|Image from Premier League News Now
Manchester United and Chelsea will temporarily take their focus off a nail-biting Top Four race on Sunday when the two sides meet in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Just one point separates them in the Premier League table, and both teams go into this repeat of the 2018 final off the back of crucial victories at the weekend. Here’s all you need to know:
Teams: Manchester United vs Chelsea
Date: July 19th 2020 (Sunday)
KO time: 18:00 BST
Competition: FA Cup
Stadium: Wembley Stadium
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard
Referee: Mike Dean
Team News :
United have injury concerns over a number of defenders, with Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones definitely out and left-back Brandon Williams still doubtful. Earlier today in the press conference, Ole confirmed that Luke Shaw would be out for the game as well. Shaw twisted his ankle against Southampton and, while he avoided any damage to his ligaments, the nature of that injury is likely to take longer to heal than Williams’s cut to his face. Diogo Dalot’s omission from that match set the journalists and fans wondering whether his term at Manchester United is over or does Solskjaer really doesn’t prefer him over Timothy Fosu-Mensah who started a club game after 3 years. But the FA Cup could give Dalot and several other fringe players a chance to start with Solskjaer likely to rest many of the forward players that have led their Premier League revival. Odion Ighalo is one of those who will be itching to start, having scored every time he has been named in the starting XI for the club.
Lampard confirmed that both midfielders N’Golo Kante and Billy Gilmour are out of contention for this game and like Ole, he faces a challenge of rotating his squad so that the players are fresh for the top four race despite having 48 hours more rest than United. The likes of Barkley, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount will all be pushing for starts too, while Fikayo Tomori is available again after injury. Both teams are expected to name their back-up goalkeepers, with Argentine duo Sergio Romero and Willy Caballero coming in.
Manchester United’s FA Cup form: DWWWW
Manchester United form (all competitions): WWWDW
Chelsea FA Cup form: WWWW
Chelsea form (all competitions): LWWLW
- Chelsea have won 12 of their last 15 FA Cup semi-final matches, losing against Manchester United in 1996, Liverpool in 2006 and Man City in 2013 in that order.
- Manchester United have progressed from 15 of their last 17 FA Cup semi-final ties, losing on penalties against Everton in 2009, and losing 0-1 against Man City in 2011.
- Manchester United are playing in their 30th FA Cup semi-final – no side has ever played in more. They have reached the final on 20 occasions, which is also a joint record (level with Arsenal for both).
- This is the fourth season in a row Chelsea and United have met in the FA Cup, with Chelsea winning in the quarter-final in 2016-17 and the final in 2017-18, and Manchester United in the fifth round last season.
- Chelsea have won four of their last five FA Cup ties against Manchester United, losing in the most recent encounter last season.
Predicted Lineup: Romero, Dalot, Bailly, Maguire, Williams, Matic, Fred, James, Pogba, Rashford, Ighalo
This is a mouth-watering battle which is very difficult to pick one side – even more so given that both managers are expected to make changes as they have one eye on the race for Champions League football. Chelsea have had a couple of extra days to prepare, but the form suggests a United win. Manchester United have already beaten Chelsea three times this season and have not lost a game in all competitions since the restart. The Red Devils have been in scintillating form in front of goal and should record another victory to book a place in the final. Chelsea will hope for revenge, but that remains unlikely to be the case as their back line has continued to leak goals this season. I expect United to edge a scrappy performance vs the Blues in a closely contested game.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea