In this topsy-turvy FA Cup another big side is guaranteed to be eliminated from the competition, but who will come out on top in this fifth round grudge match?
Sarri needs silverware
Chelsea are 15 points behind Manchester City and Liverpool in The Premier League, but still remain competitive in all other competitions. They’re in the final of The Carabao Cup, the knockouts of The Europa League and preparing for this FA Cup clash. On the face of it, you would consider that to be a pretty successful season for The Blues, still fighting for three out of four trophies. However, the reality is much harsher, after their promising start under Sarri, Chelsea have tapered off rapidly and the pressure has mounted on the Italian after embarrassing defeats to Bournemouth and Manchester City. Many thought the axe would fall after the 6-0 drubbing at The Etihad, but Chelsea pulled any punches, most likely as a result of all the competitions Sarri still has them in with a chance of winning.
But come the end of the season, or maybe even before dependant on results, there will be a day of reckoning at Stamford Bridge. Sarri has to win something in order to survive, even if he does it may not be enough, just look at his fellow countryman Roberto Di Matteo and you can get the gist of Chelsea’s ruthless recruitment policy. With the league gone, Chelsea will be keen to paint their season with some success, and getting one up on United in the process will be an extra incentive. The hosts are unbeaten in their last 10 games at home to The Red Devils. You can back them to win at a price of 1.91.
No more honeymoon for Solskjaer
It was a blinding start for the baby faced assassin in his tenure as manager, but it all came crashing down in the Champions League, as his rejuvenated reds were out-manoeuvred and outclassed by Paris Saint Germain. This was by far their toughest test since Ole’s appointment, and they were a mile off the pace. You could argue the Norwegian has had an easy start; on paper at least. Bar Tottenham and Arsenal all the sides have been much lower in the league than United, and beating Arsenal at the moment isn’t much of an accomplishment.
This represents a huge hurdle for this new look United, Chelsea at The Bridge have always been formidable, and regardless of any off the field problems that will always hold true. A win here will settle some nerves, and help to galvanize the team ahead of a home game against Liverpool before the UCL return leg in Paris a couple of weeks later.
Solskjaer was loved already by the Old Trafford faithful, and furthermore since he became manager, a win here followed by doing damage to Liverpool’s title hopes would elevate his reputation even further. The Reds are the outsiders for the tie, priced at 3.75.
Go for goals
United’s games this season have featured an average of 3.35 goals per game, and there has been over 2.5 goals in 77% of their matches, and a staggering 50% of their games this season have seen over 3.5 goals.
Marcus Rashford is bang in form and fresh off the back of the Player Of The Month award for January, he can be backed to score at 3.3 anytime or 7.5 first. If United need to soak up pressure he will be a threat on the counter, particularly if they can catch Chelsea high up the pitch where they often leave themselves vulnerable. United have scored at least two goals in seven of their last eight FA Cup games and are likely to lead with two strikers for Monday night’s trip to London.
In addition to United’s stats, Chelsea games have seen over 2.5 goals in 62% of their games. The average goals seen in their games sits at 2.85, so here’s hoping we’re in line to see an absolute classic. Over 2.5 goals is available at a price of 1.75.
Chelsea draw no bet @ 1.4
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.75
Both teams to score @ 1.6