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Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea, FA Cup semifinal: Statistical review and analysis

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The numbers behind the game

FBL-ENG-FACUP-MAN UTD-CHELSEA Photo by ANDY RAIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Third Fourth time lucky.

Overview

To say that Chelsea played United off the park would be an understatement. Chelsea nullified United’s main player, Bruno Fernandes, and the rest of the team collapsed around him.

Weirdly, there were not many show-stopping performances we’d be used to seeing in big games like these. Rather, this was the whole team coming together to all contribute their parts towards a big result.

Chelsea started the game on the front foot but momentum kept stalling by United falling down at every possible contact. This is annoying to watch, for obvious reasons, but was an effective strategy, temporarily.

Chelsea did have a couple of good chances before scoring the opener. Most notably, Azpilicueta’s cross to Marcos Alonso was reminiscent of the patterns employed in 2017-18 but surprisingly wasn’t converted. United were forced to shift from a three man defence due to Bailly’s injury and that is perhaps where the match turned.

Olivier “FA Cup Lewandowski” Giroud got in between Lindelöf and Maguire to score the opener after some great work from Azpilicueta. Mason Mount capitalized on stray passing and some ... questionable ... goalkeeping to score the second. The game was broadly played in first gear after that and Maguire was kind enough to score an own goal to cement proceedings.

A clumsy foul from Hudson-Odoi late in the game spoiled the clean sheet and made the scoreline flattering for United. Regardless, an excellent performance and an even better result for Lampard and his men.


Match statistics

Stats from wyscout, whoscored and sofascore.

Notes:

  • The own goal diminishes Chelsea’s overall xG tally while United’s tally is inflated by the penalty.T
  • The sheer number of fouls we committed were no doubt aided by the way United play, but even accounting for that, the team showed a battling, nasty streak. More of this please!

Individual ratings

Manchester United v Chelsea - FA Cup: Semi Final Photo by Andy Rain/Pool via Getty Images

Frank Lampard

Got his tactical setup spot on in a way few managers have done against Manchester United recently. Lampard now has wins against each of the “big six” clubs while also outclassing Leicester and Wolves.

From a team selection perspective, the starting eleven picked themselves after Pulisic’s rest/injury. It will now be interesting to see if Lampard sticks with this system and if he does, where Pulisic plays.

RATING: 9


Willy Caballero

Was not tested often and as a result did not have to bail the team out. Could have done better from set-pieces, with Maguire getting on the end of two reasonably good chances

RATING: 6.5


Reece James

A very mature performance from Reece, especially from a defensive perspective. Played a very big part in pinning United down when Chelsea had the ball, too; his overlapping runs and interchanges with Willian and Azpilicueta particularly important.

Stats of note:
2 fouls won - Joint 1st
4 fouls made - Joint 1st
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd
2 tackles - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7.5


Manchester United v Chelsea - FA Cup: Semi Final Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

César Azpilicueta

Yet another monster performance at both ends. His tendency to overlap from the right centre-back spot could not be stopped by United and he got yet another assist to continue his recent productive streak. He was solid as usual defensively. Is it a stretch to say he could well be our player of the season? It certainly wouldn’t be undeserved.

Stats of note:
1 assist
3 tackles - 1st
2 key passes - Joint 1st
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd

RATING: 8


Kurt Zouma

Did a solid job aerially and kept the ball moving reasonably well. United’s tactics meant he was not challenged greatly, but he was solid when called into action except for one moment of miscommunication between him and Antonio Rüdiger.

Stats of note:
3 aerial duels won (out of 3) - 2nd

RATING: 7


Antonio Rüdiger

Like Zouma, Rudiger was not called into action often but did an excellent job of defending the channels against longer passes. His aerial ability was not needed.

Stats of note:
2 tackles - Joint 2nd
3 fouls - Joint 2nd
1 foul won - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Marcos Alonso

A solid display in his best position. His aerial ability was made full use of by long balls to the flanks. Contributed plenty going forward too.

Stats of note:
3 aerial duels won (out of 3) - Joint 2nd
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


FBL-ENG-FACUP-MAN UTD-CHELSEA Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Jorginho

A good display to stop his run of poor form. He was asked to keep it as simple as he could and he did a good job of that. The presence of Mateo Kovačić next to him and three defenders behind him reduced his burden in terms of ball progression and defending, respectively.

Stats of note:
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd
1 blocked shot - 1st

RATING: 7


Mateo Kovačić

A terrific exhibition of ball-retention and progression from Kovačić. Chelsea players looked to him every time we needed to get out of pressure and he did not let them down. Did well in terms of committing tactical fouls and drawing a few, too.

Stats of note:
4 fouls committed - Joint 1st
2 fouls drawn - Joint 1st
3 interceptions - 1st
4 dribbles completed (out of 4) - 1st

RATING: 8


Manchester United v Chelsea - FA Cup: Semi Final Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Getty Images

Mason Mount

The inside forward (or the wide number 10, depending on your perspective) spot appears to fit Mount to a tee. This game maintained his streak of great displays in that position: twice against Spurs and once against Wolves. His goal was fortuitous and yet deserved at the same time, such was his performance level at Wembley as well as over the past few weeks.

While basic stats do not fully describe his performance, just as they haven’t done over the course of the season, Mount’s developing into an accomplished player already.

Stats of note:
1 goal
3 dribbles completed (out of 3) - Joint 2nd
2 fouls made - 3rd

RATING: 8


Willian

A typically industrious performance, showing why Lampard has seemingly blind trust in him. This was his ninth start in less than a month but that was not noticeable on his work-rate.

Stats of note:
2 key passes - Joint 1st
2 tackles - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Manchester United v Chelsea - FA Cup: Semi Final Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Getty Images

Olivier Giroud

A strong target man showing from arguably the best target man in the business. Went at Maguire from the first minute and took on three United centre backs by himself. His movement in the box was thoroughly excellent too, as evidenced by his goal. His involvement in open play shouldn’t go unnoticed either.

Despite all the excitement around possible new signings, Giroud could yet play a vital role next season as well.

Stats of note:
1 goal
6 aerial duels won (out of 11) - 1st
3 fouls made - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7.5


Substitutes

Tammy Abraham: Was brought on to see the game out. Showed some nice feet to create a good chance for Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Callum Hudson-Odoi: Conceded a stupid penalty while trying to defend Martial in the box. It did not matter in the scheme of things and it was nice to see defensive intent from him. Going forward, he still gives the impression he does not fully trust his body despite his dribble to get off a shot late in the game.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek: Was introduced in place of Kovacic and produced a classic moment by sitting down Pogba.

Pedro: Did not do much of note.