After a 0-0 draw against West Ham United on Thursday night confirmed a second-placed Premier League finish for Manchester United, all eyes turn towards the FA Cup final later this month.
Jose Mourinho’s men beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Wembley in the semi-finals last month to book their place, with Chelsea set to be the final opponents for the Red Devils.
United go into the game as slight favourites as the odds from betting sites show their current standings. According to the CrownBet online FA Cup odds, the men in red are favoured to prevail this season.
Chelsea will also represent tough and motivated opponents. It could well be Antonio Conte’s final game in charge of the London club, with rumblings over the Italian manager’s future at Stamford Bridge persisting.
For United, Mourinho will be motivated to get one over his former employers and continue his track record of silverware.
Having won the League Cup and Europa League last season, to pick up the FA Cup this time round would be an excellent way to conclude the campaign, not to mention a welcome boost in international prestige and sponsorship revenues.
Coupled with a second-placed league finish, victory would represent progress and a successful season for United.
Red Devils fans will hope that Romelu Lukaku will be fit to face Chelsea, with the powerhouse centre forward picking up an ankle injury in the recent 2-1 Premier League win over Arsenal.
Despite the United striker’s participation not yet being guaranteed, if the Belgium international is ready to play it would be a big boost to United.
Mourinho is likely to keep it tight against Chelsea and as such a solitary goal in either side’s favour could be enough to seal victory.
The last time the teams met United won 2-1, with goals from Lukaku and Jesse Lingard enough to give their side victory at Old Trafford.
Mourinho’s men showed resolve to fight back from a goal down on that day, in a result that catapulted the Red Devils well ahead of their fellow top-four rivals.
Although the distraction of the impending World Cup will be in the player’s minds, Mourinho will demand a performance and result from his side.
With the game representing both teams’ only chance of silverware this season, stakes are high – United will need to be at their best to end the campaign with success.