FA Cup 2016/17: Chelsea vs Manchester United, 5 Key battles
The most exciting fixture in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup is also the last fixture in this round as Antonio Conte’s Chelsea host Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United for a place in the semi-finals. Mourinho‘s men were badly beaten in their visit to Stamford Bridge in October as the home side ran 4-0 winners.
However, the Red Devils have been unbeaten in 17 league games since then and have already won the EFL Cup against Southampton last month. They are also in the round of 16 in the Europa League and are favourites to win the tournament.
Conte’s side, on the other hand, continued their domination of the league and are currently on course to win the league as they have a 10-point gap from chasers Tottenham and Manchester City. The Blues are looking to complete the domestic double of the Premier League and FA Cup in Conte’s first season in charge of the London club.
Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham have already booked a semifinal berth and this tie will decide the final semi-final spot. Both the managers are expected to field strong line-ups but Manchester United are currently striker-less for the crunch match with Zlatan Ibrahimovic serving suspension, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial injured and Marcus Rashford falling ill.
However, Manchester United’s squad depth is one of the best in the Premier League and with Jose Mourinho conjuring many knockout wins in his glittered career, his side will be up for it.
So, let’s take a look at the 5 key battles that will decide the outcome of the match.
#1 N’Golo Kante vs Paul Pogba
On one side is the player who is playing a starring role in a title-winning team for the 2nd consecutive season and on the other side is the most expensive player till date. On one side is the league’s best destroyer who has improved to start contributing to his team’s attack after winning the ball, as was seen against West Ham last week, while the other has done well in his role but his performances will always be compared with his price tag.
The battle between Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba will very well decide the midfield battle, if not the match.
Also Read – Has Paul Pogba overcome the price tag?
Kante’s transfer from champions Leicester to Chelsea was relatively a low-key affair and under the tutelage of Conte, his forward contributions are improving as he leads the Blues to the league title. On the other hand, Pogba’s transfer from Conte’s former club Juventus to Pogba’s former club Manchester United was talked all over the footballing world. He has been doing well in the midfield role without being spectacular, thereby questions being raised of his actual worth.
Both of them will have a key role in their respective sides for the match as Pogba will be tasked to create from midfield while Kante’s exact job would be to prevent his fellow France team-mate from doing so.