What: English FA Cup Semifinal
Where: Wembley Stadium, London.
When: Sunday July 19; 6:00PM.
There are lots of rivalries in the world of football, but as far as fans in Nigeria go, Manchester United vs Chelsea has to be the biggest. These two clubs have the biggest fanbases in the country, seeing as they've been the two most dominant Premier League clubs since the start of this century.
And on Sunday, these two bitter rivals will take to a neutral Wembley pitch to do battle in an FA Cup semifinal tie. The irony is, they are also battling themselves in the League for a Champions League spot, so its left to be seen whether any of the managers would field a weaken lineup. But whatever lineups take to the pitch, both sides will be gunning for victory. So, who WILL emerge victorious?
Let's take a look at a few factors first:
Well, United have been probably the most inform team in the league, having drawn just two and won their remaining games. It's because of this form that they're level with Leicester and a point behind Chelsea, who have been slightly patchy and inconsistent, beating Manchester City but losing to West Ham United and Sheffield United. Both teams won their last games, Chelsea beating Norwich 1-0, while United triumphed over Crystal Palace 2-0.
United, since the second game of the restart, have played the same formation: a 4-3-3, with a rejuvenated Nemanja Matic at the holding midfield, giving allowance for Pogba and Fernandes to do damage, while Greenwood, Martial and Dr. Marcus Rashford have formed a fine, fine attacking trident.
Chelsea have been more flexible, but Lampard has mostly employed a 4-3-3 as well, with Kante as the DMF and an AMF duo of Mount and Barkley. Pulisic, Giroud and Willian have led the line, with all in fine form since the restart. But Kante is injured, so Lampard will have to choose whether or not he wants to change his formation.
Its hard to pinpoint an exact key player for United, because while Pogba and Fernandes have run the show from midfield, Martial and Rashford have struck a magnificent partnership, along with the excellent Mason Greenwood. Nemanja Matic has excelled low key too.
For Chelsea, its definitely Christian Pulisic. The american winger has been sensational, scoring 3 and assisting one since the restart, while winning a bunch of penalties. But should Mason Mount start - and he likely will - then watch out for the combination between him and Pulisic, as well as the Pulisic - Giroud link up, with a little bit of Willian.
Seems everything good Chelsea does has Pulisic at the middle.
Head to Head
Now there's a clear winner here. United have beaten Chelsea three times already this season by an aggregate of 8-1, including an emphatic 4-0 bashing at Old Trafford in the opening day. In fact, Solskjaer hasn't lost to Chelsea since his appointment December 2019.
It will be a tough game. Hard to call, but perhaps Man United have the advantage thanks to the fact that Solskjaer seemingly knows how to best Chelsea, plus the Red Devils have been in better form than the Blues.
But Chelsea are still huge threat, as shown when they beat Manchester City 2-1. If Lampard plays his cards right, the Blues might just get their first win over United in two seasons, and more importantly get an FA Cup final ticket.
I'm not gonna call this one, but I want you to predict: who will win this match?
Manchester United? Or Chelsea?
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