Chelsea v Man United
Saturday, May 19 – 17:15
Chelsea beat Southampton 2-0 to progress to the final of this year’s FA Cup, however their form has been less than inspiring over the last few weeks. The Blues ended their campaign in a disappointing fifth place in the Premier League table, losing 3-0 to Newcastle on the final day of the season. The outcome of tomorrow’s match could determine whether or not Antonio Conte remains at Stamford Bridge next season, and Chelsea will certainly be keen to get one over on their former manager Jose Mourinho, following a 2-1 defeat to United at Old Trafford in February.
Man United experienced a similarly patchy end to their Premier League campaign, losing 1-0 to Brighton, before a disappointing 0-0 draw with West Ham and a fairly underwhelming 1-0 win over Watford in their final match. A second placed finish in the league is not to be taken for granted, but having lost sight of rivals Man City and dropped out of the Champions League earlier than expected, Man United will be hoping to give their fans something to cheer about tomorrow afternoon. Jose Mourinho has beaten each of the ‘Big Six’ teams this season. Can the ‘Special One’ do it again?
Let’s take a look at the stats:
- Tomorrow’s match will mark Man United’s 20th appearance in the FA Cup final – only Arsenal (13) have won the competition more times than the Red Devils (12).
- This will be Chelsea’s 13th time in the FA Cup final. Having lost last season against Arsenal, they could become the first club to lose consecutive FA Cup finals since Newcastle in 1998 and 1999.
- These two clubs have met twice in the FA Cup final, with United winning 4-0 in 1994, and Chelsea winning 1-0 in 2007.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four matches against Man United in the FA Cup (W3 D1) – last losing to them in the quarter-finals in 1998/99.
- The Red Devils have won two of their last three matches against Chelsea in all competitions (L1) – more victories than in their previous 14 games.
- Man United have not conceded more than one goal in each of their last 16 matches in the FA Cup, keeping eight clean sheets.
- Chelsea have only conceded two goals in the FA Cup this season, shipping goals against Leicester City in the quarter-finals and Norwich City in the third round.
- Jose Mourinho could become the third manager to win the FA Cup with two different clubs, following Billy Walker (Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday) and Herbert Chapman (Huddersfield, Arsenal).
- Mourinho has managed to win 12 of his last 14 major domestic and European finals – winning each of his six finals with English clubs (1x Europa League, 1x FA Cup, 6x League Cup).
- Olivier Giroud has had a hand in 22 goals over his last 26 matches in the FA Cup (15 goals, seven assists).
- Romelu Lukaku has found the back of the net 12 times over his last 12 FA Cup fixtures – scoring five in five for the Red Devils.
It’s hard to call Man United’s season disappointing, but their fans expect at least one piece of silverware every year, and this year is no different. Both United and Chelsea have underperformed over the last few weeks, but they often bring the best out of each other, so this one has the potential to be a memorable final. Jose Mourinho has an impeccable record in cup finals. Whether it’s taking a direct approach or grinding out a result, the Portuguese knows how to get the job done. Man United to win.