Full Time: Chelsea vs Manchester United 1-2
Manchester United conquer Stamford Bridge as a Marcus Rashford wonder-goal sees the reds win their third game in a row.
Manchester United In Control
The first half saw Manchester United in complete control. Prior to Ole’s appointment, Manchester United hadn’t won at Stamford Bridge since 2012. Since then, under the Norwegian, we have beat them twice. Away at Chelsea is never an easy tie, but we looked comfortable.
Ole set up his boys in a 3-5-2, a formation that gives us security at the back with the back three. Personally I had no problem with Ole setting up ‘conservatively’ n the first half. However, rarely in the first half was Romero called upon to make a save, which was down to us playing a high line and most of the first period being played in their half.Embed from Getty Images
Our high line meant that that the wing backs Williams and Wan-Bissaka, who both had equally brilliant performances, could stand in line with Fred and McTominay in Midfield. Our press put Chelsea’s midfield under immense pressure which resulted in Daniel James picking up the ball and driving at their defence, only for Marcos Alonso to take him down for a clear penalty.
Penalties may have been the bane of our result against Norwich, however, cool as you like Marcus Rashford slotted away the penalty for 1-0 Manchester United. The reds went in at halftime in charge.
This Is Rashford’s World, We’re Just Living In It…Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea came out the blocks at a fierce pace in the second half. As they really should have as the home side. They created all the chances for the first 10-15 minutes of the half and it seemed like United’s second-half syndrome was kicking in.
A long ball, as a result of our pressing, ended up causing us a problem. Harry #Maguire was dominant from minute 1 to 90, winning everything in the air. But, one moment of poor decision making saw him get beat in the air by Michy Batshuayi, who managed to dislodge our whole back three and score an amazing goal.
Here is where I believe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deserves credit. Moments after the goal he realised we were on the back foot and made a change. The Norweigian switched from a back 3 to a flat back 4 and took off Lindelof for Anthony Martial. The change meant that we were immediately going for it, and trying to cause problems in their half again rather than sitting back.
As a result of the tactical change and Andreas Pereira coming on also meant we were in a 4-3-3 going forward. Next thing you know, Fred picks up the ball from deep and is taken down by Pedro. What happened next will be shown for generations to come. 40 odd yards away from goal. A central free-kick so there was no manipulating angles or catching the wind. The finest free-kick I have ever been made witness to, flys over the wall and into the back of the net. ‘Willy Caballero pick that one out’.
My personal man of the match was indeed Marcus Rashford, if not for the performance for the goal alone, absolute history we have witnessed before our very eyes. Manchester United are now through to the next round of the cup.