Both Manchester United and Chelsea have had big changes in fortune since they first met in the league this season. Indeed, the Red Devils swept aside the Blues 4-0 at Old Trafford but, since then, Chelsea have excelled and United have been in relative turmoil.
Will Chelsea win tonight?
While this poor form has been somewhat lifted somewhat over the last few games, with wins away to Partizan and Norwich City, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea – on the other hand – cannot stop winning right now and they were as impressive as ever going forward at the weekend as they beat Burnley 4-2.
With that in mind, here’s a look at how we expect them to line-up…
Christian Pulisic may well have notched a hat-trick against the Clarets last time out but, as Lampard spoke about, the American had limited time off during pre-season. With that in mind, handing Pedro – who has a strong record of two goals and an assist in six games against tonight’s visitors – the chance to feature could help avoid burning Pulisic out. Elsewhere, Callum Hudson-Odoi ramped up his return from injury at Turf Moor and won a penalty, so it might be interesting to see what he can do from the start.
With that in mind, having the physical threat of Olivier Giroud (who has averaged 1.3 aerial duels won in just 121 minutes of league action) alongside two wingers who have thus far averaged over a dribble a game against a Manchester United side who don’t tend to ship a lot of goals could be a good way of bringing them into play.
Reece James is one of many Chelsea players that the club have high hopes for. He was excellent in their last round EFL win against Grimsby and was given the Man of the Match, so he should come into a backline to have impressed of late. On the other flank, Marcos Alonso has been starting regularly of late after Emerson’s injury so should be rested to allow the 25-year-old to step up his recovery.
Still, James shouldn’t be the only youngster to be handed a starting berth (as the boss has spoken about), with Billy Gilmour also impressing in the previous round too. Lampard is understood to have blocked a loan move away for the youngster, so lining the Scotsman up alongside a more experienced duo in Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho (given injuries to Ross Barkley and N’Golo Kante) could be a good way to keep things fresh, while also remaining competitive against a side who beat them a few months ago.
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