Football

Manchester United vs Chelsea: 3 battles that will decide the game

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League
Who will come out on top?

We look at 3 key individual battles that may decide the winner of the match

All eyes turn to Wembley this Saturday as the stadium hosts the showpiece battle between Manchester United and Chelsea in the 2018 Emirates FA Cup final.

Manchester United qualified after beating Tottenham 2-1 in thrilling fashion in the semi-final while Chelsea were resilient enough to beat Southampton 2-0.

The competition is both team’s last chance of winning silverware this season and the tempers are sure to fly high in this feisty affair.

Mourinho has a majestic track record in cup finals, having lost just twice in 14 finals and given his astute ability to carve out results, the odds may slightly favour him.

Antonio Conte, however, is yet to win a cup in his managerial career and will be adamant to set that record straight when he sets his team out, in what could possibly be his final game in charge of the club.

So, ahead of the final, we look at 3 individual battles that will influence the game and may help decide the winner of the grand prize:


#3 Romelu Lukaku vs Gary Cahill

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League
A battle to watch out for

Romelu Lukaku has travelled with the squad to London after being sidelined for almost 2 weeks with a foot injury and is expected to start the game.

It is fair to say that United have missed his aerial presence high up the pitch as they have struggled a bit of late. Lukaku played a starring role when the two sides met in February as he scored their equaliser and provided the assist for Jesse Lingard to score the winner.

He will be itching to get his hand on his first trophy in England and will want to come out all guns blazing.

The man presented with the task to contain the big Belgian is likely to be Gary Cahill, who, since the turn of the year has been a man in form and as a result has been included in England’s squad for the World Cup as well.

The aerial duel between the two will be one to watch out for as Lukaku will be handed the task of winning the battle, holding up the ball and dispatching it to his runners. Cahill, though, is experienced and skilled enough to try and nullify any influence the striker can make.

#2 Eden Hazard vs Ander Herrera

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-CHELSEA
Man-marking on point!

Over the years if Eden Hazard has proved something, it is the fact that it takes something special to stop the Belgian when he is a man in form.

And a player who has been able to do that effortlessly a couple of times has been Ander Herrera who has absolutely annihilated the Chelsea man with ease in the past.

When Herrera was unavailable in their last match, Mourinho handed Scott McTominay the responsibility to do the same and the youngster was a thorn in Hazard’s life throughout the game and Conte even had to get him substituted.

Hazard is their master creator and we can expect Herrera to be deployed in a similar role this Saturday. Hazard has been given the positional freedom by Conte to interchange positions at will and when he attempts to do that in the final, it is extremely likely that a certain Spaniard will be close on his trails.

#1 Paul Pogba vs N’golo Kante

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League
A French affair

Just like Hazard, Paul Pogba is capable of the extraordinary, one who is simply unplayable at his best. The only thing missing from his game is the consistency that his manager craves for and given his prodigious talent, everyone expects more from the Frenchman every time he plays and rightly so.

Since a shift to a 4-3-3 formation, Pogba has been deployed at his natural position and has been tasked with initiating attacks and providing the missing jigsaw to his teammates up front. He has sometimes lacked the flavour but being a man for the big occasions, we can expect the “real” Pogba to turn up on Saturday.

He will be plying his trade at the centre of the park and his international teammate N’golo Kante will be asked to do what he does best- to stop Pogba and United from dictating the tempo of the game.

Kante is the glue that holds this Chelsea team together and who has mastered the art of breaking up opposition attacks. And when United try to assert their dominance over the course of the match, Kante will prove to be a major obstacle for them to overcome.

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