(FORM GUIDE: DWDWWW)
Chelsea as a team look unstoppable this season, not only are they comfortably at the summit of the League with a ten point gap to their nearest rivals Tottenham Hotspur, the are playing some exquisite football, and are miles ahead of anyone in terms of defensive solidarity.
Another plus point is that The Blues are not, unlike their opponents, involved in European competition allowing Antonio Conte the chance to give his players not only some rest but extra time with him on the training pitch.
Will the in-form Diego Costa break Manchester United hearts?
Conte has had over a week to prepare for this game. They have not played since a commanding display against West Ham last Monday and again do not play till the weekend, so everything points to the Italian playing the strongest team available for when they host a fatigued and much travelled Manchester United, giving them the advantage of reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Any football fan doesn't need telling that Chelsea are the strongest team in England at the moment, and it will take a monumental effort from the Red Devils to overcome not only their tiredness, suspensions but also travelling to Stamford Bridge to play a team, that are in a purple patch of form. Expect Chelsea to try to kill the game of early and try to make Manchester United chase them down, allowing their fitness levels to be tested to the fullest.
(FROM GUIDE: WWWWDD)
Jose Mourinho faces his biggest challenge as a Manchester United manager when his overstretched, fatigued and fixture congested side take on the Premier League leaders at Stamford Bridge. Not only are his side embroiled in the fight for a top four finish, their Europa league campaign has moved into the business end, and despite coming away from Russia with an away goal in their 1-1 draw with FC.Rostov, the return leg is only three days after they take on Chelsea.
Add into this their extended campaign in the EFL cup which resulted in them winning 3-2 against Southampton, it's no surprise that his side has shown fitness difficulties. Lackluster and mediocre displays against both Rostov and Bournemouth indicated that the Portuguese boss is struggling to meet all the fixtures with a fully fit squad.
Will Jose Mourinho's first season in charge of Manchester United continue to impress?
A ban for Zlatan Ibrahimovic will give one of Mourinho's back-up strikers a chance, whether that be Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial will be interesting to see them cope with a resilient Chelsea defence, in what looks like being a key battle.
Whatever happens in this tie, Manchester United will take great pride in what they have achieved in Mourhino's first season in charge of the Old Trafford side, it just looks like they may have overstretched themselves, three days after Rostov's fixture they take on Middlesbrough in what could be a huge game in the context of the fourth spot placings come the end of May.
Zlatan ibromhimovic's suspension could give Marcus Rashford a chance to shine
If Manchester United can keep things tight then they will be within a chance of causing what must be considered an upset, in a competition that has been littered with them this season.
- Chelsea have a 13 plus goal difference over Manchester United this season in the Premier League.
- Manchester United win an average of 18.5 aerial duels per game, with their hosts Chelsea winning just 14.9.
- Chelsea have not lost a home tie since September.
- Manchester United have on average 17.3 shots per game, the sixth highest in European football, Chelsea have 14.1, one of the lowest in the top leagues in Europe.
CURRENT BEST MATCH ODDS (BEST PRICED ODDS)
Most games come down to technical ability, preparation and quality of players and in that respect, this game is quite difficult to call. The only difference between the two sides is the fixture pile up that Jose Mourinho's side have to deal with. Their European adventure has continued and their FA cup clash with rivals Chelsea comes in the midst of their tie with Russian side FC Rostov, followed on by a potentially tricky tie away to relegation threatened Middlesbrough three days after that as they strive for a qualifying spot for the Champions League. Chelsea are fresh, confident and have had a full week off to prepare for the tie. Fitness at the highest levels of football is key in games like this towards the end of the season and expect Chelsea to be to strong for their visitors in this tie.
CHELSEA 3-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
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