By Will Butcher
Chelsea face fierce rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, as they look to complete the double over their PL rivals at home.
Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge for just the second time since his second spell as boss in west London, after losing 4-0 against his former side earlier this season.
With a place in the final four alongside Arsenal, Man City and either Tottenham or Millwall, Football Insider analyses three key United players Chelsea must watch.
The 28-year-old’s ability to drift without being marked in the attacking third is second to none, and that could be the difference in looking to supply United’s strike force. Making just a substitute appearance against Chelsea last time out, the former Valencia ace will be desperate to prove himself in front of the Stamford Bridge crowd and that could bring the best out of him. Mata spent two and a half years with Chelsea, but left after a falling out with now United manager Mourinho. With his relationship with Mourinho now sorted, Mata could come back to haunt his old side.
The flanks could be crucial come Monday night. Antonio Conte’s side play with little width and three at the back, which could see the England international get forward and provide United with an extra attacking dimension. Right wing-back Victor Moses is likely to be pegged back by United attacker Anthony Martial, and that could see Shaw be given the time and space to deliver a cross or create an overlap, again looking to provide an assist from out wide for those inside the penalty area.
With Chelsea likely to start Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kante in the middle of the park, United’s three-man midfield must look to give veteran Carrick the time and space as the extra man to feed Mourinho’s attackers from deep in midfield. England international Carrick is one of the best passers of the football in the Premier League, and keeping him unmarked in the middle of the park could prove crucial.
In other Chelsea news, Gary Cahill has given his verdict on England teammate and Tottenham star Harry Kane.