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Can Conte’s Blues Deliver Some Much-Needed FA Cup Silverware?

Chelsea’s season has been a stuttering one. From Premier League champions to top four cravers, the Blues’ decline has surprised many and left the media and pundits alike shocked at what could potentially be going on behind the scenes.

Antonio Conte’s future as manager has been up in the air for almost two seasons now after continual rows with the Chelsea hierarchy over failed transfer dealings and ongoing frustration at decisions off and on the pitch. The Italian’s glum face has said it all this season. On top of this, star men Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Thibault Courtois are seemingly keen to move on which, for Chelsea fans, will be a huge worry. What the future may hold for the former kings of England’s top flight is a bit murky at the moment and a summer of upheaval looks almost certain.

One saving grace from a largely underwhelming campaign has been their showing in the FA Cup, where on May 19 Blues fans will be packed into Wembley Stadium in the hope that their heroes can pull off a juicy scalp against their former manager and current Manchester United boss, Jose Mourinho, when the two sides face off in the final.

After being convincingly knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Barcelona and barely putting up much of a domestic title defence this season, Chelsea will be pinning all their hopes on FA Cup success and will look to carry on what has been a decent domestic cup run.

Possible outcome

As typical with any Jose Mourinho side, the Red Devils will be a tough nut to crack at Wembley, especially in a final where there’s so much at stake for both teams. United’s season has arguably been similar to Chelsea’s in terms of evident failings, so neither side will want to lose this one. With that in mind, a draw at full-time (current odds 9/4, 888sport) resulting in a tense penalty shootout could be on the cards here. It’s around 10/1 with most bookmakers for either United or Chelsea to win on penalties; you can check out the latest 888sport free bet for longshots like that one. United are current 8/11 favourites with 888sport to lift the trophy but Conte’s men are more than capable of frustrating the Reds and will be widely backed at evens.

Potential Blues heroes

Following Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Southampton, where Olivier Giroud’s delicious goal was a particular highlight, another one of Roman Abramovich employees will be looking to take the game by the scruff of the neck and cement themselves into Chelsea folklore. Who could be the potential game changer for the Blues on May 19? Eden Hazard immediately springs to mind, although Giroud himself, having recently joined the club from London rivals Arsenal, will be keen to make more of a name for himself and help the Blues rescue what has been a forgettable campaign. In fact, the 9/5 odds (888sport) for Chelsea to win in 90 minutes looks huge value for a match featuring two evenly matched teams.

It’s a tough one to call but one thing is for sure – when Chelsea and Manchester United face off in any game it’s usually a feisty, all-action affair. This time, though, with both sides’ seasons at stake and a match that could possibly determine the future of either manager in the summer, temperatures will be even higher in London for what could be one of the classics of the season.