Chelsea head into this weekend’s FA Cup final on the back of a 3-0 hammering to Newcastle last weekend. The Blues finished the season by blowing their top four hopes, falling apart in the last week of the campaign. However, the damage was done much earlier, as the failure to invest last summer came back to bite the club. The side had little to offer other than the approach which many had already worked out how to counter, and as a result the Blues have looked predictable across the campaign.
Antonio Conte needs to change that this weekend, in what is set to be his final game in charge. The Italian is widely expected to depart following Saturday’s meeting with Man United and Jose Mourinho at Wembley, given that he bears the brunt of many of the club’s failings. Will he head out with silverware, as Chelsea look to go one better than last season in this competition?
Team News: Will Tinkering Conte Make Changes for Finale?
Chelsea have limited worries ahead of this one, with David Luiz likely to sit out yet again. The Brazilian defender is missing out on the World Cup after a tough season at the Bridge, and he’s likely waiting for a managerial change in the summer as he looks to resurrect his career. The only other player to miss out on Saturday in Ethan Ampadu, but this clash might have come a little too early in his promising career for the Welshman to feature.
The big issue for Conte again is the choice between a 3-4-3 or adding another body in central midfield, which he’s done in consecutive weekends. Against this United side, he may prioritise safety, leaving Eden Hazard and either Olivier Giroud or Alvaro Morata acting as the front two.
Man United have no players ruled out yet, but they do have doubts around Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Felliani this weekend. They could also miss French forward Anthony Martial, with the striker being linked with a summer switch to Stamford Bridge, having fallen out of favour under Mourinho. There are suggestions that the Portuguese will aim to mirror the Chelsea set up, with a potential three-man defence taking the field for the Red Devils this weekend.
Man United Form
Man United finished the season with a narrow win at home to Watford, days after a 0-0 draw at West Ham. They’ve limped across the finish line in the top flight, having won one, drawn one and lost one of their last three, seeing just two goals scored across those games. Their recent defeat at Brighton came with a much changed side, but it did mean that the Red Devils lost away at all three promoted sides this term, along with losing at home to bottom side West Brom, and drawing at Stoke. While they signed Romelu Lukaku to fix their issues against the worst sides in the division, United continue to struggle against unambitious sides.
Even if United had won all five of those matches mentioned, they’d have still finished five points shy of Man City. The Citizens have set a high bar this term, and United have struggled to match it. They’ve proved this term that there’s little between the four or five sides directly behind City, which is a worry for the likes of Tottenham and United, with Chelsea and Arsenal looking to rejuvenate this summer. The Red Devils have issues this weekend and next season, based on their inconsistency this term.
Chelsea v Man United Head to Head
The Red Devils won the previous meeting, but Antonio Conte has won three of the five meetings he has had with Jose Mourinho. Should the Italian be departing this summer, then he’ll be looking to head out with a positive record against a man who he has had plenty of fare ups with during a two season spell in England.
- Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea, Feb 2018
- Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United, Nov 2017
- Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea, Apr 2017
- Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United, Mar 2017
- Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United, Oct 2016
- Under 2.5 Goals – 4/7 with BetVictor
- Olivier Giroud to Score – 5/2 with Bet365
Manchester United are favourites for the clash at Wembley, as they come into this one priced at 8/5 with Coral to win this one in 90 minutes. Meanwhile, the Blues are 15/8 with Ladbrokes to claim another trophy, while this game is 2/1 with Betfred to go to extra time. United remain the favourites for glory, with Betfair making them 11/13 to lift the trophy via any means. The bookies are having a tough time picking between these two Premier League giants ahead of Saturday’s final. Can the Blues edge what is likely to be a close encounter?
Jose Mourinho is likely to make this a tight game, given his record in cup finals. The two managers are both conservative by their nature, and we could see Conte starting with three central midfielders to flood the middle of the park. We are expecting both sides to go with a cautious approach in this one, so we think it’s worth backing a low scoring affair. Under 2.5 goals is our first tip on this weekend’s cup final, which can be found at 4/7 with BetVictor.
Conte will have to pick between Morata and Giroud this weekend, and that pick will be crucial in what could prove a very close game. We can’t see any reason to go with the Spaniard, when you consider that the Frenchman has a brilliant Wembley record and remains unbeaten here, so Giroud should get the nod. With a strong record at this ground and in the FA Cup, Giroud is our pick to score, and he’s really well priced at 5/2 with Bet365.