MX23RW : Sunday, December 16 23:03:12
May 19, 2018 at 5.15pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 87,647
Chelsea
1-0
Man UtdManchester United
Hazard (22' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-0)

Combined XI: Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Sports Mole picks a combined XI from those expected to be available for this weekend's FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United.

Chelsea and Manchester United meet in the 137th FA Cup final this weekend in a repeat of the first showpiece to be held at Wembley Stadium.

A lot has changed since Didier Drogba netted an extra-time winner for the Blues more than a decade ago to settle that tense affair.

One thing that has remained constant, however, is that both clubs remain real forces in the English game, even if the Blues did finish down in fifth this time around.

Saturday's match gives Chelsea a chance to redeem themselves, a year on from losing to Arsenal in the final, while the Red Devils are aiming to lift the cup for a second time in three seasons.

Ahead of this weekend's clash, Sports Mole selects the strongest combined XI from both teams using those expected to be available.


Combined XI: Chelsea vs. Man Utd

Thibaut Courtois finds himself in a group of three or four Premier League goalkeepers that can consider themselves among European football's elite, but there is no doubt that David de Gea is the best around right now. No stopper kept more top-flight clean sheets than the Spaniard's 18, helping him to win the club's Player of the Year award for a record-breaking fourth time.

In order the cram in three central midfielders and three forwards, this formation uses a back four. Antonio Valencia and Marcos Alonso, also confident playing as wing-backs, take up spots on the flank, given the nod over Victor Moses and Ashley Young respectively. Cesar Azpilicueta may be more accustomed to filling slotting into a three-man defence these days, but his versatility means that he will still shine in this system, particularly when used alongside the talented Eric Bailly.

Despite going somewhat under the radar compared to his previous two campaigns, both culminating in a Prem title winner's medal being placed around his neck, N'Golo Kante remains arguably the best destructive midfielder around. Alongside him is former teammate Nemanja Matic, whose sale to Man United last summer now looks even stranger than it did back then following contrasting league campaigns for the club he left behind and the one he joined. Cesc Fabregas could provide some creativity from deep, while Ander Herrera has the ability to drive forward, but this particular side would benefit from the energy provided by Paul Pogba, who boasts decent enough stats this term - 10 goals, six assists in the Prem from 25 starts - even if he has had his critics.

Another player who the Red Devils will need a little more from next term if they are to close the gap on Man City is Alexis Sanchez, who has shown glimmers of his Arsenal form since arriving in January but now needs to find some consistency. The Chilean is one of the most dangerous forwards around, as the Blues discovered in last year's final, and Eden Hazard can also chip in with numerous goals and assists. This has not been a vintage season for the Belgium international, but he has still been one of his side's better performers. Up top, meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku - expected to feature this weekend despite spending time on the sidelines - is the obvious striking option over Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, who are vying for regular playing time at Stamford Bridge.

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Who will win the 2018 FA Cup final?

Chelsea
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Romelu Lukaku in action during the Champions League round-of-16 game between Manchester United and Sevilla on March 13, 2018
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269

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