Date: Sunday 19th July 2020
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Kick-off: 18:00 BST
Our last couple of games have been reminiscent of a Boris Johnson Covid-19 update: uncomfortable to watch; convincing no-one; and everyone just wants it over. Tonight’s opponents in the FA Cup semi-final are about as welcome as our PM’s updates as well, given we’ve lost to them three times already this season.
It’s a bit of a resurgent Manchester United we meet in today’s teatime game, with Fernandes doing literally whatever it takes to gain them an advantage in games and VAR seemingly mirroring his efforts. Maybe that’s a bit harsh because clearly, it isn’t VAR that’s advantaged them in games this season at all – it’s the men sitting in front of it. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his followers can argue that as much as they like but thirteen penalties and counting, suggests they’ve done more than alright from the officials this season.
We could definitely do with a bit of their ‘luck’ if we’re going to avoid massaging their egos today. We might have won four of the last five FA Cup ties between us but United have nine wins to our five and are unbeaten in their last six games against us. Whilst we’ve stood up to better sides than United this season, we’ve blown hot and cold – and have been positively arctic in the lead up to today.
Our league games obviously take priority over a domestic cup but another loss to United would be almost unbearable for us and Frank. The question is, will the Chelsea that turn up serve up a teatime treat or just another dogs dinner?
Going into today’s game, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar-I’m-not-touchy-Solskjaer says “It looks like people want to influence whoever is making the decisions. I hear people talking about luck, that we’ve been lucky more than unlucky. If you look at the factual decisions – and I don’t want to sound like a certain manager talking about facts – but if you’re offside, you’re offside – that is clear.
Talking about luck… the penalty that we got against Tottenham in the last minute that was taken away from us, the might have been two points for us. Talking about the red card that [Oriol] Romeu should have had against us when he got Mason Greenwood almost crippled, that should have been a red card. Maybe that would have helped us. Talking about Mark Noble when he should have been sent off against us when we lost to West Ham. Talking about the actual decision that is made, that is against Manchester United but is overturned and corrected. So it is actually me that should be complaining that we get decisions against us on the pitch by the onfield referee. There is a narrative there but we just have to focus on our games and let other people talk.”
Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, meanwhile says “It would be nice if VAR worked in our favour in this one. There is always a human element, they have to make a decision.
The confusing thing about some of the recent ones – and the one on Thursday (when Palace were denied a penalty) – is that it’s a very, very clear and obvious decision that was wrong and didn’t get reviewed and changed. A few of those have happened and that is strange. You have to be level-headed. Some might go against you or not. But we seem to be in a period where, in terms of Manchester United, they’ve got a few in their favour.” With a little warning for our defence, Lampard goes on to say “They have to be careful because when players of such high quality and speed as the United forwards travel quickly you have to move your feet and not dive in. You understand the qualities of the opposition with players like that, and Fernandes because he’s very clever in his movement. We saw that at Aston Villa to make something feel like a penalty where maybe it even isn’t. We can talk about VAR decisions and whether they’re right or wrong but if a player is going to dangle a leg and not move their feet then you obviously do leave yourself open to penalties, VAR or no VAR.”
For Manchester United, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones remain out and Luke Shaw (ankle) and Brandon Williams (head) are doubts. Brandon Williams should be fit after a facial injury.
For Chelsea, N’Golo Kante (hamstring) and Billy Gilmour (knee) are absentees.
MANCHESTER UNITED (Possible line-up): Romero; Dalot, Bailly, Maguire, Williams; Matic, Fred; James, Pogba, Rashford; Ighalo
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Caballero; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Alonso; Barkley, Jorginho, Mount; Willian, Abraham, Pulisic
Chelsea 0-2 Manchester United (17th February 2020)
CURRENT FORM (ALL)
MANCHESTER UNITED: WWWWDW
- Manchester United have beaten Chelsea three times so far this season
- The teams are meeting for the fourth season in a row in the FA Cup.
- Manchester United beat Chelsea in the fifth round last season.
- Manchester United are six games unbeaten against Chelsea
- Manchester United are playing in their 30th FA Cup semi-final and could become the first side to reach the final on 21 occasions.
- Manchester United have progressed from 15 of their past 17 FA Cup semi-finals.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in 19 games in all competitions
- Chelsea are the most successful side in the FA Cup this century, reaching eight finals and winning six titles.
- This is Chelsea’s third semi-final appearance in four seasons, and 11th this century.
- Chelsea have won 12 of their past 15 FA Cup semi-final matches
- Chelsea have lost only one of their past 14 FA Cup ties
BBC Sport: Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea
Metro: Manchester United 3-1 Chelsea
Sportsmole: Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea
- About on
- ‘Proving football is a game of minds’, ‘composure and intelligence’ – How some Chelsea fans reacted to Billy Gilmour’s full premier league debut on
- Billy Gilmour to start, Marcos Alonso in midfield – Predicted injury hit Chelsea lineup (4-3-3) for the visit of Everton – Premier League on
- Abraham at the double – Chelsea striker scoops premier league player of the year awards on
- Updated: Could former Chelsea and Liverpool striker return to Stamford Bridge? on