From Romania to Greater Manchester - the games keep coming but the competitions change. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are ready for an away day again…
Excluding the Charity/Community Shield this is the first season Chelsea have ever met the Mancunians in more than one cup competition and, since we knocked them out of the Capital One Cup, our first chance to end their hopes a second time.
For their part, the Red Devils would view dumping the victors in three of the last four FA Cup finals as a crucial step towards sealing another Double.
The Capital One Cup game, featuring two much-changed sides, ended 5-4 to the Blues, including three penalties, one an injury time equaliser converted by Eden Hazard. Man United had led three times but the Blues eased away in extra time.
In fact our last three meetings have produced 20 goals and both teams might play with freedom, mindful of the need to blow poor European results out of their systems. On the anniversary of Chelsea's founding in 1905 it would be nice to put one over the opposition. A crowd of 67,000 saw us draw 1-1 at the Bridge in our debut season.
Chelsea have only beaten United twice in the FA Cup - once at the Bridge and once at Wembley (see 'We Have History' for more).
On recent evidence it is unlikely that after Sunday's match Sir Alex Ferguson's first thought might be to emulate his forebear Sir Matt Busby, who after a 0-2 FA Cup defeat in 1950 marched into the Chelsea dressing room with the words: 'All right boys, we go quietly. You were too good for us.'
Much attention has focused on the controversial dismissal of Nani in the Real defeat. Chelsea fans might be forgiven for comparing the situations when John Terry was sent off against Barcelona by the same referee, Cüneyt Çakir.
Rather than leading 1-0 at home, the Blues were trailing 0-2 at the time, and at Camp Nou - BBC 5 Live commentator Alan Green even announced: 'Standby for the floodgates to open.'
Chelsea clawed back to a magnificent, tie-winning 2-2 through brilliance, resilience and Brazilians, plus a little well-earned luck. The defending champions may need all that again on Sunday to progress to the semi-finals for the sixth time in eight seasons.
Nor should the Turkish referee's decision on Tuesday be the kind that excites talk of 'payback' against Chelsea. On balance the judgment of officials in Chelsea-United games in recent years has, if anything, weighed in United's favour.
For instance, three decisions by officials handed United a two-man advantage and a crucial 3-2 victory in the league this season. At 2-2 with the Blues ascendant, Branislav Ivanovic was adjudged to have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity and was dismissed.
Fernando Torres joined him with a second yellow for 'simulation', despite there being contact from Jonny Evans' boot. And finally Javier Hernandez's winner was tapped in from a clear offside position.
Hopefully there will be no contentious calls this weekend - including any by upset Man United supporters to our overworked emergency services.
Elsewhere this weekend, Spurs travel to Anfield - a happy hunting ground for them over the last two seasons - with the opportunity to open up a five-point gap between third and fourth in the Premier League.
Fifth-placed Arsenal, who are also out of the FA Cup, were set to play Everton, a place below, but the Toffees instead face Wigan in another of the quarter-finals.
The draw for the FA Cup semi-finals is after our game on Sunday at approx 6.30pm and will be broadcast on ITV 1 and FATV.
Most FA Cup wins
Man Utd 11, Arsenal 10, Tottenham 8, Aston Villa 7, Chelsea 7, Liverpool 7, Blackburn 6, Newcastle 6, Everton 5, Man City 5, The Wanderers 5, WBA 5, Bolton 4, Sheffield Utd 4, Wolves 4, Sheffield Wed 3, West Ham 3.
Manchester United are unbeaten in 20 domestic matches since losing to Norwich City in November last year.
This season FA Cup-holders Chelsea exceeded Blackburn Rovers record of 24 games unbeaten, set in 1884/86. Chelsea's sequence includes one penalty shootout defeat by Everton following a 1-1 draw.
FA Cup quarter-finals
Everton v Wigan 12.45 ITV1
Manchester City v Barnsley 5.30pm - ESPN
Norwich v Southampton 3pm
QPR v Sunderland 3pm
Reading v Aston Villa 3pm
West Brom v Swansea 3pm
FA Cup quarter-finals
Millwall v Blackburn 2pm - ESPN
Manchester United v Chelsea 4.30pm - ITV1
Newcastle v Stoke 3pm
Liverpool v Tottenham 4pm - Sky Sports
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea and Manchester United are drawn together for the 11th occasion in the FA Cup. United have won eight with the Blues winning just two including the most recent at Wembley in 2007.
Chelsea have only beaten Man United twice in the FA Cup, and on neither occasion did victory come at Old Trafford. On Saturday 4 March 1950, Stamford Bridge hosted 70,362 - the biggest crowd of the season on the Fulham Road (the average was just under 65,000) - witnessed a 'bubbling schoolboy brand of spirit, pace and the style that had Manchester United beaten' from a dynamic Chelsea team.
This was a much-anticipated sixth round match-up (pictured below) between the league leaders and Billy Birrell's 10th-placed side and the Pensioners were fired up. A six-minute frenzy from the off punctured the visitors' resistance at the back, with Bobby Campbell, Billy Gray and Hugh Billington the elegant orchestrators.
At the end of the spell Campbell burst into the box and directed a bouncing shot towards goal. The United goalkeeper misjudged his dive horribly and the ball scrambled into the net off his shoulder.
Today the video clip would be endlessly reshown (just ask David De Gea). Even then the United keeper lay prone for some time, betraying a dismay that seemed further to permeate the rest of his teammates too.
The new Chelsea spirit under Birrell extended to the destructive side, with Ken Armstrong and the Aussie Frank Mitchell feisty and energetic in midfield, knocking United out of their stride.
Having weathered a second half rally from Busby's men Chelsea delivered the coup de grace. Billy Gray cleverly deceived the United defence with a back-heel and Roy Bentley hit what some believe was his finest shot, a low left-footer from 22 yards drilled through a narrow gap past John Crompton.
'I've got my fingers crossed,' said the Pensioners' Johnny Harris afterwards, 'but I can't see any team stopping us from getting to Wembley the way our boys are playing.' It was not to be, but when Chelsea did eventually get the better of United in this competition again, it was at Wembley itself.
The FA Cup in 2006/07 was the first to be staged at the newly rebuilt Wembley. LikeTuesday night in the Champions League José Mourinho overcame his managerial rival Sir Alex Ferguson. With five minutes of extra time remaining the two heavyweight rivals could not be separated. Then Didier Drogba intervened, as he always did at Wembley. It took a clever return pass from Frank Lampard and an even cuter finish to decide where the trophy would end up.
Of course the Blues' 1969/70 FA Cup triumph over Leeds was achieved in a replay at Old Trafford, with Chelsea fans occupying the Stretford End. Leeds took the lead on the night but Peter Osgood's diving header levelled things up and David Webb's extra-time goal brought the trophy to Stamford Bridge for the first time.
Having previously enjoyed a remarkable record at United's home over the years, we have lost six of our last eight matches at Old Trafford, including the last three. Our only win in that time was during the Double season when we won 2-1 with goals from Joe Cole and Didier Drogba.
|Chelsea v Manchester United in the FA Cup|
|1907/08||Second round||Bank Street||United won 1-0|
|1949/50||Quarter-final||Stamford Bridge||Chelsea won 2-0|
|1962/63||Fifth round||Old Trafford||United won 2-1|
|1978/79||Third round||Old Trafford||United won 3-0|
|1987/88||Fourth round||Old Trafford||United won 2-0|
|1993/94||Final||Wembley||United won 4-0|
|1995/96||Semi-final||Villa Park||United won 2-1|
|1997/98||Third round||Stamford Bridge||United won 5-3|
|1998/99||Quarter-final||Old Trafford||Drew 0-0|
|1998/99||Quarter-final replay||Stamford Bridge||United won 2-0|
|2006/07||Final||Wembley||Chelsea won 1-0 aet|
Other cup meetings
|1970/71||Fourth round||Old Trafford||United won 2-1|
|2002/03||Quarter-final||Old Trafford||United won 1-0|
|2004/05||Semi-final 1st leg||Stamford Bridge||Drew 0-0|
|2004/05||Semi-final 2nd leg||Old Trafford||Chelsea won 2-1|
|UEFA Champions League|
|2007/08||Final||Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow||Drew 1-1 - United won 6-5 on pens aet|
|2010/11||Quarter-final 1st leg||Stamford Bridge||United won 1-0|
|2010/11||Quarter-final 2nd leg||Old Trafford||United won 2-1|
Chelsea v Manchester United in all competitions
Games played 165
Chelsea wins 45
United wins 72
Biggest win at Man Utd for each team
Man Utd 6-0 Chelsea - 26/12/1960 - old Division One
Man Utd 0-4 Chelsea - 24/08/1968 - old Division One
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.