The 2017-18 Emirates FA Cup Final has arrived as Chelsea meet Manchester United at Wembley in the ‘Jose Mourinho derby’.
This year’s Final will however be an emotional occasion following the death of ex England international, Ray Wilkins last month.
Having disappointed this season in their title defences across both Premier League and EFL Cup respectively, this match represents one last chance for either team to collect some silverware, so who will be their club’s hero?
Chelsea have an unchanged squad available with only three long term absentees.
Danny Drinkwater (calf), David Luiz (knee) and Ethan Ampadu (ankle) are the Blues’ only missing players.
Manchester United meanwhile could welcome back three key players for the Final.
Belgians, Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini have recovered from foot and muscular injuries respectively, but could well be used as substitutes rather than starters.
France’s Anthony Martial is however a doubt as he struggles to overcome a knee injury.
Chelsea saw a seven match unbeaten run across cup and league ended last weekend when they fell to a 3-0 away defeat at Newcastle United.
During that run, Super Sub – Oliver Giroud netted four of the Blues’ 11 goals.
Manchester United meanwhile have been inconsistent since booking their place here, winning twice at home but struggled in their two away games.
They fell to a shock 1-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion before mustering up a 0-0 draw at West Ham six days later.
Road to Wembley
|3||Derby County (H)||2-0|
|4||Yeovil Town (A)||0-4|
|5||Huddersfield Town (A)||0-2|
|6||Brighton & Hove Albion (H)||2-0|
|SF||Tottenham Hotspur (N)||2-1|
Manchester United have enjoyed a nice comfortable run to this final with just the one goal conceded, last time out against Tottenham Hotspur.
£90m summer signing – Romelu Lukaku was a key figure during this competition, scoring four goals across rounds 3-6 to guide United to the Semi-Finals before injury ruled him out of the last match.
Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera meanwhile popped up with two goals each, with the Mexican scoring the Semi-Final winner to send United into their second FA Cup Final in three seasons.
|3||Norwich City (A)||0-0|
|3 – Replay||Norwich City (H)||1-1 (Chelsea win 5-3 on penalties)|
|4||Newcastle United (H)||3-0|
|5||Hull City (H)||4-0|
|6||Leicester City (A)||1-2 AET|
Unlike Man Utd, Chelsea had a slightly tougher run to the final, needing penalties to get past Norwich before comfortably brushing Newcastle and Hull aside at home.
Leicester however provided a stern Quarter-Final test with Pedro coming to Chelsea’s rescue with an extra time winner.
Southampton then provided a tough test in first half before Giroud and Alvaro Morata struck in second half to send Chelsea to their fifth FA Cup Final at the new Wembley Stadium.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in four of last six FA Cup meetings with Manchester United, winning and losing one replay apiece.
- These teams have met in two previous FA Cup Finals, United winning 4-0 in 1994 before Chelsea exacted revenge with a 1-0 win in the 2007 Final. which is Jose Mourinho’s only FA Cup title so far.
- Manchester United’s 2-1 home Premier League win in February was the first time in last five meetings across all competitions where both teams scored at least once.
- Across six FA Cup ties (including replays) where Chelsea were classed as the home team, the Blues won five of those meetings 8-7 on aggregate.
- Nemanja Matic last year played in the final for Chelsea, losing 2-1 to Arsenal before making a summer switch to United.
- Oliver Giroud has scored just once before at Wembley in the FA Cup, that goal coming in the 2015 Final against Aston Villa.
- Michael Oliver has refereed just two previous meetings between these teams, drawing 1-1 in league in February 2016, before taking charge of their Quarter-Final clash last season in this competition when he sent off Ander Herrera for a foul on Eden Hazard.
I am expecting a competitive game here but United seem to have lost their away mojo lately.
For that reason and Chelsea’s recent record in this fixture, I can see a Blues win here.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
Result: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United