History, form and squad strength are heavily in favour of Antonio Conte ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup quarter-final clash with Manchester United on Monday.
Jose Mourinho will be looking to bury the memories of his last visit to Stamford Bridge as he prepares a severely depleted squad to face the in-form Blues, and runaway league leaders.
The former Chelsea boss may already have made nominal compensation for his side’s dire Premier League performance this season by lifting the EFL League Cup in February, but he’ll nonetheless be desperate to get one over on the club against whom he suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat in October.
The odds are heavily in favour of his managerial counterpart, however. Chelsea haven’t lost to the Red Devils in 11 matches across all competitions, and have lost only one of their last 21 matches, and go into this tie with a fully-fit squad.
“I don’t think (Mourinho will rest players),” Conte told reporters ahead of the clash. “They have had four days to recover and this game is an important one for us, for them.
“I think their formation will be very good,” he continued. “Also because along with Manchester City, Manchester United have the best squad in this league.”
Mourinho gave reporters his assessment of his opponents’ strengths. “They defend a lot and well, and they counter-attack and kill opponents on the counter-attack similar to my Chelsea.
“But the difference is they play with five at the back and I played four at the back, but the same criteria: a very strong team to defend and a team that kills on the counter-attack, and they are doing very, very well and that is why they are going to be champions easily.”
Team news is that Manchester United are without Zlatan Ibrahimovic (suspension), Wayne Rooney (training ground injury), Marcus Rashford (illness) and Anthony Martial (training ground injury) while Chelsea have a fully fit squad to choose from.