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Chelsea and Manchester United to pick their strongest sides

Monday 20th February 2017
The FA Cup has introduced clubs the opportunity to play many of the youth and fringe players throughout the competition, thus sparking a lot of debate on whether this is the right thing to do.

There are arguments for this with clubs using it as an ideal scenario to test out players who are short on chances to play first team football and giving them some solid game time. But there are some pundits out there suggesting that clubs are not taking the competition as seriously as they should be - and are therefore missing out on genuine chances of winning silverware by fielding too many fringe players.

The FA Cup has been fully entertaining so far with even Non-League sides proving that they can fight against the biggest teams in the country with some big giant killings. But two teams who have managed to find a good balance of fielding both first team regulars and some of the fringe players is Chelsea and Manchester United.

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte have gone with fairly strong sides throughout the early rounds but also have given some game time to many of the not so regular players. But now with both sides being drawn against each other in the quarter-final, I believe that we will now see them field their strongest possible teams, especially when you take into account the rivalry here between the two that's been extra fuelled by Mourinho managing both clubs and being a former cult hero at Chelsea.
The Portuguese Manager has been quoted saying to Sky Sports that he believes Chelsea have the advantage having already won the League in his opinion, meaning they have full concentration on the FA Cup now. Some usual mind games from Mourinho as Chelsea only sit 8 points clear at the top of the table with many important games left to play. There is no doubt that Conte and his team will not be getting complacent in the league right now.

This will be an exciting match that has got the neutrals licking their lips with so much history between the two sides. Chelsea will fancy it, taking into account that Stamford Bridge is definitely a bogey ground for United and also the current FA Cup holders are swamped with fixtures being still in the Europa League and they also have the EFL Cup final to think about.

Having said that, Mourinho has got his team playing very well in recent matches and they are certainly looking dangerous, as well as wanting to defend their trophy and perhaps some revenge from Mourinho over a club he clearly has some bitterness about the way he left last year.

Conte, as always, will not be getting involved in any war of words and will most certainly not be taking anything for granted in a game that has the potential to be an absolute cracker, as well the potential to go any way on the day depending on whether any of the big name players turn up for either side. We have the makings of a classic here.

Simon Phillips
Simon Phillips
Football Writer for the last 7 years, specialising in the English Premier League and covering a wide range of topics.

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