The FA Cup final is the tradition last game of the English football season. This year’s cup final will pit two of the big Premier League clubs against each other, as Chelsea and Manchester United go head-to-head at Wembley on Saturday evening.
The bosses in focus
It is fair to say there is no love lost between the two clubs bosses. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and United chief Jose Mourinho were involved in a bitter spat earlier this season. However, United boss Mourinho has been keen to recently state that the rift between the pair is now over.
The former Chelsea boss has received criticism in some quarters, despite his team finishing as Premier League runners-up this season. The criticism is due to the Portuguese perceived poor style of football.
Mourinho’s opposition number Conte, may not be in the Blues job for much longer if media reports according to various media reports throughout the season. The Italian has even stated that he could be sacked even if he wins the cup.
The former Juventus boss has endured an unhappy second campaign at Stamford Bridge. The fact that the Blues failed to clinch a Champions League spot could be a major reason if the Italian loses his job.
Road to Wembley
Manchester United enjoyed a rather simpler route to the final than the Blues. The Red Devils made short work off beating the likes of Derby, Yeovil, Huddersfield, Brighton and Tottenham.
Mourinho’s side managed to score at least two goals in all five of the previous rounds of this competition, while also keeping four clean sheets in their five games so far. There is no doubt they are stubborn opponents for most sides.
Chelsea endured a bit more of a troublesome path to the final. In fact, the Blues needed penalty kicks to defeat Norwich in round three, before dispatching Newcastle and Hull easily at Stamford Bridge.
Leicester took the Blues to extra-time in the quarter-finals, only for Conte’s side to record a 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium. The former champions recorded a fairly comfortable 2-0 win over Southampton in the semi-finals to book this final date.
How will this game pan out?
Both teams head into this game on the back of unconvincing form in the Premier League. Chelsea failed to win their last two league games, which proved fatal to their bid for a top-four finish.
Meanwhile, United won just one of their last three top-flight games, as their season rather petered out with the title already in the hands of arch-rivals Manchester City. This clash will no doubt have been playing on the players’ minds towards the end of the campaign.
Manchester United are slight favourites to win this clash. However, in truth, this game is likely to be very tight. Mourinho’s teams are renowned for their defensive solidity and have won their last seven cup ties at Wembley. However, you cannot write off Chelsea, as they do have quality players within their ranks.
This game looks like to be a low scoring tactical battle between two of the best tacticians in European football. This is unlikely to be a high scoring affair and could go all the way to penalties if the game is played out as expected.
Who will win the 2018 FA Cup final?