Manchester United are playing so well right now we do not exactly need to be given any advantages.

But we equally do not deserve to be put at a disadvantage, yet this is exactly what the Premier League, FA, and television companies have managed to do.

This coming Sunday, Manchester United return to Wembley to face Chelsea in a win-or-bust FA Cup semi-final.

So why exactly do Chelsea have two extra days rest ahead of the fixture?

(Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

United’s rough deal

After Chelsea played, and lost to Sheffield United on Saturday, Manchester United’s corresponding Premier League fixture is at home to Southampton tonight.

Chelsea then host relegated Norwich City in a gimme of a Premier League game on Tuesday night.

From that point Frank Lampard’s men can rest up and focus on preparing for Sunday’s semi-final at Wembley.

United meanwhile have to travel to Crystal Palace for an away fixture on Thursday night at 8.15pm.

There are then just two full days – one of which will be designated as a recovery day – to prepare for Sunday’s fixture against Chelsea at Wembley.

Chelsea have two extra days’ rest, and consequently do not have as many rotation dilemmas to deal with for their midweek game either.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to finely balance his team selection for Thursday’s game, bearing in mind potential impact on Sunday’s game at Wembley.

The match against Palace could be a tricky one, they recently almost drew with Chelsea, in a closely fought 3-2 loss.

(Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Strong record against Chelsea

United have beaten Chelsea three times this season by a combined score of 8-1.

We can also leapfrog them in the Premier League tonight with a win against Southampton.

But the way the fixtures are scheduled, Chelsea could profit in both the league and the FA Cup.

Perhaps, hopefully, there will be no impact on the games against Palace and Chelsea. United are good enough for there not to be.

But it doesn’t seem right that United have been put in this position, with Chelsea having extra rest heading into Sunday’s semi-final.

While Solskjaer may be diplomatic about this in his press conferences, you can only imagine what Sir Alex Ferguson would have had to say.

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