Chelsea and Manchester United will end the FA Cup – and the football season in England, for that matter – this Saturday when both sides meet at Wembley Stadium. Both teams will have one final chance to earn a piece of silverware this season, and there is no question this will be an extremely intense game. Manchester United will look to win their 13th FA Cup title – and second in the last three years after their 2016 title – while Chelsea will look to earn their eighth FA Cup, and first one since 2012.
The Red Devils will have to wait to see if Romelu Lukaku is available for this game. Jose Mourinho said they will wait “until the very last minute” to see if the Belgian international can feature upfront. Marouane Fellaini remains sidelined. The case of Anthony Martial is the opposite, though. He is fit and should be elegible for selection if the manager requires to do so.
Chelsea will be almost at full strength as well. Antonio Conte revealed that the only absent is Emerson Palmieri. However, the Brazilian-Italian full-back was not expected to play either way. The rest of the side is fit and available, although Conte has been playing mystery games with the press, and is reluctant to give any info regarding a potential starting XI.
Manchester United ended the year on a positive note since they claimed second place in the Premier League standings, and also earned a berth in the UEFA Champions League stage for the next season. But if we focus entirely in the FA Cup context, we can see that United have been one of the most dominant teams since entering the tournament in the third round. United started their campaign with wins over Derby County 2-0, Yeovil Town 4-0, Huddersfield 2-0 and Brighton 2-0 in previous rounds, and dispatched Tottenham by a 2-1 score in the semifinals. Overall they have scored 12 goals and conceded just one.
On the other hand, Chelsea couldn’t reach the UEFA Champions League after losing 3-0 against Newcastle United in the final week of the Premier League campaign. They clinched a UEFA Europa League berth after finishing in fifth place of the standings. However, it was a disappointing season considering they won the Premier League title just 12 months ago. In the FA Cup context, they also entered in the third round and improved as the tournament went on. After a penalty shootout against Norwich, they destroyed Newcastle 3-0 and Hull City 4-0 at home to make the quarter-finals. They needed extra time against Leicester City (2-1) in the quarterfinals, and defeated Southampton 2-0 in the semifinals.
What happened the last time these two sides met?
The last time these two sides played it was at Old Trafford, where Manchester United won 2-1 thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard.
Expect a nerve-wracking game. This one will likely end in extra time or even penalties.
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