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Speaking with the Enemy: A Chelsea fan’s view of the FA Cup quarter-final

We get a Blues perspective of Monday’s clash at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ahead of Manchester United’s tough match-up at Chelsea in the FA Cup on Monday, we caught up with our colleague David Pasztor from We Ain’t Got No History to breakdown the quarter-final.

The Busby Babe: Hey there. Isn't Juan Mata lovely?

We Ain’t Got No History: Yes, yes he is. Lovely player. Lovely man. Perhaps too lovely. He's probably the nicest guy in football. It's too much. Why are you so nice, Special Juan? Bet he's hiding something.

tBB: Did Jose Mourinho ultimately tarnish his Chelsea legacy by going back for a second spell? Even with another league title, it seemed to be a particularly joyless tenure that ended in ugly fashion.

WAGNH: You can never go home again, as they say, whoever they may be. That said, tarnish may be a strong word, especially once the pain and drama of last year fades away. But having to deal with Mourinho at least twice a year is not exactly a good way for that to happen.

Jose undoubtedly remains the greatest manager in club history, and there's very little he can do to destroy that legacy. We just need some time to begin to truly appreciate all he's done for us again.

tBB: Any chance of Antonio Conte resting players on Monday to keep them fresh for your very close and not at all wrapped-up title race? No? A fan base can dream...

WAGNH: With our grueling once-a-week schedule and laundry list of nonexistent injuries, it's quite likely that there will be massive rotation. Like, Matic coming in for Fabregas. And ... yeah, that's it.

tBB: Speaking of Conte, he's been an immediate success. Did you expect it to go this well? What would you say are the biggest factors in the turnaround compared to last season?

WAGNH: No one expected the Italian turnaround. Amongst its weaponry are such diverse elements as hard work, constant improvement, tactical innovation, N'Golo Kante, motivation, mentality, and lots of other unnameable, unknowable, and hard to define elements.

By all accounts, Conte has changed the culture on and off the pitch, getting players to buy into "boring" and repetitive training sessions while taking journalists out for a round down at the local. Winning does help of course and makes everything much, much easier. Just as things snowballed out of control last year in a negative sense, the team have gone from strength-to-strength this year. That it's mostly the same players just goes to show how much we don't quite understand and can't quite quantify about the mental and tactical aspects of football.

tBB: According to the Premier League Winners Best Player Rotation Policy, you have to give up N'Golo Kante this summer so that we can have him. Please deliver him in the same condition in which you found him, thanks.

WAGNH: Impossible. There are, you see, two of them, and the twins must not be separated. Should they ever be ripped apart, the release of the energy contained within would surely doom not only humanity, but the entire universe. Sorry!

tBB: What individual or tactical battles do you think will be key to winning this match?

Games are largely won and lost in midfield, and that's where this one will be decided as well.

tBB: The last time we met, United got spanked at the Bridge. We never win there anyway, but that was a particularly chastening loss. What are you expecting from the game this time?

WAGNH: Mourinho doesn't get embarrassed often and especially not twice in a row to the same team. Hoping for a narrow win, expecting a tight, cagey affair with lots of tension and emotion.

tBB: And finally, predictions for the final score?

WAGNH: 1-1, followed by the lottery of a penalty kick shootout.