Chelsea FC face their final acid test of the season when they take on Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday. A silverware would simply spare their blushes, as they look to conclude their dismal season with something to cheer about. Antonio Conte, despite being one of the best in the business, hasn’t won a cup competition just yet. Last season too, he failed to add to the trophy cabinet, as the Blues lost two finals.
As many would say, Conte needs to come out on top to shut the ‘hire and fire’ policy followed at West London. Both sides have defeated each other in the league, with each of them winning at their respective fortresses. The players will have to dust off recent upsets and focus on this penultimate game, which could decide a lot in the coming days at Stamford Bridge.
The impeccable Thibaut Courtois will start in goal. The Belgian shot-stopper is expected to be the busier of the two goalkeepers, given Chelsea’s recent worries at the back.
Antonio Conte’s exclusive back three will include Cesar Azpilicueta at the right, Gary Cahill at the centre and Antonio Rudiger down the left.
Cahill’s leadership will be key. He is expected to get the nod over young Christensen. While Azpilicueta is an excellent man-marker and tackler, Rudiger is rather fierce, physical and keeps things tighter while defending.
Marcos Alonso’s attacking prowess needs to take the front seat if Chelsea have to come out on top. Victor Moses will play as the right wing back.
The ever so consistent N’Golo Kante will go down as the player to watch out for. Chelsea’s player of the year will be accompanied by Cesc Fabregas. The midfield maestro needs to sit deeper, stay away from his marker and give himself space on the ball.
Willian has to start down the right flank. Yet again, a 3-5-2 system didn’t work out as the Pensioners were too slow to move the ball, leaving a lot on Eden Hazard. The Belgian skipper has to step up and lead his side to glory at Wembley.
Olivier Giroud is expected to be given the nod over out of form Alvaro Morata. The Frenchman has been stunning for Conte since shifting to the other side of the capital. His hunger and desire is crucial.
Probable XI – (3-4-3)
Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger, Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso, Willian, Eden Hazard, Olivier Giroud.