Sunday brings us just the one FA Cup quarter final as Tottenham host Millwall in a London derby, but Monday’s game is the tie of the round as Jose Mourinho returns to former club Chelsea with his current team Manchester United.
Mourinho will be hoping for a much happier return than the one he made in the Premier League earlier in the season. His United side were thrashed 4-0 by Antonio Conte’s Blues back in October, a game which was the third on the Pensioner’s 13-game winning streak. While Chelsea have sauntered to a ten point lead at the top of the table since, United are stuck frustratingly in 6th place. The Red Devils do have a trophy to their name already this season after the EFL Cup triumph, but they will have to attempt this cup double without the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The big striker is banned for three matches after his apparent elbow on Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings and misses the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Millwall have kept an astonishing nine clean sheets in the last ten games, but they come up against one of the countries hottest strikers at White Hart Lane. Harry Kane has notched three hat-tricks in 2017 and bagged another two last time out in the 3-2 win over Everton. Spurs have won 12 of the last 13 games in North London, only failing to score two or more in one of those matches. This will be a huge test of League One Millwall’s defensive mettle, but the Lions can travel in good heart after beating current Premier League champions Leicester in the previous round.
Chelsea v Manchester United
Chelsea haven’t played since beating West Ham 2-1 on Monday evening, and Manchester United were away at Rostov in the Europa League on Thursday. Tally in the Blues impressive form and the absence of Ibrahimovic, and the home win is attractively priced at -115 with Marathonbet.
That midweek trip to Russia resulted in a 1-1 draw from the first leg, but the travelling and lack of recovery time has to have an effect on the squad. By contrast, Chelsea have had a full week to prepare and can play a full strength team with just an away fixture at Stoke next Saturday on the horizon. Jose Mourinho faces the second leg against Rostov next Thursday evening before he can think about the next Premier League game at Middlesbrough next Sunday.
Chelsea have beaten Man United on four of their last five visits to Stamford Bridge – the 1-1 draw last season the exception – and the Blues are on a run of 16 wins in the last 17 matches in front of their own fans. Manchester United have won an impressive 7 of the last 10 on the road, but they haven’t faced any real ‘top tier’ sides. Mourinho may take a pragmatic approach and look to stifle the game and take a replay at Old Trafford, but with Hazard and co. in such irresistible form it’s hard to get away from a home win.
Tottenham v Millwall
Spurs are also fancied despite Millwall’s defensive record, but an appealing exotic bet is Harry Kane to score two or more goals at +200 with William Hill.
The England marksman could barely be in better form of late, scoring six goals in his last four games. Kane hit a treble against Fulham in the FA Cup, before helping himself to another hat-trick against Stoke and a double against Everton in the Premier League. the only game of the four in which he has failed to score was Spurs’ ill-fated 2-2 draw at home with Gent, which saw them bow out of the Europa League.
Millwall’s form has been nothing short of remarkable. Since beating Watford 1-0 in the FA Cup, they embarked on a nine-game run of clean sheets, and their defence was only breached by an MK Dons consolation in a 2-1 League One defeat. Overall they are unbeaten in 17 games, winning 11 and drawing 6. The Lions have also beaten Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester en route to this quarter final but crucially, each of those games was at home. Millwall’s away form paints a bleaker picture, with only two wins in eight on the road in League One. They’ve been beaten 2-0 & 3-0 at the likes of Bolton and Scunthorpe, and this is a test against one of the best attacks in the Premier League.
Spurs are fancied to put their London rivals to the sword, and Harry Kane is sure to be amongst the goals if they do so.
Chelsea to beat Manchester United
Monday 13th March, 19:45 GMT
Harry Kane to score two or more goals
Sunday 12th March, 14:00 GMT