Manchester United will travel to Chelsea with one thing in mind: exact FA Cup revenge on the holders. The Red Devils’ sojourn to Stamford Bridge is the undoubted highlight of the fifth-round draw.
Chelsea left a painful scar on Jose Mourinho’s United thanks to Eden Hazard’s penalty. The Belgian twisted and tore past Phil Jones before drawing a clumsy foul from the United defender after 22 minutes. He then stepped up and dispatched the penalty which proved to be the decisive moment in a final that was hard fought rather than distinguished.
A lot has changed for both sides since then. From dugout to manpower. That famous victory couldn’t save Antonio Conte’s head. Compatriot Maurizio Sarri had no qualms stepping in. Mourinho, who held on to his job, didn’t do so for too long. Not when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer loitered around Old Trafford.
The pair has led the clubs in a distinct trajectory. While United are enjoying an improbable run, unbeaten in all competitions since the Norwegian returned as Red Devil, Blues stars have found the Sarri Ball courses difficult to comprehend. Going back to the scrutinised pragmatic, negative Conte is already being pondered. But the arrival Gonzalo Higuaín will no doubt improve their game.
To get here, Chelsea thrashed Nottingham Forest 2-0, adding one more against Sheffield Wednesday in the third and fourth rounds respectively. United, meanwhile, had a more challenging trip. Yet came out unscathed against Reading and Arsenal.
The odds on Amazing Bet favour Chelsea. The Red Devils haven’t beaten their rivals in last five FA meetings. In fact, the last time United won in this competition was almost 20 years ago, en route to claiming a famous treble in 1999.
Solskjaer, though, will be boosted by his club’s league form. United have lost just once in the last three matches against Chelsea. The most recent duel ended in an entertaining 2-2 stalemate.
Manchester United and Chelsea are aiming to match Arsenal’s 13 domestic cups. While the Red Devils are just one behind, the Blues have five to catch.