The Blues still fresh from their defeat at Southampton placing their ambition to book a place in next season’s Champions League under severe threat will face in-form Manchester United in the FA cup quarter final replay at the Stamford Bridge . For Rafael Benitez who has been under barrage of criticisms in recent times for his rotational policy, he will be out to prove his critics wrong.
For the visiting team, Manchester United, who are in splendid domestic form will look to ensure their dream to end the season with a double become a reality after putting the League title chase far within the reach of Manchester City.
With Chelsea set to welcome their ‘regulars’ back to the starting lineup after taking a break from the tie at St. Mary stadium at the weekend, Rafael Benitez’s men have the opportunity to send parking Sir Alex Fergie’s side from the oldest competition in English football, and also to brighten their chances of ending the season with at least a silverware and also defend their title.
The hosts are 11/8 (2.37) favourites with Ladbrokes to prove that there is nothing more dangerous than the wounded beast by putting the visitors to the sword.
A win for Manchester United at the Bridge will see them play in the final of this competition for the first time since the 2006/2007 season where they lost to this same hosts by a lone goal, but that seems an unlikely scenario, at odds of 9/5 (2.80).
United actually edged Chelsea in the first Premier League encounter 3-2 at Stamford Bridge at the end of October, a game which Chelsea finished with nine men, and you can get odds of 23/10 (3.30) on them grabbing a draw this time. A result that might see both teams separated through penalty shootouts.
A bet of 2.5 goals for Chelsea to win this cracker is offered at a decent value of 12/5 (3.40), while Manchester United is available at 6/1 (7.00) to win and under 2.5 goals to be scored in the match.
Also, with Chelsea likely to be distracted by the prospect of a congested fixture in the first week of April, the visitors may feel that there is a real chance of an upset here.
While Benitez may well shuffle his pack for this match, United have sufficient strength and depth in the squad to ensure that they keep their FA Cup title aspirations firmly on track with victory here.
For the goal getters, red hot Robin Van Persie has been placed on a 5/1 (6.00) to score first on the afternoon while his Demba Ba is at 11/2 (6.50) to get the curtain raiser in this match that has been tagged FA Cup classic rematch.