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial. That does appear to be a negative, but the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, and Juan Mata will surely be chomping at the bit to have a chance to re-establish themselves in the first team. United may also call on two stars of the future in Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong.
Chelsea vs Manchester United Outright Betting
It’s easy to see why Chelsea have shortened in the betting in the run-up to this match. Chelsea have won five FA Cup since 2007, haven’t been beaten by United at Stamford Bridge since 2012, and appear to have less injury worries.
But, despite those positives for Chelsea, United may be at the beginning of a new era under Solskjaer, who won the FA Cup twice with United as a player and should see this as his best chance to grab a trophy this season. Add in United great away form and the price for a United win is just too tempting to resist.
Chelsea vs Manchester United Free Tip:
Manchester United @ 3.74 1XBet, 5Dimes, Marathon
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