- FA Cup Betting Preview: Chelsea vs. Manchester United – Last chance of silverware for Conte and Mourinho
FA Cup Betting Preview: Chelsea vs. Manchester United – Last chance of silverware for Conte and Mourinho
Chelsea and Manchester United meet in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as they attempt to lift their one and only trophy of the 2017/18 campaign.
It’s been a season to forget for Antonio Conte and Chelsea. Having won the Premier League title in the previous season, the Blues finished fifth this time around as they fell short of qualifying for next year’s Champions League. That failure is likely to see Conte replaced as manager this summer, but the Italian would like nothing more than to sign off from his time at Stamford Bridge with a trophy.
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United can be more upbeat about their campaign as they claimed second place in the top flight – their highest domestic finish in five years. However, United lagged well behind rivals Manchester City, with the champions ending up 19 points better off than Mourinho’s charges. That’s not good enough from the point of view of many United fans but lifting the FA Cup this weekend would certainly be more than a consolation prize.
Chelsea start this weekend’s final as outsiders and can be backed at 2/1 to win inside 90 minutes with Betfred, or 12/11 to lift the trophy, odds which would include extra time and a penalty shootout if the scores are level after normal time. United, who finished 11 points better off than the Blues in the Premier League, are at 173/100 to collect a victory in normal time or 43/50 to have the FA Cup in their hands by any means.
Both teams ended the season in similar stuttering fashion, winning one, drawing one and losing one of their final three fixtures. Chelsea rested several players for the final day heavy 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United, while Huddersfield Town held the Blues at Stamford Bridge just a few days before. Manchester United, meanwhile, lost at Brighton & Hove Albion in the final weeks of the campaign, as well as playing out a stalemate at West Ham United.
In the Premier League this season, each side won their respective home fixture. Chelsea won 1-0 in West London back in November, with Alvaro Morata scoring the only goal of the game. Three months later at Old Trafford, Willian gave Conte’s men the lead, only for Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku to ensure all three points went to the hosts. Tight outcomes are the norm in head-to-heads between these two, with just three of the last 17 meetings ending in a victory greater than a goal for one team. For punters that are anticipating a tight game and aren’t put off by low returns, Chelsea +1 is at a best price of 8/15, with United at 4/9 in the same market.
The medical staff at United will be trying everything in their power to ensure Lukaku regains his fitness in time to start the final. The Belgian striker injured his ankle at the end of April and his absence was a real blow for United who only scored once in their following three games. Lukaku, who has scored 26 times in all competitions, is the favourite to break the deadlock against his former employers on Saturday at odds of 11/2.
Chelsea must decide whether to start Morata or Olivier Giroud at the spearhead of their attack this weekend but their main goalscoring threat comes from Lukaku’s international team mate Eden Hazard. With the Blues having to settle for Europa League football next year, Hazard’s future remains up in the air with Real Madrid continuously touted as the winger’s next destination. He’ll undoubtedly start against United, though, and – like Conte – will want to leave on a high if he is heading to La Liga. He’s 6/1 to score first.
Elsewhere, backing Olivier Giroud to score would be a wise choice. The Frenchman adores playing at Wembley Stadium, winning all ten club matches he’s taken part in at the national stadium. He also scored in the 2-0 semi-final triumph over Southampton and has already lifted the FA Cup twice in the last three seasons with Arsenal. He’s at 5/2 to score at any point over 90 minutes – but do be aware he only has two goals in 12 appearances against United.
The statistics point towards this one being a tight encounter with just the odd goal settling matters. It could go all the way to extra time — or even a penalty shootout. Under 1.5 goals at 49/25 certainly offers excellent value, particularly because of both Chelsea and Manchester United’s wastefulness in the final third. Alternatively, those backing the long haul can be satisfied with the odds on offer. It’s 9/2 for either team to win via a shootout, but we’d recommend backing someone to steal it in extra time at 5/1.
To find out the best online betting sites to have a flutter on this much anticipated fixture check out our betting site reviews.