Conte to contain 23-year-old: Three things we expect from Chelsea in FA Cup clash v Man United
By Will Butcher
Chelsea are set to do battle with bitter rivals Manchester United on Monday night in the quarter finals of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte’s side will be looking to complete the double in his first season by winning the FA Cup and the Premier League, with United currently standing in their way in the last eight.
With United looking to exact revenge under the lights in west London after a 4-0 loss earlier in the season, here are three things to expect from Chelsea ahead of their showdown.
Cheeky tactics to deal with Pogba
Antonio Conte knows midfield superstar Paul Pogba from his time as Juventus manager, after bringing the 23-year-old to Italy from United to begin with. The Italian developed the France international during his three-year spell as manager of the Serie A champions, and will know just how to keep him quiet. It could be expected of Chelsea’s midfield, then, to man mark United’s number six for the entirety of the 90 minutes, with N’Golo Kante also known for his unrelenting stamina that allows him to almost do two players’ jobs. Conte’s knowledge of Pogba’s weaknesses will keep the Frenchman quiet.
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Costa to make the breakthrough
United’s defence has shown weakness at times throughout the season, with the likes of Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling some way from being the finished article. With 18 goals in just 29 league and cup outings this season, Diego Costa has thrived under manager Conte and is in the middle of another wonderful purple patch, scoring three goals in his last three outings. The Spain international is likely to be too hot to handle for United’s defence, and he should fire Chelsea into the last four of the competition.
Azpilicueta, Cahill and Luiz to thrive
Chelsea’s three-man defence were set to be in for a stern test against United’s veteran goal machine on Monday night, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to shine since his summer move from Paris Saint-Germain. But after the Swede was handed a three-match ban for his elbow on Bournemouth left-back Tyrone Mings after being stamped on the head by the former Ipswich Town defender, Ibrahimovic will now miss Monday’s clash. That will allow Conte’s three-man defence to reaffirm their reputation as one of the best defences in Europe.
In other Chelsea news, here are the three players need to look out for against United.