Michael Owen: Manchester United can beat Chelsea in the FA Cup

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United and Liverpool striker Michael Owen believes that Jose Mourinho‘s side can beat Chelsea in the FA Cup on Monday night.

Man United secured a quarter-final date with this season’s prospective champions through wins over Reading, Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers.

They will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic – their top scorer this season with 26 goals – after the Swede picked up a three-match suspension in light of an elbow on AFC Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings.

But Owen, writing for BetVictor ahead of the game, believes that United could still go through against Antonio Conte’s side.

“No Zlatan Ibrahimovic for United through suspension but I still feel United’s name will be in the draw for the semi-finals on Monday night although they may have to settle for a draw,” he wrote.

“The holders were beaten 4-0 in the corresponding PL fixture earlier in the season and that was the low-point of their season.

Jose Mourinho will be keen to exorcise those demons back at the Bridge where he was once revered of course.”

All signs point towards a galling Monday evening for United. Stamford Bridge, for one thing, serves as a poisonous bogey ground for Mourinho’s side: they have managed just two wins there in the last ten years, and one of those only came with the help of an offside goal and Chelsea going down to nine men.

This season has seen Chelsea, following a shaky start, build an impenetrable fortress at Stamford Bridge ever since switching to a 3-4-3 formation in late September. They haven’t lost at home since, and they’ll be raring to go following a whole week’s preparation.

United, on the other hand, will head to London still feeling the effects of a 17-hour all-round trip to Rostov. Nobody should realistically expect much from the visitors on Monday, but that in itself could be a cause for optimism: Mourinho, after all, has always thrived more as an underdog throughout his managerial career.

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