With the Premier League title race seeing a three-team tussle between Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham, the FA Cup is probably the pair’s best chance at a trophy this season, although Chelsea are in pole position to qualify for the last-16 of the Europa League.
United, however, are hurting after a damaging defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Which of the two teams will seal a spot in the quarter-finals and move closer to a chance at silverware? We take a look at the tactics Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could use to defeat Chelsea and progress further in the cup.
DRAW CHELSEA’S WING-BACKS AND PLAY OVER THE TOP
Manchester City’s 6-0 win over Chelsea exposed massive weakpoints in Chelsea, especially out wide. Although Marcos Alonso is potent in attack, he has been absolutely poor in defence this season and Cesar Azpilicueta has not done his case much good either.
Romelu Lukaku could draw the full-backs into the half-space as Ashley Young and Luke Shaw push high up the pitch. The full-backs must be able to get behind Chelsea’s full-backs and expect a ball from over the top by the likes of Paul Pogba or Juan Mata.
A late run into the box from any of the forwards or an advanced midfielder like Mata or Pogba can then seal the deal.
HERRERA AND MATIC TO PRECENT CHELSEA DOMINATION BETWEEN THE LINES
From a defensive point of view, United must ensure that they don’t repeat some of the mistakes that they committed against PSG. To start with, Nemanja Matic must not be left isolated as Pogba and Ander Herrera venture forward.
This creates massive space between the lines, something Eden Hazard can exploit and make United pay. Herrera must either play in a double-pivot with Matic or ensure that he does not compromise on his defensive duties when he advances on the pitch.
The Spaniard must hence assume equal defensive responsibilities and close down the gap between the lines as much as possible.
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