Chelsea and Manchester United really mixed it up in their last meeting, a 5-4 win by the Blues in the Capital One Cup fourth round on Oct. 31.
Who: Manchester United vs. Chelsea FC
What: FA Cup, Round 6
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
When: Sunday, March 10, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 16:30 GMT/12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT
Television: Fox Soccer Channel, FOX Deportes (USA), ITV 1, UTV (UK)
Radio: SiriusXM Sirius 94 (Internet 94), BBC Radio 5 Live (UK)
Worldwide Live Streams and : LiveSoccerTV.com
Referee: Howard Webb
3-Way Odds: Manchester United -135, Chelsea +360, Draw +280
Total: Over 3 +120, Under 3 -120
Pick 'Em Odds: Manchester United Pick -310, Chelsea Pick +240
2-Way Odds: Manchester United -½ -135, Chelsea +½ +115
Source: LVH SuperBook (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
Odds FA Cup: Manchester United +225, Chelsea +550
Source: Sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
Both Manchester United and Chelsea are hoping Sunday’s FA Cup sixth round meeting at Old Trafford will go a long way to exorcising some of the demons the two English Premier League giants incurred earlier in the week in unsavory Champions League and Europa League losses.
For top flight leaders United (23-2-3)—who actually had a treble on its mind for a little while—Tuesday’s 2-1 loss (3-2 aggregate) to Real Madrid at home eliminated the Red Devils from the Champions League and likely placed a really big chip on the collective shoulders of Sir Alex Ferguson’s boys.
And for United, it wasn't so much the fact it lost to a powerful Real Madrid side, but how it did so, on a somewhat controversial red card to Nani on a high challenge on an aerial ball with Real's Alvaro Arbeloa in the second half of their round of 16 second leg match.
Referee Cuneyt Cakır's red card on Nani forced United to play 10 vs. 11 against the defending La Liga champions and within 10 minutes, Los Blancos scored twice and sent the Red Devils packing, leaving Arsenal as the only EPL team still alive in the prestigious European tournament.
European champions Chelsea (15-7-6), currently clinging to fourth place in the league, also had its feelings hurt on Thursday when Steaua Bucharest thoroughly outplayed an unmotivated Blues squad in a 1-0 win at Arena Nationala in the opening leg of their Europa League round of 16 match in Romania.
So this third of four meetings of the year between the two clubs—two in the Premier League, their fourth round Capital One Cup meeting and this one—should be more than entertaining considering the massive angst factor of both clubs heading in.
With so much at stake for the Blues in terms of saving face, expect a much more energetic outing from the team from West London here with Juan Mata, Victor Moses, Ashley Cole and Demba Ba likely back in interim manager Rafael Benítez's starting XI.
Against Steaua, former Liverpool teammates Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun were absolutely deplorable and probably made it real hard for management to want to keep them on Chelsea's roster next season.
But the two former Reds weren't alone in their ineptitude for the Blues and almost all of Chelsea's players looked uninspired and pretty worn down, although the Romanian side gets major credit for the way it played and most certainly deserved the win.
Whether or not it was looking forward to this FA Cup showdown with United or not, the Blues had an enormous amount of trouble passing and controlling the ball against Steaua, an ugly trend that creeps up from game to game for Chelsea which looks very tired after playing an unprecedented 50 games to date.
When these two teams meet, anything can happen but one trend that's evolved when they play is that goals will be scored.
In their last 11 fixtures in this series, nine games have gone over the posted total—including the last six straight—the last one being an extremely wild 5-4 Chelsea win in the aforementioned Capital One Cup on Oct. 31.
And with studs like Robin van Persie (19 EPL goals), Wayne Rooney (11), Javier Hernández (8), Shinji Kagawa (5), Nani, Danny Welbeck and several others on its roster, the Red Devils have more than enough firepower to score three goals and possibly go over the total themselves, even with Petr Čech in goal.
United’s goalkeeper David De Gea may also have his work cut out for him in this game with Ba (15), Frank Lampard (11), Mata (10), Eden Hazard (7) and Torres (7) leading Chelsea’s attack but unless the Blues can quickly do something about their midfield passing and ball control, then it could be a really long day for them.
Toss in the reality that Chelsea must be a little road-weary after a trip to Bucharest and then another to Manchester this week on top of all of the traveling they have done in the last eight months and you have the makings of a zombie-like team simply going through the motions and likely looking forward to the summer and some much-needed rest.
Who will win this match?
All this negativity dressed in royal blue fares well for the team in red and combined with the fact this game is at Old Trafford, well, it just doesn't bode well for Chelsea although you know the Blues will get up for this game and may surprise if the offense suddenly clicks.
But "clicking" is something this offense just hasn't been good at this season and with so many new parts not really gelling together and a striker who scores about as much as Queen Elizabeth II, it's fairly easy to handicap this match and simply say just bet the better team brother.
And when picking between two teams still licking their recent wounds, probably best to pick the one with the least wounds.
PREDICTION: Manchester United 3 Chelsea 1
BETS: Manchester United Pick -310, Manchester United -135, Over 3
>Follow me on Twitter: @KevinStott11