Chelsea will play Arsenal in the FA Cup final after the Londoners booked their place with a dominant 3-1 victory against in-form Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
The Blues were the better side throughout the vast majority and took the lead at the end of the first-half. Playing an extra 13 minutes due to a serious injury to Eric Bailly, they went ahead thanks to Olivier Giroud’s deft finish. After scoring in the final moments of the first period, the advantage was extended extremely quickly after the restart, with a David De Gea howler allowing Mason Mount to score. An own goal from Harry Maguire within the final 15 minutes made the deficit insurmountable for United despite Bruno Fernandes scoring late on from the penalty spot as United now focus fully on the race for the Premier League top four.
Chelsea dominate from the off
Chelsea dominated the majority of the first-half and had good opportunities to lay down a marker early in the clash. Defender Reece James set his sights from range, forcing David De Gea to punch clear before Marcos Alonso lifted a header over the bar from only a few yards out.
Kurt Zouma really should have done better too by getting on the end of Mason Mount’s dangerous ball into the box but put his header off target.
Away from the opportunities, the Red Devils were unfortunately dealt a defensive injury blow in the first period, with Bailly having to be withdrawn after a nasty head collision with Red Devils skipper Harry Maguire.
Giroud the man again
Following that injury and the time it took to treat the Ivorian, a considerable amount of time was added on to the end of the first-half and Chelsea made the most of it. Cesar Azpilicueta found space down the right and produced a dangerous, low ball into the Manchester United area. Giroud, who had already scored three winning strikes since the restart, had managed to get beyond Victor Lindelof and despite De Gea getting a glove to his clever outside-of-the-boot finish, the Frenchman’s shot dribbled over the line.
Just a minute after the restart, Chelsea extended their lead through Mount. Picking up the ball 30 yards from goal, the midfielder dribbled towards goal and struck a low shot from outside of the area. It seemed as though De Gea was collecting comfortably but the Spaniard allowed the ball to fumble through his arms and into the net.
He did go some way to making up for that error as Giroud almost put the game beyond United with a third but a great, leaping stop halted the Frenchman’s snapshot from Alonso’s center.
Maguire own goal puts result beyond doubt
Chelsea’s place in the final was secured with 15 minutes of the match left to play. Alonso, who was effective down the left flank all afternoon, produced another teasing cross into the box towards the advanced Antonio Rudiger. The presence of the German appeared to unsettle Red Devils skipper Maguire as the ball deflected off of his toe and into the net.
There was enough time left for United to at least get on the scoresheet. Substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi fouled Anthony Martial in the box, with referee Mike Dean pointing to the spot. Fernandes claimed the ball and used his trademark technique to score and continue his excellent record since arriving at Old Trafford. The goal gave them encouragement but nothing more than that as at the final whistle, Chelsea’s place in the final was confirmed.
This really was a dominant showing from Chelsea. Considering they are a young side, Frank Lampard’s men really put in a professional performance, threatening their opponents and limiting them to very few chances. Should they earn a place in the top four and win the FA Cup against Arsenal, the campaign will be considered as extremely successful.
Manchester United: De Gea (4); Lindelof (5), Bailly (6) (Martial (5), 45+2′), Maguire (5); Williams (5), Matic (6), Fred (5) (Pogba (5), 56′), Wan-Bissaka (6) (Fosu-Mensah (N/A), 79′); Fernandes (6), D. James (5) (Greenwood (6), 56′), Rashford (5) (Ighalo (N/A), 79′).
Chelsea: Caballero (6); Rudiger (6), Zouma (6), Azpilicueta (7); Alonso (7), Kovacic (7) (Loftus-Cheek (N/A), 86′), Jorginho (6), R. James (6); Mount (7), Willian (7) (Hudson-Odoi (N/A), 80′), Giroud (8) (Abraham (N/A), 80′).
Goals: Giroud (45+11′), Mount (47′), Maguire OG (74′), Fernandes PEN (85′)
Referee: Mike Dean
Yellow Cards: Pogba (71′)
Red Cards: N/A
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