Chelsea vs Manchester United preview: Chance for Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku
Last Updated: 18/02/19 11:14am
Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku could get the chance to start when Manchester United travel to Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday (kick-off 7.30pm).
Injuries to Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial means there is an opportunity for the likes of Sanchez and Lukaku to feature, both of whom have been largely restricted to bench duty under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The caretaker manager said: "It's a chance for anyone who plays, if it's Alexis or Romelu or who starts or [Tahith] Chong or Angel [Gomes].
"Anthony and Jesse have done very well for us, they're vital in the attacking part with their attributes with their pace but then again with Rom and Alexis, they've got different skillsets so they will be able to show what they can do."
Gianfranco Zola admits Chelsea are facing a crucial period in their stuttering season, after winning two and losing two of their last four games in all competitions by largely contrasting scorelines.
Assistant coach Zola said: "We know that it's a crucial moment. It's very challenging, I think the key will be to face each task by only thinking about that task.
"The first one is going to be United and we come into this game after a good performance in the Europa League. It's a good challenge, it's actually what we need to do right now.
"We know that we have to be consistent. We all know this. It's important everyone knows the situation and is working on it, players, coaches and club."
The draw for the quarter-finals of the FA Cup will be made after the Chelsea vs Manchester United tie.
Along with Lingard and Martial - who were injured in Tuesday's 2-0 loss to PSG in the Champions League - Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian are also absentees because of minor injuries.
Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns ahead and will give a late fitness test to Ruben Loftus-Cheek after the recurrence of his persistent back problem.
Left-back Marcos Alonso could return after being omitted from Maurizio Sarri's squad for the trip to Sweden in midweek.
This will be the 14th FA Cup tie between Chelsea and Manchester United - the Blues have triumphed in each of the last four, including the final last season.
Manchester United have lost three of their five FA Cup matches against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, winning 5-3 in 1997-98 and 2-0 in 1998-99.
Chelsea could become the first team to eliminate Manchester United in five consecutive FA Cup meetings.
In all competitions, Manchester United have won just two of their last 22 away games against Chelsea (D7 L13), failing to win any of their last nine.
Manchester United have eliminated the FA Cup holders 10 times, more than any other side in the competition's history. They last did so in 2011-12 against Manchester City.
Chelsea are looking to reach the FA Cup quarter-final for the fourth consecutive season, reaching the final in each of the last two.
Manchester United are looking to reach the FA Cup quarter-final for the fifth consecutive season. The last did so in as many between 1961-62 and 1965-66.
The last side to eliminate both Arsenal and Chelsea in the same FA Cup campaign were Manchester United in 1998-99, while the last side to do in away games were Millwall in 1994-95.
United were brought back down to earth by Paris Saint-Germain the other day. It's a hard game. Its one of those where I think Chelsea will win this. I think that Champions League loss will knock Man Utd sideways.
They will miss Jesse Lingard, he's a bit of an unsung hero for them. When he went off against PSG that was it then. The players that are coming in like Alexis Sanchez have flopped.
It's a massive game for both of them. Man Utd are now are under pressure after their first-leg loss to PSG in the Champions League. Their season could go up in flames in a week because if they get beat here they are out of the FA Cup and are facing an uphill task to stay in the Champions League. This period for me is when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to get the job or not.
MERSE PREDICTS: 2-1 (17/2 with Sky Bet)