Manchester United lock horns with Antonio Conte’s Chelsea as the curtain finally comes down on a largely gruelling footballing season. The aim is simple – to land silverware at Old Trafford this season. The same applies to their opponents, who have suffered a horrendous season. While Chelsea overcame a Southampton hurdle in the semi-final, Jose Mourinho outfoxed Tottenham Hotspur.
If the Red Devils end up winning the fixture, they would become the joint-most successful teams in this competition with 13 titles. If Chelsea emerges victorious, it would be their 8th FA Cup trophy.
Manchester United’s best, David De Gea, will form the last line of defence for the Red Devils. He is capable of making superhuman saves. Enough said.
José will construct his most favoured flat back four. He is expected to bring back the centre-half duo of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, who currently lead the pecking order. They are both fabulous in the air, strong and players with positional brilliance.
Make-shift left-back – Ashley Young – will surely play at left back. He holds and maintains his slots, crosses the odd ball into the box, defends smartly and senses danger early. Antonio Valencia will return to the side in place of Darmian, at right back. He too sits deep and is very neat while guarding the defence.
The three-man midfield will supposedly have Paul Pogba playing an advanced role, often a wider one, and Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic occupying deeper, defensive roles.
Matic must defend with conviction and clarity. On the other hand, Herrera will be responsible for blocking passing lanes and aiding the front three.
José Mourinho confirmed that the club is unsure of Lukaku’s fitness as the sharpshooter races against time to appear against his former club. However, it is expected that in this all-important clash, the forward will take the field and lead the attack.
The hard-working Alexis Sanchez should line himself up at left wing. He will express his pace and zestfulness, run at defenders and provide service to his fellow frontmen.
Another one in this team with a never-say-die attitude – Jesse Lingard, will run down the right flank. He has a fantastic eye for goal.
Probable XI – (4-3-3)
David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku.