The FA Cup is back this weekend, but the stand-out fixture among the quarter-final ties will have to wait until Monday night as Chelsea Host Manchester United.
Double-chasing Chelsea will be favourites for this one, but Jose Mourinho has turned things around at United since his first visit back to Stamford Bridge earlier in the season.
It’s sure to be an unmissable clash in west London, and to add to the drama, it will have to be settled on the night as changes to the competition format mean that this season there are no replays from the quarter-final stages onwards.
Could that affect how the teams set up on the night? Here’s our look ahead to a huge game between two teams who’ll feel they’re in pole position to go on and win the cup if they get through this one…
Back at the Bridge once again, it all went a bit pear-shaped when he took his United side there in October – and he’ll be desperate to show things have improved since then.
The Portuguese will surely always be a legend among Chelsea fans, and that’ll be clear when his career eventually comes to an end. For now, however, he will feel he has a big point to prove to his old employers and supporters after a difficult end to his time with the Blues.
Sacked as the club hovered above the relegation zone in December last season, Mourinho has now been tasked with turning things around at United. He looks like getting there after a slow start, but with the Premier League likely out of reach at this point, he could certainly do with an FA Cup win to follow up the EFL Cup winners’ medal he’s already picked up with the Red Devils.
If he steers United past Chelsea, they will be in a very strong position to go on and lift the trophy.
It’s surely going to be the tried and tested route for Conte and Chelsea. The league leaders will have had a week’s rest for this match and will have no reason to do anything other than go for as strong a line up as possible.
In Conte’s trusted 3-4-3, that should mean the usual back three of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta, the usual wing-backs of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso, and of course that star-studded attack.
In midfield, however, Conte has something of a headache after Cesc Fabregas’ superb recent form. Still, we’re tipping the more defensive-minded Nemanja Matic to get the nod for this one as the likes of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will need keeping quiet.
The big news for Manchester United is that they’re without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It’s not yet clear who will replace him up front, but Anthony Martial arguably looks the best bet, with Marcus Rashford perhaps in line for a role out wide.
Elsewhere, Juan Mata and Michael Carrick seem good shouts to return to the first XI after being rested against FC Rostov in midweek, while Mourinho will surely play it safe and go back to playing four in defence after switching to three in Russia.
Luke Shaw got a chance against Bournemouth last weekend, but after a disappointing 1-1 draw Mourinho will surely not be taking too many chances here and should bring Daley Blind back in at left-back.