Manchester United vs Chelsea, FA Cup - Prediction, Odds & Picks

  • Manchester United has an excellent record against Chelsea this season
  • The Blues must strike a better balance between attack and defense than they have managed of late
  • Back United to beat Chelsea for the fourth time this term and reach the FA Cup final

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What Manchester United vs Chelsea
Where Wembley, London, England
When Sunday, 19 July 2020, 1 PM EST
How to watch Watch on ESPN+ here!

It is almost a year now since Manchester United and Chelsea locked horns on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. It was a strange game. For long stretches Chelsea was the better team, pressing high up the pitch and creating chances at Old Trafford. Yet by the end of the 90 minutes, a clinical United team was celebrating a 4-0 victory.

That was not the only time Chelsea has succumbed to defeat by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this term. United also emerged victorious when the two teams did battle in the League Cup, before recording a 2-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League. Chelsea has only scored once against United this term, shipping eight goals in the process.

That is one reason why the Red Devils will feel confident ahead of Sunday’s clash. Another is how much they have improved since the closure of the January transfer window. From February 1 onwards, no team in the Premier League has taken more points than United, which has even outdone Liverpool and Manchester City. Chelsea, by contrast, ranks fifth in the table over the same period, having failed to win five of its 12 games.

Solskjaer will ward off overconfidence among his players, and Lampard will no doubt have learned lessons from those three defeats. Right now, though, United simply looks like a better side than Chelsea and it is worth backing it to reach its 21st FA Cup final.

Manchester United vs Chelsea Odds

Match winner Odds
Manchester United +150
Draw +225
Chelsea +195

Odds taken from Bet MGM.

United and Chelsea are currently locked in a tussle in the Premier League, as the two teams and Leicester City compete for the two remaining Champions League qualification spots behind Liverpool and Manchester City. They face a more direct battle this weekend, as United aims to continue its habit of beating the Blues.

It has a great chance of doing so. Solskjaer’s side has looked the more cohesive unit since the restart, and its style of play means it is ideally suited to exploiting the weaknesses that remain in Chelsea’s game.

United Can Build on a Blueprint That Has Worked to Great Effect Already

There have been some different elements to each of United’s triumphs over Chelsea this term, but there have also been key similarities between them. Lampard’s side has come up short in three key areas in 2019/20, and in each of its three clashes with United, those weaknesses have been exploited.

First, Chelsea struggles to defend set-pieces. Lampard has admitted as much and indicated he will try to sign taller players this summer as a remedy, but that alone will not be sufficient if Chelsea remains poorly organized when facing dead balls. It has also been vulnerable when defending in transition and guilty of affording opponents too much room in behind. The pacey trio of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood love nothing more than having open space to sprint into.

On the other side of the ball, Chelsea has sometimes struggled to turn possession into chances. United has dealt with that well in previous matches between the pair, allowing Chelsea the ball in deeper areas but quickly closing its players down when they advance. On Sunday Solskjaer will look to once again take advantage of Chelsea’s shortcomings in those areas.

Chelsea Face Mental Hurdle After Falling to United Three Times

Lampard and his coaching staff will no doubt have been working on ways to ensure Chelsea is better equipped to halt United this time around. He could use a system with three center-backs to give his defensive unit additional size at set-pieces and cover in open play. There is also the possibility of sitting a little deeper and denying United the opportunity to counter-attack so readily.

But while tactics are vital, football is played by real human beings rather than manipulatable chess pieces. Lampard may also need to find a way to help his players overcome the mental hurdle that comes with losing to the same opponent multiple times. The Premier League table shows that there is not much to choose between United and Chelsea, but the former’s recent record gives it the edge.

United Has Kicked on Since the Restart and Should Emerge Triumphant

There is an argument that United has played the best soccer in the Premier League since it returned to action last month. Given that Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are set to face Chelsea in tandem for the first time, Solskjaer’s side has got even better since its last victory over the Blues.

Chelsea is capable of causing United problems and will be desperate to avenge those prior defeats, but United’s superior form makes it the deserved favorite. It also has a better balance between defense and attack and looks poised to exploit Chelsea’s weaknesses once again.

Our Pick

Back Manchester United to triumph – it has looked in better shape than Chelsea in recent weeks and has a terrific record against it this season.

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Greg Lea

Expert on Soccer

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]