Manchester United and Chelsea put their Premier League top-four battle to one side today as they lock horns in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.
Chelsea (third) and United (fifth) are separated by just a single point in the race for Champions League qualification, though FA Cup glory will be on the minds of Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar for now.
Both Lampard and Solskjaer are in a similar situation: two young managers who were legends as players for their respective clubs, who need silverware despite time being on their side.The winners will face Arsenal in the Final next month after the Gunners defeated Man City 2-0 on Saturday.
Despite Chelsea sitting above United in the table, the Red Devils must be favourites given they have beaten the Blues three times already this season.
Form does tend to go out the window when it comes to cup football, but Lampard will have to make changes to prevent Solskjaer getting a fourth win over him.
Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw will miss the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea after failing to recover from an ankle problem.
Shaw’s fellow defender Brandon Williams should be fit after a facial injury.
“Luke will be out. Brandon will try to join in training on Saturday with his eye. We’ll see if he can see the ball,” said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Midfielder N’Golo Kante will miss a fourth successive game for Chelsea because of a hamstring injury.
Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour, 19, is out for the remainder of the season following knee surgery.
Sergio Romero has been in goal for United’s cup games, but Solskjaer refused to confirm whether he, or striker Jesse Lingard, would be involved at Wembley.
“The team is not selected yet. Jesse and Sergio both have a good chance of being involved,” said Solskjaer.
“Jesse is a part of the club. He has worked really hard and he deserves his chance to come back in. We know his qualities. He has different qualities to other players and he knows we value him.”
Manchester United have beaten Chelsea three times this season: twice in the league and once in the League Cup. The only side to win four games against the Blues in a season is United, in 2010-11.
The teams are meeting for the fourth season in a row in the FA Cup. The Blues won a quarter-final in 2017 and the final in 2018, with United the victors in the fifth round last season.
United are vying to go seven games unbeaten against Chelsea for the first time this century.
United are playing in their 30th FA Cup semi-final – a joint record with Arsenal. They could become the first side to reach the final on 21 occasions.
The Red Devils have progressed from 15 of their past 17 FA Cup semi-finals, losing on penalties against Everton in 2009 and 0-1 against Manchester City in 2011.
They have won 21 and lost just three of their 26 FA Cup games over the past five seasons.
United are unbeaten in 19 games in all competitions (W14, D5). It’s their best form since a 29-match streak without defeat between April and November 2010.
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Chelsea are the most successful side in the FA Cup this century, reaching eight finals and winning six titles. This is their third semi-final appearance in four seasons, and 11th this century.
They have won 12 of their past 15 FA Cup semi-final matches.
The Blues have lost only one of their past 14 FA Cup ties (W10, D3).
Olivier Giroud has scored 15 FA Cup goals in 28 appearances and provided eight assists.