Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard have done exceedingly well this season, and the chance to win a trophy will push both managers today.
Here are three key battles on which the game could hinge, and potentially decide who will be Arsenal’s opponents in the FA Cup final.
Manchester United vs Chelsea: 3 Key Battles
#1 Harry Maguire vs. Olivier Giroud
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has inspired confidence in the recent outings, having plundered 3 goals in his last 4 league outings.
With his exemplary hold up play and clinical finishing abilities, he has provided the goods upfront and combined well with the rest of the attackers.
The Red Devils, on the other hand, have shown good resilience at the back since football resumed, and a lot of credit has to be given to Harry Maguire. The former Hull City defender is an uncompromising centre-back and has cemented himself as a leader in Solskjaer’s pack.
With both these players being immensely strong and powerful, their battle will be fascinating to watch. Maguire will have to stop Giroud from combining with the rest of the attackers, but that will be easier said than done considering the Frenchman is good at holding off defenders.
#2 Bruno Fernandes vs. Mateo Kovacic
United’s January transfer window acquisition Bruno Fernandes has enjoyed a delightful start to his life at the Old Trafford.
The Portuguese midfielder has scored 7 goals and provided 7 assists in 12 league appearances, and has been one of the most important cogs in United’s attacking setup ever since his move.
N’Golo Kante will be unavailable due to his hamstring injury which he picked up in the 3-0 win in the league game over Watford a fortnight ago. Therefore, the pressure will be on the shoulders of Mateo Kovacic to shield the backline and keep Fernandes at bay, and at the same time offer the drive during the defence to offence transitions.
Kovacic is a tough-tackler and knows exactly how to orchestrate the tempo of the game from the base of the midfield. He will be tested by Fernandes who has flair, directness, and incredible ability with the ball.
#3 Aaron Wan-Bissaka vs. Christian Pulisic
Without an iota of doubt, the clash between Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Christian Pulisic will be an eye-catching affair. Both of them are young, quick and hungry to take their game to the next level, and have been instrumental figures for their respective sides so far this campaign.
If Wan-Bissaka is given the license to make surging runs forward, he can provide width out on the flanks. But more importantly, he has to monitor Pulisic from close quarters and not let him find his rhythm.
Pulisic has made the left-wing spot his own in the Blues’ lineup. He has dazzled in one-vs.-one situations, having reaped dividends with his movement, blistering pace, and commendable presence of mind in the final third.
He has the calibre to bamboozle any full-back, and Wan-Bissaka will have to keep a close eye on the American.
Statistics Credits: Whoscored