Manchester United vs Chelsea FA Cup Final Match Analysis

Manchester United vs Chelsea FA Cup Final Post Match Analysis

Image from the Independant

It was a truly disappointing performance from both sides as Chelsea won the FA Cup this afternoon. It was a game of few chances and a 23th minute penalty saw the Blues give United the blues as they end the season trophyless. 

United made eight changes to the 1-0 home victory over Watford with Alexis, Rashford and Young being the only survivors from the dismal last Premier League game, with Rojo, Bailly, Darmian, McTominay, Carrick, Mata and Blind all out for first team regulars, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Matic, Herrera, Pogba and Lingard. Chelsea kept the same side which beat Liverpool 1-0 in a similarly poor match. For United, it was frustrating not to see both Lukaku and Bailly not starting the game as they have been excellent this season and given Rashford's immaturity in the last few games, many United fans were begging for the big Belgian to start. 

Image from the Independant
The match started in Chelsea's favour with the Blues earning the majority of the possession. They had an early chance when Hazard galloped forwards with ease and wriggled past United's defenders before forcing a strong save from the foot of De Gea. United tried to create chances but nothing really materialised with half the side coming short for the ball and no one making good runs or if they did, they were not picked out. When United did get the ball in wide areas with either Young or Valencia, they crossed the ball straight to Cahill, Rudiger or Courtois who dealt with the deliveries with ease. After penalty appeals for both sides were turned down by the referee, Chelsea was awarded a stonewall penalty. Fabregas played Hazard down the left wing and his touch took him past Jones with ease as the England international was poorly positioned and when attempting to catch up with Hazard, Jones brought him down in attempting to block the shot. Jones was booked and only booked due to the double jeopardy rule, Hazard placed the ball and sent De Gea the wrong way to put Chelsea ahead in what would be the winning goal. United pressed for an equalising goal but to no avail with their shoddy passing and decision making, it seemed that United needed Lukaku on the pitch to achieve any decent attacking play. In the last few minutes of the half, United spurned two big chances with Jones heading wide from the back post and Rashford's scuffed shot easy to deal with. Summed up both their forms of late and United's today. 

Image from the Independant
The second half was substantially better than the first with United having some sort of intent to score. Rashford forced a couple of good saves from Courtois and looked more positive than the previous 45 minutes. United kept pressing and found the back of the net after Jones' header was saved brilliantly by Courtois and although Sanchez put the ball in the net, it was rightly ruled offside and VAR was used to confirm the decision. Chelsea could have put the game to bed but Alonso's six yard effort was straight at De Gea. Rashford spurned another chance with eighteen minutes to go as he failed to lift the ball over Courtois successfully and wasted another valuable effort and would be his final act of the season for United as he was subbed off for Lukaku along with Lingard coming off for Martial. United kept pressing for an equalising goal and Matic forced a decent save from Courtois with a cracking effort about thirty yards out. Minutes later, United created an even better effort after Pogba missed with a free header from a corner. The final effort came in the 93rd minute in which Matic also headed wide and thus settled the result. 

This game truly summed up United's worst moments of the season such as the Sevilla, Bristol City or Brighton games in which the Red Devils found it difficult to equalise and impact the game with fluid attacking football. Their play was hampered by sloppy passing, no forward runs and every attacking player coming short for the ball. This game shows that there need to be changes to United as their midfield desperately needs better passers and the whole squad needs a leadership checkup. This was a real eye opener and should impact Jose's decisions in the summer. 

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