BEN CLEMINSON AND WILLIAM CHRIMES PREVIEW THE BEST OF THE WEEKEND’S SPORT
MANCHESTER UNITED vs CHELSEA
Old Trafford, Sunday, 4.30pm
MANCHESTER United’s dreams of another Treble were crushed in controversial circumstances on Tuesday evening against Real Madrid.
But United must regroup ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup last eight meeting with Chelsea. They haven’t won the FA Cup since 2004, and have been beaten finalists twice in that time, including most recently by the Blues in 2007.
Perhaps the biggest question surrounding Sunday’s fixture is whether or not Wayne Rooney will start. The former golden boy was surprisingly benched on Tuesday and that speaks volumes about where Ferguson sees the striker in his long-term plans.
With Javier Hernandez banging in five goals in his last six matches versus Chelsea, the Mexican might get a start and another snub could well see the rumour mill go into overdrive about where Rooney’s future lies.
Chelsea have dominated this competition of late, winning four of the last six trophies, but they’ve not looked bombproof this term. The west London club needed a replay to see off League Two Brentford and weren’t impressive in beating Middlesbrough in the last round.
United have already been to Stamford Bridge and won 3-2 in the league and shouldn’t hold any fears about the visit of these opponents. The hosts have won five of the last seven meetings and the only loss in that time came in extra-time in the League Cup, back at the Bridge in late October.
The visitors also had to make the long journey to the Romanian capital last night to take on Steaua Bucharest and United will be out to exploit tired legs. There’s no doubting Chelsea look stronger with Demba Ba in the side but I wouldn’t be surprised to see boardroom politics dictate that Fernando Torres gets to start. That scenario would be a gift for the likes of central defenders Nemanja Vidic and an in-form Johnny Evans.
The defeat to Madrid was United’s first in any competition since early December and they can bounce back with victory at a best-priced 5/6 with Coral. And I think they’ll triumph with something in hand, making buying United’s supremacy at 0.8 with Sporting Index look a very attractive play.
Manchester United at 5/6 with Coral
Buy United’s supremacy at 0.8 with Sporting Index