English FA Cup Final Odds: Huge Match in Ahead for Mourinho and Conte

Saturday, 19/05/2018, Time: 18:15

There was a time when it was impossible to imagine Jose Mourinho managing Manchester United. The Portuguese maestro first came to the attention of English football fans when charging down the touchline at Old Trafford as his Porto side beat Man United en route to winning the Champions League and then became indelibly linked with Chelsea, guiding the team to their first ever Premier League title.

After a few years of struggle following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Man United fans broadly welcomed the appointment of Mourinho. They hoped that his pragmatism would be just what United needed after a few years of struggle under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. Mourinho has already brought success in the League Cup and Europa League but ask the United fans heading to Wembley for Saturday’s FA Cup final what they think of Mourinho and you’ll get a mixed response.

A lack of attacking intent is the main area of criticism for Mourinho but he’s far from unique in that regard. Some Chelsea players went public with their frustration at the tactics employed by Antonio Conte at times this season and the Italian’s position at Stamford Bridge is considerably less secure than Mourinho’s at Old Trafford.

Throw in the personal animosity between the two managers and you understand just how important the FA Cup final is for them both. It’s also a huge match for the stature of both clubs and for the players who want to prove they can do it on the big stage.

Mourinho to Have the Last Laugh

What a difference a year has made for Antonio Conte. When he led Chelsea out at Wembley 12 months ago he was rightly winning praise from all quarters having won the Premier League title in his first season in English football. He’s subsequently had fallings out with the club’s hierarchy, upset the fans with some of his tactics and cut a very frustrated figure at times on the touchline.

This may well be Conte’s last match as Chelsea manager but that won’t dampen his desire to win the FA Cup. The question is, will he be able to get the best out a Chelsea squad who believe they’ll be working for another manager next season?

Mourinho has been fairly criticised at times this season but he retains the backing of the Man United board and only recently signed a new contract. Like him or loathe him, the United players know he’ll be in charge next season and therefore have no choice but to give their all for the cause or face being frozen out.

Mourinho is also an absolute master when it comes to planning for these sort of occasions and at game management. Then there’s the attacking quality available to him with Romelu Lukaku returning from injury and Alexis Sanchez’s phenomenal record at Wembley. This is a very tight match but our odds comparison shows you can back Man United to lift the FA Cup at 4/5 with Bet365 and you have to think that’s a fair price.

Late Drama Could be the Order of the Day

Man United are the odds on favourites to win the FA Cup but, as you can see with our odds comparison, they’re significantly longer to win the match in 90 minutes (they’re 8/5 with Betfred). That’s a tempting enough price but there is every chance that Saturday’s match will extend into extra time.

Chelsea have fallen well below the standards they’re capable of this season but a team with the quality of Eden Hazard, Willian and an in-form Olivier Giroud always has a chance of scoring a goal. It’s going to take a fully committed performance from Man United to see off the challenge of Chelsea. If you agree that it will take Mourinho’s men more than 90 minutes to get the win, it could be worth backing Man United to win in extra time at 10/1 with Bet365.

Even if the FA Cup final doesn’t make it into extra time, it looks likely that the game will burst to life later on after a tense start. Both Mourinho and Conte will tell their players to ensure they don’t give anything away in the early stages but either side may find themselves chasing the game in the dying embers. To profit from this, be sure to have a bet on the second half having more goals than the first at 21/20 with Ladbrokes. It could also pay to bet on both teams scoring in the second half which is available at 11/4 with Betfair.