This season’s edition of the FA Cup is gradually drawing to a close, and one of the semifinals of the competition involves two clubs fighting it out for the limited Champions League places, Chelsea and Manchester United. The Blues are coming into this tie on the back of a narrow 1-0 victory over Norwich City in midweek and currently find themselves a point clear of United and Leicester City in 3rd place in the table. Although this outing won’t have any effect on their league positions, it could indeed turn out to be a battle for bragging rights.
Manchester United were put through a tough outing by Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace in their last fixture, but goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial ensured that the Red Devils came away with all three points. Chelsea and United have faced off against each other on three different occasions this season, twice in the Premier League and once in the Carabao Cup.
Not only have Frank Lampard’s men lost all three of those matches, but they only managed to score one goal over the course of the fixtures as well. With the race for Europe heating up, it’ll be interesting to see how either team approaches what promises to be a thrilling encounter.
Here Is The Chelsea Vs Manchester United Tactical Preview:
Chelsea Vs Manchester United Tactical Preview
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side have showcased preference to play a possession-based quick passing style of football this season, and that trend is expected to be retained for this outing. Although a deep block seems to nullify their front-line often, the fact that United are unlikely just to sit back and defend will come as a positive for the gaffer. The Blues should stick to their guns in terms of playing style but will have to ensure that they don’t leave any spaces at the back for the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to exploit.
The Old Trafford club are unbeaten since the resumption of Premier League football, but their most recent hiccup had come in a 2-2 draw against Southampton last weekend. The Red Devils’ attack line has been the talk of the town for a while now, and the combination play from the likes of Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba has been quite impressive too. The Manchester club are unlikely to sit back against this defensively poor Chelsea side and could look to attack them right from the opening whistle.
The potential return of N’Golo Kante at the heart of midfield is undoubtedly the most positive news that Chelsea could have received prior to this outing. The Frenchman has missed the last couple of games due to an injury, and his presence in the Blues’ engine room is sure to provide the London club with some much-needed defensive reassurance. Fikayo Tomori has also returned from injury but is unlikely to feature from the start against United.
Predicted Lineup: Kepa, James, Rudiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta, Kante, Barkley, Kovacic, Willian, Giroud, Pulisic
Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe have both been ruled out of contention for this fixture as they’re nursing injuries at this point. Moreover, the injury to Brandon Williams means that he’s unlikely to feature from the start for this fixture as well. Another one of the injury casualties is former Southampton man Luke Shaw, who had twisted his ankle and is doubtful to be part of the eleven. Mason Greenwood was said to be another doubt, but he featured in the win against Palace and hence expected to be available.
Predicted Lineup: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Fosu-Mensah, Pogba, McTominay, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial
Olivier Giroud’s return to the first-team last time out had a telling impact on the Blues’ attacking play, but the most important player up front for the London club is, without question, Christian Pulisic. The American will have to be at his best at the Wembley Stadium this weekend.
For all the excellent work that Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes have been doing over the last many weeks, it must be conceded that the most influential player has been Anthony Martial. The Frenchman’s hold-up play, added to his stellar finishing, has made him a key feature of this United attack-line.
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