Manchester United will be looking to de-throne current FA Cup holders Chelsea as they meet in the competition’s fifth round at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
The two sides rank joint-third and second respectively for triumphs in this competition. Whilst Chelsea have lifted the world’s oldest association football cup competition on eight occasions, United have won the trophy 12 times, only Arsenal have been more successful (13).
This is the third time in as many seasons that the two sides have faced each other in London during this competition, with Chelsea winning the 2017 quarter-final and 2018 final 1-0 against the Red Devils who at the time, were under the guidance of former Blues boss, Jose Mourinho.
Current manager Maurizio Sarri rotated parts of his side during Thursday’s Europa League trip to Malmo, meaning that a number of players who missed out on that match may return against United.
Here is who we believe will start for the Blues in the capital against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side tomorrow.
Predicted line-up: (4-3-3) Kepa Arrizabalaga; Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Marcos Alonso; N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Ross Barkley; Willian, Gonzalo Higuain, Eden Hazard
Predicted substitutes: Willy Caballero, Andreas Christensen, Emerson, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Olivier Giroud
Kepa Arrizabalaga is yet to feature in this competition having watched Willy Caballero play during wins over Sky Bet Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday during rounds three and four. Monday could see him make his maiden FA Cup outing, where his likely counterparts for the visitors could well be the man currently keeping him out of Spain’s national side, David De Gea.
Whilst Marcos Alonso stayed in England for the win over Malmo and Antonio Rudiger was an unused substitute for that match, the duo could be recalled against United in place of Emerson and Andreas Christensen respectively. The incoming defensive regulars under Sarri could well find themselves starting alongside the long-serving Blues’ defensive pair of Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz in the back four.
France’s 2018 World Cup-winning midfielder N’Golo Kante was also part of the squad that went to Malmo but only featured from the bench. He is set to be recalled, where he will find himself playing in the three-man midfield with Jorginho and Ross Barkley, with Mateo Kovacic dropping to the bench.
Kante’s international colleague, Olivier Giroud, scored his fifth Europa League goal of the season against Malmo, but like fellow World Cup-winning Blue, Pedro, may find himself left out of Sarri’s starting side, where Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard are set to return and could start with Willian in the front three.
Chelsea’s key advantages going into this match are their impressive record in this competition against United and the fact that the Red Devils tasted defeat for the first time under Solskjaer in midweek against Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League at Old Trafford.
Score prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United (Chelsea to win on penalties)