Both sides made enough changes from their midweek matches to underline the relative unimportance of this match when compared to the neck-to-neck top-four battle — though Leicester City’s loss just before kick-off makes both teams’ job easier. (Thanks, Jose!)
Given the changes, the somewhat slow burn to the start of the game was understandable, but Chelsea were first to settle and take control. A couple headed chances from Alonso and Zouma went begging, before Eric Bailly’s head injury forced a nearly 10-minute delay.
But before the half-time whistle, there was still time for Giroud to pop up with a customary goal, finishing at the near post from an Azpilicueta cross in the 11th minute of first-half added-on time!
Just a few moments into the second half, Mason Mount doubled Chelsea’s lead, with a helping hand (or lack thereof) from David De Gea, who let a rather innocuous long shot go right through him.
United rang the changes and put on some of their big guns, but it was Chelsea who wasted a couple excellent chances to increase our lead. Some poor set piece defending led to Maguire missing an open net on a corner header, but Chelsea looked comfortable for the most part.
And in fact, it would be the Blues to grab the next goal in the game and put it to bed, with Rudiger forcing an own goal from Maguire in the second phase of a corner.
Three goals, as required by contractual obligations. A late penalty, converted duly by Bruno Fernandes was nothing more than consolation for well-beaten United.
On to the final, where Arsenal await.
- Just three changes from Tuesday, including goalkeeper, but also a change of tactical system, with the return of the back three and wingbacks.
- Chelsea stuck with the 3-4-3 for the whole game, even after United, who also started with a back-three, switched to a 4-2-3-1 just before half-time.
- First United defeat in 20 games. Fist Chelsea win over United since the 2018 FA Cup final.
- How many subs do we need to allow to take concussion seriously and implement a proper concussion protocol? Hopefully Eric Bailly is okay; but he should have never been allowed to return so quickly after the first clash of heads (v. Zouma), making the second clash of heads within just as many minutes (v. Maguire) even more dangerous than usual.
- Next up: Liverpool, away, on Wednesday, their official title coronation
- The FA Cup final will be on Saturday, August 1, at Wembley.