Manchester United vs Chelsea
FA Cup, Quarter-Final (Sunday 10th March, 2013 – 16:30 KO)
Sir Alex Ferguson on bouncing back from Tuesday night’s disappointment: “My job now is to galvanise the troops and the fans, who were fantastic on Tuesday. We owe them a good performance on Sunday. There are a lot of things you can do when you lose a game. One thing we don’t do is give in.”
Tuesday’s done with. Time to move on. And what better way than an FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea? Phil Jones isn’t quite ready to make his comeback and won’t feature. Neither will Ryan Giggs who will be rested after his exceptional midweek excursions. Nemanja Vidic is also likely to be left out, with Jonny Evans coming back into the side. Robin van Persie looked tired against Madrid and could also be rested, although, with a week off after Sunday, may still feature. Wayne Rooney, in the press this week for all the wrong reasons, should start. As will hat-trick hero Shinji Kagawa, fresh after a week off. Nani’s inclusion could be interesting – is his head right? If it is, play him. Let him get the frustration and disappointment of Tuesday night out of his system. Elsewhere, Javier Hernandez, who boasts a good goalscoring record vs Chelsea (5 in 6), should be worth a start.
Predicted United line-up: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Cleverley, Carrick, Kagawa, Rooney, Hernandez
FA Cup record at home: P194 W126 D36 L32 F403 A172
FA Cup record vs Chelsea: P11 W8 D1 L2 F21 A8
FA Cup form: W L D W W W
FA Cup 2012/13 so far: West Ham 2-2 United (Third Round), United 1-0 West Ham (Third Round replay), United 4-1 Fulham (Fourth Round), United 2-1 Reading (Fifth Round)
Much-loved Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez showing the depth of his football knowledge ahead of the quarter-final tie: “If you analyse the squad they have, they have four strikers and two players in each position… In attack, they have Chicharito, Welbeck, Rooney and Van Persie, and they can play any of them.”
Chelsea travel to Old Trafford on the back of a 1-0 Europa League defeat against Steaua Bucharest, and on a run of only 2 wins and 5 goals in 5 games. Their FA Cup record, however (no 90 minute defeat since 2008), is exceptional. Demba Ba is likely to come back into the side, replacing Fernando Torres, who struck another blank in their midweek Romanian loss. Ramires, also rested on Thursday, will likely start. Juan Mata, a midweek substitute, will come back into the starting XI, too, with Victor Moses, given a Europa League night off, also likely to be involved at some point. 2 games in 4 days may be too much for John Terry, with Gary Cahill on stand-by.
Predicted Chelsea line-up: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Hazard, Lampard, Mata, Ba
FA Cup record away: P50 W26 D14 L10 F91 A52
FA Cup form: W W W D W W
FA Cup 2012/13 so far: Southampton 1-5 Chelsea (Third Round), Brentford 2-2 Chelsea (Fourth Round), Chelsea 4-0 Brentford (Fourth Round Replay), Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea (Fifth Round)
Recent meetings at Old Trafford
United 3-1 Chelsea (18-09-11), United 2-1 Chelsea (08-05-11), United 2-1 Chelsea (12-04-11), United 1-2 Chelsea (03-04-10), United 3-0 Chelsea (11-01-09)
Howard Webb. The 41-year-old has taken charge of 23 Premier League matches this season, brandishing 82 yellow cards and 2 reds, awarding 5 penalties. He has officiated 2 FA Cup ties, booking 7 players. Last took charge of a United fixture in the 2-1 win over Liverpool back in January.
2012/13 head-to-head (PL)
Goals: (United) 68 – (Chelsea) 56
Conceded: 31 – 30
Top scorer: Robin van Persie (19) – Frank Lampard (11)
Assists: Wayne Rooney (9) – Juan Mata (9)
Most appearances: Robin van Persie (25/3) – Fernando Torres (23/5)
Best passer: Michael Carrick (77.6/87.8%) – Juan Mata (52.5/85.1%)
Disciplinary: 43 yellows, 0 reds – 39 yellows, 2 reds
Average possession: 56.5% – 55.5%
Pass success rate: 85.7% – 83.6%
The last time Chelsea lost an FA Cup tie inside 90 minutes, Lily Allen’s “The Fear” was at Number One in the singles chart.
Wayne Rooney is 2 goals away from equalling Bobby Charlton’s club-record 10 goals vs Chelsea.
Chelsea are on a run of 27 FA Cup matches without defeat…
… but United hold the best record in FA Cup history of 11 wins (five under Sir Alex), 18 appearances in the final and 27 in the semi-finals.
There have been a grand total of 24 goals scored in the last 4 matches between the two sides.
3, 3, 3, 4 – United goals scored vs Chelsea in the last 4 encounters.
Score prediction: United 2-1 Chelsea