We’re into the F.A. Cup 5th Round at Wannamakeabet.com and the best has certainly be saved for last. Chelsea will host Manchester United on Monday night and with replays no longer a part of the competition, there has to be winner at Stamford Bridge. Here’s our preview and prediction.
We’ve already seen these two sides play a highly entertaining 2-2 draw back in October of last year In that game Ross Barkley earned a point for Chelsea in the last seconds of the game.
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Both teams are firmly in the race for finishing 4th in the Premier League at the end of the season and although there are no points on offer at the start of the next week, a win for either side will give them a huge confidence boost going into the final third of the campaign.
Chelsea Feeling Good
Speaking of confidence boosts, Chelsea has one after Thursday night when they earned a win in the Europa League Round of 32. Their last league outing saw them hit for six, as a rampant Manchester City ran riot on their way to returning to the top of the table. Maurizio Sarri’s men were nothing short of awful that afternoon, as they found themselves down 0-4 after just 25 minutes.
Somewhat ironically though, it was Sarri who was left apologizing for his players’ performances come full time and the former Napoli boss may well become the former Chelsea boss at the end of the season, if he does not deliver any hardware by the time the year ends.
Silverware is also the primary objective for Manchester United’s interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Not only because the 1999 Champions League winner wants to bring the good times back to Old Trafford, but also because it solidifies his prospect of earning the job on a permanent basis.
However, it might have to be the FA Cup where all their hope now lies, as Solskjaer suffered his first defeat since taking charge of the club back in December 2018. That came at the hands of French giants PSG.
The 2-0 loss on Wednesday night, leaves United with it all to do in the second leg and they will have to go to the French capital without Paul Pogba. The World Cup winner was sent off in the final minute after earning two yellow cards.
Key Injuries for Man U
And Manchester United may also have absentees for Monday’s trip to the capital, after a number of injuries were inflicted during that defeat to PSG. Both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are listed as doubtful and will be sorely missed should they be unavailable.
At the same time, you do have to wonder just how strong each lineup will be, what with the Premier League battle for 4th place still the overriding objective for both clubs. Will either Sarri or Solskjaer hold anything back or will they go full throttle?
There’s not a great deal to split these two clubs, the fact that there is just a point between them in the league going into this game highlights this. It was a draw in the league, it could well be that it’s a draw after 90 minutes and then from there on it’s anyone guess as to who goes onto the 6th Round.
I’ll give the advantage to the home club in this one and take Chelsea +102. A pretty even game and some potential injuries for Man U makes Chelsea the right side for me.
Alex Johansen is a soccer analyst for Wannamakeabet.com.