Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal clash is expected to feature some interesting duels.In the three matches already contested by Chelsea and Manchester United in the 2019/20 season, Frank Lampard’s young Chelsea team has averaged 60% of possession and out passed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United 1,535 to 939.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, United have done the more important part by outscoring their opponents 8-1, winning all three. And with the English Premier League season two matches to the end, both teams are in the chase for UEFA Champions League, which means we could classify this FA Cup match as a glorious distraction.
In those three wins, United’s fast attackers have done the most damage, with Marcus Rashford scoring four times; Anthony Martial twice while Daniel James added another. Harry Maguire also scored a header direct from a corner kick.
Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal clash is expected to feature some interesting duels, some of which PREMIUM TIMES chronicles below.
Four duels to watch
Reece James v Marcus Rashford
Lampard has used Cesar Azpilicueta as a makeshift left-back and he will revert to this ploy against United, whose front three are the deadliest in England at the moment. It will task James, who often displays susceptible concentration levels with keeping Rashford quiet – a colossal task for the young fullback. Rashford is in majestic form and has scored three goals in the seven league matches after the restart but more succinctly two in the last two. He is fast, quick-footed, and able to link play, which means James has to be at his most alert to help his team curb the danger on United’s left flank.
Kurt Zouma v Anthony Martial
Two Frenchmen collide in the centre of attack with Martial in razor-sharp form and looking confident. On his good day, Zouma can match any attacker for pace and power, but he has been a part of a Chelsea backline that has continued to ship goals. Lampard’s first season as manager has shown defensive frailty, evident in his time at Championship side, Derby, and he will advise Zouma not to dive in when Martial has the ball at his feet. Zouma’s bad positioning and timing was one reason United hammered Chelsea 4-0 on the opening day of the EPL season, but Zouma has the chance to redeem himself and get some revenge.
Jorginho v Bruno Fernandes
The major catalyst for United’s 19-match unbeaten run has been the Portuguese midfielder who has scored and made goals since he joined Solskjaer’s revolution in January. Meanwhile, Jorginho will start for Chelsea because N’Golo Kante and Billy Gilmour are out injured. Jorginho has shown after coming into the Chelsea team why Kante and Gilmour are ahead of him in Lampard’s estimation for screening the defence. Against a player like Fernandes, who knows how to find space, especially around the opposition’s box, Jorginho will need all his wits around him to curb the dangers that Fernandes will pose.
Christian Pulisic v Aaron Wan-Bissaka
The real spark for Chelsea after the restart has been the American prodigy, Pulisic. The 21-year-old has looked tired in the last two games but will still be a handful for Wan-Bissaka, who is a hard and smooth tackler. Pulisic will pull the strings from Chelsea’s left flank and if he can get his connection with Mason Mount on the right frequency, Wan-Bissaka will have his attacking nous curbed.
Road to Wembley
Beat Nottingham Forest 2-0
Beat Wolves 1-0 after a replay
Beat Hull City 2-1
Beat Tranmere Rovers 6-0
Beat Liverpool 2-0
Beat Derby County 3-0
Beat Leicester City 1-0
Beat Norwich 2-1
“We have an opportunity, but it is up to the players and ourselves to make the best of it on Sunday. We are playing a very good team – they are in form – we know that…so, there is work to be done.” – Frank Lampard, Chelsea Manager
“It is what it is and these boys they can recover. An occasion like the semi-final at Wembley will give anyone energy.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United Manager
Recent Form: Chelsea [W-L-W-W-L]; Manchester United [W-D-W-W-W]
Head to head
17/02/20 PRL Chelsea 0 – 2 Manchester United
30/10/19 LEC Chelsea 1 – 2 Manchester United
11/08/19 PRL Manchester United 4 – 0 Chelsea
28/04/19 PRL Manchester United 1 – 1 Chelsea
18/02/19 FAC Chelsea 0 – 2 Manchester United
Probable Starting XI
Chelsea [4-2-3-1]: Caballero; James, Zouma, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Kovacic; Mount, Willian, Pulisic; Giroud
Manchester United [4-2-3-1]: Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Fosu-Mensah; Matic, Pogba; Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford, Martial