Chelsea have had a very up and down season, but they've generally looked very good during their four matchups (thus far) with Manchester United this season. While Chelsea won't be finishing ahead of United in the Premier League this season, they have now eliminated them from both domestic cups after winning 1-0 on the first day of April. We'll have a full recap of the game up later, but here are some initial thoughts as Chelsea ensure they'll be heading to Wembley:
- It's hard to see the lineup that Rafa selected today for Manchester United and not be excited for the game, but the poor process that led to bottling a Premier League game so that we could put this squad out today worries me. Even last year, you could see that the FA Cup was not a priority over the Premier League at the quarterfinal stage. Good results are always better than poor ones, but good results stemming from a poor process are worrying. Someone from the front office needs to sit down with Benitez and make it very clear that the Champions League is the absolute priority here, and that another lineup like Saturday's in a Premier League game will lead to his immediate dismissal.
- With both Rio Ferdinand and Nani on the pitch at the same time, it's tough to choose who the least likable United player is, isn't it? The fact that a guy like Patrice Evra would be on the fringes of that discussion really speaks volumes.
- The Ashley Cole injury is very worrying. Ryan Bertrand hasn't looked the greatest recently, and I'm not really sure who the backup will be at the moment. Nathan Ake, Paulo Ferreira, and David Luiz are probably capable of playing left back in a pinch, but other than that, there's really not a whole lot backing up Ryan Bertrand. Get well soon Ash.
- I can't even describe how sensational that finish from Demba Ba was. Juan Mata delivered a sensational ball, and that will be absolutely lost because of the ridiculous finish to put the ball into the net.
- Juan Mata looked like a guy that had been suffering from the flu lately, didn't he? This is one of the first games which I can remember him just looking off, and he still managed to add yet another assist to his tally.
- I'm really hoping that Rafa rotates the squad fairly heavily for Thursday. Minus the Bertrand for Cole switch, all of the subs were late enough that they did little but waste time, and we really need to as much as we can to assure three points this coming weekend.
- The win assures that Tottenham at home will need to be re-scheduled for our trip to Wembley. Now let's just hope that they drop some points between now and whenever we end up playing them.