English FA Cup Final Preview

FA Cup Final Chelsea v Man United

Chelsea and Manchester United meet in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday with both sides looking to end the season with silverware.

It is a repeat of the 2007 final when current United boss Jose Mourinho guided the Blues to a 1-0 victory after extra time. He'll be hoping for the opposite this time.

United will be looking to equal Arsenal’s record of 13 FA Cup wins. They last won this trophy in 2016, while the Blues, back in the final after losing to Arsenal in May, last won the competition in 2012 and are bidding to lift the trophy for the eighth time.

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FA Cup, Final
Saturday 19 May 
Wembley Stadium 
(18:15)

To Win (90 mins)
Chelsea 18/10
Draw 2/1
Man United 16/10

Chelsea

Antonio Conte guided Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season at Stamford Bridge but has had a disastrous second campaign in England, finishing in fifth place, meaning that the Blues will play in the Europa League next season. 

Failing to finish in the top four after a season of such excitement and promise is a devastating blow for the club, but winning the FA Cup would at least provide an uplifting conclusion to a frustrating campaign. Conte will be desperate to salvage something from the season but club owner Roman Abramovich might be looking for a new manager regardless of the Wembley result. 

Chelsea will also be looking to put last weekend’s humiliating 3-0 loss at Newcastle behind them. It was the Blues’ first defeat since April 1st, but it came in embarrassing fashion and somewhat summed up their 2017/18 campaign. 

Olivier Giroud will be hoping to extend his love affair with the FA Cup. The 31-year-old lifted the trophy with Arsenal in 2014, 2015 and 2017 before joining the Blues at the end of January. Giroud, who was on the scoresheet in the 2-0 semi-final victory over Southampton, showed he can be the main man in big games, stepping up to score in the 1-0 win over Liverpool in the beginning of the month. The Frenchman is 19/10 with Hollywoodbets to score at anytime in the game. 

Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso and Cesc Fabregas, who were all on the bench last weekend, are expected to return to the lineup. 

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Manchester United

Manchester United finished their Premier League campaign in second place, earning their highest league finish since Sir Alex Ferguson bowed out as champion in 2013. United have improved, as Mourinho's sides tend to do in his second seasons, but the Portuguese has been criticised for his negative style this season.

For all the criticism though, the numbers do at least point to progress. United jumped four places in the table from the previous season, claiming more points, scoring more goals and conceding fewer, plus they've beaten every other side in the top six and have reached the FA Cup final.

United closed out the 2017/18 Premier League season with a 1-0 victory at home to Watford, with Mourinho selecting a much-altered starting XI. David de Gea, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones and Paul Pogba were all left out of the game but should return for the clash. 

However, United could be without former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku which would be a huge blow. Lukaku sustained an ankle injury in last month's 2-1 victory over Arsenal and United have struggled in his absence, scoring just once in their final three matches. The Belgian starred against the Blues in a 2-1 win earlier in the campaign, scoring one and setting up the other. 

Lukaku is United's leading scorer in the league with 16 goals and Mourinho will be desperate to have him in the side. Anthony Martial, who is reportedly high on Chelsea’s radar, is also a major doubt with a knee injury. 

Alexis Sanchez played a key role in United’s 2-1 semi-final victory over Tottenham, delivering a man-of-the-match performance. The Chilean is on course for a third FA Cup win, having won the trophy twice previously at Arsenal, scoring in victorious finals against Aston Villa and Chelsea last season. Hollywoodbets are offering 49/20 for him to score at anytime in the match. 

Routes to the final

Third Round

Man United 2-0 Derby

Norwich 0-0 Chelsea

Chelsea 1-1 Norwich (5-3 pens)

Fourth Round

Yeovil 0-4 Man United

Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle

Fifth Round

Huddersfield 0-2 Man United

Chelsea 4-0 Hull

Quarter-finals

Man United 2-0 Brighton

Leicester 1-2 Chelsea (a.e.t)

Semi-finals

Man United 2-1 Tottenham

Chelsea 2-0 Southampton




Probable line-ups:

Chelsea: 3-4-3
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Hazard, Giroud.

Man United: 4-3-3
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Sanchez, Lingard, Lukaku.

Prediction: Manchester United (15/10)

Mourinho will be keen to pile more misery on his arch-enemy and on the club who sacked him in  2015. Chelsea were dreadful against Newcastle last weekend and United will be confident of exploiting their weaknesses. I’m backing the Red Devils to win the match in 90 minutes and claim their second FA Cup triumph in three years. 

Written by  Chadley N

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