A repeat of last seasons FA Cup final takes place on Monday night at Stamford Bridge in the fifth round of this season’s competition. Chelsea of course came out victorious to lift our eighth FA Cup thanks to a 1-0 win courtesy of an Eden Hazard penalty.
This will be the third consecutive season that the two sides have faced each other in this competition. We beat them in the quarterfinals in 2017 also by one goal to nil. Ngolo Kante the scorer on that occasion. Chelsea have been victorious in the last four FA Cup ties between the sides. Two of these have been finals. Last seasons win, and the first final at the new Wembley in 2007. That win was also by a 1-0 score line, albeit after extra time. Didier Drogba scoring the winner in a tightly contested match. There have been three finals contested between the teams, the other final was in 1994, our first in the competition since winning it in 1970. This ended in a 0-4 defeat in the rain at Wembley.
To find the last Manchester United victory against Chelsea in the FA Cup you have to go back twenty years. Manchester United progressed from the quarterfinal replay at Stamford Bridge thanks too a double from Dwight Yorke. This was the fifth FA Cup tie between the sides in five years. The 0-0 draw, which led to the replay in 99, was the only match of the five in which we were not beaten. The 94 final defeat was followed by a semi final loss at Villa Park in 96 as we couldn’t hold the lead that a Ruud Gullit header had given us. We won the cup the next season, but were unceremoniously dumped out in our first match as holders in 98 after a 3-5 home defeat in the 3rd round.
There have been fifteen meetings between the sides in this competition overall. Despite our good recent results, we trail the head to head 5-8, with there having been two draws.
In all competitions our recent record against the red devils is excellent, with only two defeats in the last seventeen matches. We are also unbeaten in ten home matches against them, spanning seven years. Of those matches we have only drawn two, the last meeting between the teams this season, Ross Barkley scoring a 96th minute equaliser, and 1-1 in the league in February 2016.
As far as team news goes, Loftus-Cheek is a doubt as he continues to recover from a back injury. Everyone that featured on Thursday against Malmo is fit and available. It is difficult to judge the team selection, as players were changed for the Malmo match based on the woeful performance away at Manchester City, and in line with the general rotation we have seen in the Europa league thus far. However, by looking at players rested or subbed in that match, it is pretty safe to judge that Higuain will start with Hazard alongside him, likely joined in a front three by Pedro. Alonso didn’t travel and continues to be in and out of favour, so possibly Emerson will continue at left back. Kante was rested and Jorginho subbed in the second half so those two will start with either Kovacic or Barkley in midfield.
The visitors have been on an upward trajectory since Solksjaer took the reigns, and have moved ahead of us in the league now. They did suffer defeat at the hands of PSG at home in the Champions league last week however.
This promises to be another tight encounter. A one-goal margin has decided three of the last six matches between the sides. Chelsea will have to improve dramatically from the defeat at Man City, but took a step in the right direction on Thursday. It will be interesting to see how the visitors set out against us given this is our first encounter with their new manager. It may be the case that we will have to adjust our style if he decides to man mark Jorginho as is becoming popular, but we adapted and played around this problem when defeating Tottenham in the league cup. Let’s hope our good home record, and recent good form in the cup against Manchester United continues.