On Monday 13th of March, Chelsea will be up against Jose Mourinho and a familiar foe in Manchester United as the two teams lock horns in the FA Cup quarterfinals.
Chelsea legend Pat Nevin in his column in the official Chelsea website suggested that Jose Mourinho will try to deploy the long ball tactics to unsettle our defence, especially the right side where we have two men who aren’t so blessed with height – Victor Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta. But just as the duo won many of their aerial balls against West Ham, he expects same quality against United.
He wrote: “This is all important because Jose and his boys are coming to town next week and there is no doubt they will be using the same tactic as often as they can. As I write this, I can’t say for sure if Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be serving a three-match ban, but if he is and I suspect he will be, then that is a huge blow to the tactics that Jose would prefer to use. Thinking about Zlatan’s deliberate or otherwise elbow on Tyrone Mings, do you reckon Diego Costa would have got the same coverage, or would there have been calls for him to be treated like a Mexican found loitering in Donald Trump’s bedroom.
“I digress, again, but not having Zlatan available will not stop our old manager getting the ball in the mixer at the back post. Expect Fellaini, Pogba and even the likes of Smalling at set-pieces to be attacking those areas at every opportunity. It is a perfectly reasonable ploy, but I do not think it is the huge weakness everyone seems to think it is, and most importantly Antonio knows all about it anyway. If Zlatan was available, then there is the option of bringing Kurt Zouma in, but that would of course be harsh on either Azpi or Victor who have done the square root of nothing wrong of late.
“I suspect Antonio will not bother changing for anyone anyway, it is up to the others to adapt to Chelsea right now and that includes Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. Jose might know Chelsea and most of the players better than just about anyone, but most of teams appear to know what Chelsea are doing, they just can’t seem to find a way of stopping it. Even when the team plays just fairly well, it tends to still be enough.”