Non-league quarterfinal between Sutton United and Lincoln City has caught some imagination but the most tempting tie in the last eight of the FA Cup is definitely between Chelsea and Man United. The tie is overflowing with intrigue as it is the Blue vs. Red, Conte vs. Mourinho and Costa vs. Ibrahimovic.
The clubs have been competing against each other since centuries and most of the memories are not in favour of Chelsea supporters. In 1994, the Blues faced a damp and Glenn Hoddle’s team fell 4-0 to Manchester United in the Wembley rain. After two years, Ruud Gullit nodded Chelsea to the lead in the semi finals but Andy Cole’s equaliser and David Beckham’s winning goal turned the table for the Blues.
In the year 1998, Chelsea were the Cup holders and Man United were the reigning Champions when they met at Stamford Bridge for their third round. United took a lead of 5-0 until stupendous chip by Graeme Le Saux over Peter. The matched ended with a score of 5-3 announcing a victory for the visitors.
After the replay in 1999, Man United were victorious again. Chelsea had to wait for eight long years to take revenge in the FA Cup. In 2013 they contested for the quarter final and attained a comeback with the score 2-0 after an amazing shot from Eden Hazard at Old Trafford.
Apart from the huge stature and ambition of the two clubs, another fascinating element in the next instalment of the FA Cup rivalry is because of Jose Mourinho. His association with the Londoners indicate that any reunion will be heavily scrutinised. His actions and words in the recent past have shown that the build up is going to get more intense.
Mourinho has been mocking Chelsea’s overly defensive way of playing and he also quoted that ‘they score one goal and they win’. He recently commented that counter-attacking football has now become a form of art and not a way to win points. He believes that his work at Chelsea was not well appreciated by those of outside Stamford Bridge but his attitude towards Conte’s squad is hypothetical and incorrect.
Mourinho should feel proud about his achievements in Chelsea as his winning mentality was the reason for the club to turn into champions. He also laid the foundation for Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in 2012.
Chelsea has bagged more goals than Mourinho’s squad this campaign. This indicates that his thoughts about his former team’s performance is unjustifiable and shows the negativity surrounding Manchester United. This sort of attitude was not on show during Chelsea’s 4-0 rout of Man United in October.
The fans of Blues still hold a special place for Mourinho as they believe that he had a huge contribution in the team’s success and at times they defend his most nonsensical actions. May be he is just upset about the fact that Conte is receiving the same reverence that was once meant for him.
Mourinho had a warm welcome at Stamford Bridge during his visit in October. The FA quarter final in March will decide if the situation remains the same or the heat will become more uncomfortable for the visiting manager.