Manchester United vs Chelsea Match Analysis

David Ge Gea
David De Gea produced an error-strewn display as United were defeated by Chelsea in the FA Cup Semi Final. Source: Getty Images

Manchester United produced an abject display to crash out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage after being soundly beaten by Chelsea 3-1. Both sides had made changes from their midweek matches as Ole dropped Fosu-Mensah, Martial, Pogba and Greenwood to the bench and brought in James, Williams, Matic and Fred. You could see what Solskjaer’s logic was given the previous successes we have had against Chelsea after beating them three times already this season both in the league and the Carabao Cup. 


The team needed to be rotated after the amount of games played recently but for whatever reason it did not work. He did make changes in the game after we started with a 3-5-2 formation to a 4-3-3 but United could not muster the energy to get at the opposition defence. 


The loss also highlights the lack of the depth in the squad and the need to probably bring in at least three players during the summer transfer window. The game also brought into focus our goalkeeper David De Gea who made a number of errors and raises the question whether Dean Henderson is now right to take over as the number one at United.

First Half

The game started off slowly as both sides looked to settle into a rhythm and it was Chelsea who took control as they pressed us right back into our own half. The opposition had an early attempt as Reece James’s powerful shot was parried away by De Gea. Chelsea had a couple of more chances at United’s goal through Alonso and Zouma. United looked sluggish as passes went astray, possession lost, and Rashford and James were not able to get into the game.


Bruno Fernandes was constantly being marked by the opposition and thus was not able to have as much influence on the game as he had in other matches. Just before half-time, an injury to defender Eric Bailly resulted in him being stretched off after clashing heads with captain Harry Maguire. 


Martial was brought on to replace him as Ole switched the formation to a 4-3-3 which had worked so well in previous games since United resumed the season. United were affected by the injury and were not able to get into any rhythm after switching formation as Chelsea went into the lead as Olivier Giroud got in front of Victor Lindelof in the the six yard box to score at the near post. It was a blow for United but we were no means out of the tie as Ole got them inside for the half-time team talk.

Second Half

Ole sent the side back out for five minutes earlier than Chelsea and had been hoping United would be fired up the second half. Just a minute into the second half, a stray pass by Brandon Williams which was picked by the opposition’s Mason Mount who started to run at Maguire and Lindelof before taking a shot at the goal which De Gea had let slip through his hands into the goal to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead.


I can forgive Brandon Williams for his mistake with the stray pass as he is young and still gaining experience of being in the first team. What I did not like was the fact that neither Maguire or Lindelof tried to close down Mount before he got his shot away. As for De Gea, well he has been making too many errors this season that have cost us and if Roy Keane was angry at his performance back in the first game against Tottenham when the season resumes, then Keane would have flipped his lid if he had been the pundit in the studio and would have probably said he would not allow De Gea back in the dressing room after the errors he made today.


United did make changes to the side as both Fred and James came off for Pogba and Greenwood as Ole went chasing the game. The performance of the team did not improve as we struggled to penetrate the Chelsea defence. There was an opportunity for the captain Harry Maguire to score when his header went wide from a corner.


As we looked to get ourselves back in the game, Chelsea went and scored their third goal to put the tie out of United’s reach and end our chances of reaching a 21st FA Cup Final. It was a low cross across the six yard box from the opposition’s Marcos Alonso with Antonio Rudiger forcing Harry Maguire to put the ball into his own net.


United did get a consolation goal after Anthony Martial was fouled in the box by Callum Hudson-Odoi and the penalty was duly converted by Bruno Fernandes. Second half, the defence and the goalkeeper De Gea just had a nightmare. The introduction of Pogba and Greenwood failed to ignite a response from the team. Rashford and Martial were not getting hardly any service and so could not really test the opposition’s goalkeeper. Daniel James was ineffective today and did not have any influence on the game.

Overall Conclusion

We had gone into the semi-final with so much optimism given the long unbeaten run we had been on since the defeat in the league to Burnley back in January. Though I had expected Ole to make changes to give players a rest as he thought about getting United back into the top four in the league, I did not expect such an awful performance from the team. It almost seems the amount of games we have played recently has caught up with us as before this game, the previous two we had started slowly but found our way into the game but today it was not to be.


You could argue that Chelsea had extra 48 hours of preparation time as United had only just played on Thursday night against Crystal Palace in the league and most of the starting team played the full 90. But this had all come down to an error-strewn display from David De Gea. The goalkeeper that had won United’s player of season three times in a row and at points throughout the years produced outstanding saves to not only keep United in the game but secure the win as well.


To see this performance from De Gea is very alarming and you would not think it would have been possible even a couple of years ago. The errors he made today saw his fellow teammates' confidence in him rapidly deteriorate. This led to nervousness in the defence as they looked panicked every time the opposition attacked us.


However, this season De Gea has made a number of unforced errors that have gifted the opposition’s goals and a decision will need to be made by Ole in the summer whether to give him another chance. Dean Henderson, who is currently on loan at Sheffield United is knocking on the door to become the number one and has clearly stated he wants that position when he comes back to United. De Gea, who has reigned between the sticks for so long that maybe he needs a rest and that Sergio Romero should be in goal for the last two games of the season.


It was a day to forget for Ole and the players. We will need to bounce back to straight away on Wednesday against West Ham. With Leicester being beaten by Tottenham today, it has opened the opportunity for United to secure Champions League qualification in the final two games of the season. I believe we have enough in our squad to do this.


Comments

  1. De Gea is rightly getting pelted for his shocking errors, but I have seldom seen a top side make so many sloppy unforced errors. Maguire was awful. Really untidy, lazy and just not good enough.

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