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Photo: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chelsea host Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round tie at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening.

The Blues are the current holders of the competition, and Maurizio Sarri will be keen on beating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to progress to the quarterfinals of the competition.

Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola who won the competition as a Chelsea player in 1997 and 2000 has spoken about the importance of this competition and the prestige it holds.

Zola said: “I understand that the Premier League, the Champions League, they represent a lot for the club, for the players, but I am one of those that I keep believing that this is a great competition. It is one of the best I played in and I really hope that it will still be considered so by everyone.

“Wrongly, I assumed that it was considered the same value as the Italian cup and until we really won it, I didn’t realise how important it was for the people, for everyone involved with the club. It’s been a surprise, one of the best surprises I’ve had in football.

“I really like it, not just because I have a good record in it, but just because considering that everyone can compete in this, even the non-league teams, and everyone can try to reach their dream. It’s magnificent, having a dream in football is amazing, and that’s what I appreciate about the competition.”

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson is backing Chelsea to win this game 2-1.

“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,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“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.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.