LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri checks his watch during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 18, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Some say the FA Cup had lost its spark in recent years. However, no one told the fans at Stamford Bridge as they produced an incredible atmosphere. Both teams find themselves at a crossroads in their respective seasons. While the FA Cup isn’t paramount to either of these clubs, a loss here would have been a setback nonetheless.

Lifeless Chelsea Brushed Aside By Manchester United

Early Action

The game started at a high pace with strong tackles flying in, just as you would expect from this modern day rivalry. The first piece of action involved Ander Herrera, catching Mateo Kovacic in the face on the edge of the box.  to a David Luiz free-kick which dipped and was well saved by the backup keeper Sergio Romero. The save landed at Pedro’s feet who struck it well but that too was saved excellently by the Argentinian.

Battle of the Midfield

 

Much has been made of Chelsea’s midfield this year but a fascinating battle broke out in this particular game. Juan Mata was seemingly posed with the task of stopping Jorginho playing, whilst Paul Pogba played in a more advanced role.

 

It seemed to be a case of whichever midfield could outwork each other would come out on top. United’s midfield did that in the first half and looked sharper as two of their midfield three scored before half-time.

It was the same old problem for Chelsea’s usual midfield three, neither player threatening the United goal or even creating many clear cut chances. It is a problem that continues to raise its ugly head as Chelsea really lack that goalscoring midfielder that they so desperately crave. Pogba’s performance really showed what Chelsea are missing.

Herrera and Pogba Strike

The deadlock was broken after the half hour mark as Pogba continued his good form with a searching ball to the back post. Herrera applied the finish from five yards as Marcos Alonso had lost his man, losing track of the runner as he was distracted by Marcus Rashford’s run.

The second was a quick break from a throw in, but United showed their pace on the counter. Rashford was set through and played a curling ball which was met by the powerful head of Pogba as Chelsea’s defence was caught cold.

In the second half, United sat off but showed their organisation as Chelsea struggled to create any real chances. Whilst Chelsea hadn’t played badly, United restricted Chelsea to so few chances.

What Does This Mean For Sarri?

 

Of course, Chelsea are under pressure right now. Whether you’re a fan of Sarri or not, you have to admit the manager is incredibly stubborn in his approach, playing the same system was easily counteracted again here by Solskjaer. The substitutions were like for like and made no impact.

On the other hand, United were organised and determined and perhaps put their best performance in of the season so far. A real team performance in which they completely stopped Chelsea playing.

Their star man again was the World Cup winner Paul Pogba. He is currently in his best patch of form in a United shirt, earning another goal and an assist, meaning he’s been involved in 15 goals in his last 12 appearances. United power on in the cup as Chelsea head into the Carabao Cup final on Sunday in a state of crisis. United were too good on the night and deservedly went through.

Main Photo

 

Embed from Getty Images

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