The early match for Monday saw the FA Cup Quarterfinal replay between Chelsea and Manchester United. Both teams had less than 48 hours to rest up before the game making it a very interesting prospect in terms of how the game would be played. United are currently sitting first in the Premier League table with Chelsea dropping to third following their defeat to Southampton over the weekend.
The first half was mostly played in midfield. Both teams took while to really get going and I don’t think there were any shots taken in the first 20 minutes. Chelsea did finally get into the game and finished the half with 8 shots (5 on goal). This compared to United’s 2 shots with Javier Hernandez forcing the only save from Petr Cech off a long range dipping effort.
The two teams went into the break level at 0-0 and neither team looking better than the other. Oscar, Hazard and Mata did a good job of linking up towards the last 10 minutes and created some decent chances. For United, Nani did not look up for it while at times Hernandez seemed alone up front with no real link between him and the midfield. Welbeck did provide some good runs, but the midfield was controlled well by Chelsea.
The second half started out with United getting a free kick that was poorly taken by Nani. This was soon followed up by Demba Ba getting in behind the United defense and getting the opening goal of the match in the 50th minute. Chelsea were certainly the better team throughout the second half. They frustrated United in defense and opened up United’s back line several times.
After going 1-0 down United were chasing the game and seemed to always be stretched on defense and too slow and unimaginative on offense. They couldn’t get their forwards involved and managed only 1 decent chance inside the box when Hernandez had his header spectacularly saved by Cech. United have again shown that they are not able to break through a pressing team, even if the pressing was only coming in the Chelsea half. They were poor throughout the entirety of the match with simple mistakes being made all game long, especially in their passing and inability to get in to the box.
For Chelsea this was a massive win and should be a big boost for them. They looked threatening every time they went forward in the second half. Their speed on the counter was something that United was barely able to cope with. The goal was certainly a fantastically taken one by Ba, but the win was deserved for the Blues of London.
Chelsea will now go on to face Manchester City in the FA Cup Semi-final being played Sunday, April 14 at 11:00 am ET (4:00 pm GMT).
Chelsea 1 – 0 Manchester United
FA Cup Video Highlights:
Ba opening goal: