Manchester United will face Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-finals without any of their forwards.
Red Devils captain Wayne Rooney was ruled out with injury after a collision with Phil Jones in training, while top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic begins a three-game ban for elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings.
With forwards Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford (illness) also both missing for the holders, United coach Jose Mourinho has no recognised striker available for selection.
Their busy schedule also saw them play Rostov in Russia in the Europa League, which sets them far apart from Chelsea’s more relaxed schedule — the Blues do not feature in Europe this season.
But Mourinho is yet to throw in the towel.
“We cannot go with Nicky Butt’s team [players from the under-23 team, managed by former United midfielder Butt],” the Portuguese said at the pre-match conference.
“Manchester United is too big. Manchester United is the winner of the competition. It is not Chelsea’s fault fault that we were given this Monday match, so we have to make changes for sure… but we cannot go to Stamford Bridge with a Nicky Butt team.”
On the other hand, his Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte has a fully-fit squad at his disposal, and will host the Manchester club at Stamford Bridge, where the Blues managed 12 consecutive home wins in all competitions.
- Both teams have met on 11 occasions in the FA Cup. United won 8, while Chelsea won 3.
- Only two of those games were after 2000, and Chelsea won both.
- Under Conte, the Blues are also unbeaten in their last 11 league and cup games against United (W6, D5), and have only conceded three times in their last nine encounters.
- United won only two of their last 19 league and cup games at Stamford Bridge (D6, L11).
Chelsea 2 — 0 Manchester United