5 Talking points from Manchester United’s FA Cup defeat to Chelsea

Match Report

Chelsea defeat Manchester United 1-0 to advance to FA Cup Semi-Final.

Chelsea defeated Man Utd 1-0 to enter the semi- final of the FA Cup. Kante scored the only goal in what was a well matched contest until Herrera was given his marching orders after a second yellow card. His scintillating effort from outside the box was the one that decided the course of the match.

It was surprising to see United play with a high urgency in the beginning of the match, playing with a highly pressing style which is a rare sight under Mourinho. The match was on its way to become a classic, however Michael Oliver, the referee, had other ideas as he sent off Herrera, the booking looking harsh for his challenge on Hazard. United players were visibly targeting Hazard with some rash challenges, and Oliver had just warned United captain Smalling that the next player to foul him would be booked. The sending off made the contest pretty one- sided, before Kante’s goal after the break apparently killed off the contest. The United players were being dominated and struggled to get out of their own half as Chelsea looked to put the game to bed. There was a brief moment of resurgence for the United attack, as Luiz was on fault for letting Rashford run away with the ball and beating Cahill before his left- footed shot was parried away by Courtois. Chelsea threatened United many a times, but thanks to a resistant United defence couldn’t score some more goals, and the game wasn’t really over until the final whistle. The defeat heaped further misery on Mourinho and his men, who were well beaten at Stamford Bridge for the second time this campaign.

Here are the major talking points from Man Utd’s defeat at Stamford Bridge

Move over Mourinho, Conte is the new Special One

It was another disappointing night for Mourinho, who has now lost twice on his return to his former club. Conte already looks unbeatable, at least in England, and Mourinho couldn’t match his tactics at all. History tells us that any manager who defeats Mourinho twice in a row is definitely world class (Yeah, Pep!), and it remains to be seen how his team responds in the home match against Chelsea next month.

3-4-3 is the new formation in trend

For the second match in a row, Manchester United lined up with three central defenders and two wing backs, albeit they lined up with two central midfielders this time around. Mourinho tried to match Conte’s high flying Chelsea toe to toe, and it was a good decision particularly because United were missing their best attackers Martial, Rooney (both injured) and Ibrahimovic (suspended). It looks to be a good backup formation for any similar situations in the future.

Red Card changed the game

In the first half, Herrera was sent off with a double booking, after a silly challenge on Hazard. The second yellow did look a bit harsh, and the decision then killed off the contest. Earlier, United looked dangerous and even went close on a few occasions, but after the sending off the story became pretty monotonous- Chelsea drilling shots at the United goal and United sitting back, waiting for a rare opportunity of a Rashford counter attack. It was, however, a surprise that Chelsea didn’t score any more goals, which was largely due to a resistant United defence.

Kante loves scoring against Manchester United

N’Golo Kante scored the only goal of the night. Kante, who won the battle of the midfield against his fellow French compatriot Pogba, is not very well known for his shooting, but he now has two goals in as many games against United this season. His effort from long range was splendid, and beat De Gea on his strong right side. He has once again proved that he is a strong candidate for the PFA Best Player Award.

Pogba needs to be dropped

It might sound improbable that Mourinho would drop his world record buy, but that is clearly what needs to be done at the moment. He has time and again disappointed in the big games, and was dreadful for the second game running. Nothing came off for him, and he was overrun in the midfield by Matic and Kante. Mourinho needs to give a stern statement by dropping the ‘Untouchable’ Pogba, and should consider playing Carrick, Schweinsteiger or even Fellaini in his place. That looks to be the only way to motivate him to prove himself to the United faithful.