Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea: Derby in London ready for FA Cup final, while the blues dominate against Arsenal
The only consolation for David De Gea was that Roy Keane doesn’t work for the BBC.
Good heavens, there would have been some growling if he’d been in the studio. Chelsea are in the FA Cup final, and with good reason, but the conversation here was the role in their progression played by Manchester United goalkeeper.
He was weak for their first, but was not alone in that; it was poorly defensive around Manchester United. But while there was also a serious mistake leading up to the second, De Gea’s involvement was nothing short of disastrous. As for the third, well, then it really wasn’t his day; struck again on the nearest pole, but this time through the sprawling boot of his captain, Harry Maguire. De Gea had a stink; but he was not alone.
Chelsea will face Arsenal in the FA Cup final after beating Manchester United with a dominant display on Sunday evening
Blues striker Olivier Giroud opened the score with a quick effort as Chelsea checked their rivals in the semi-finals
David de Gea suffered another roar, with the out-of-form keeper caught by Mason Mount’s long-distance effort
But what a day for Frank Lampard and Chelsea. One more victory away from a trophy in his first year as Chelsea manager. Not the kind that keeps managers working at Roman Abramovich, but an impressive start given the limitations of his first season and the progress made with a young team.
This was an excellent achievement in a game that was not expected to win. Manchester United is Project Restart’s standout team and this weekend was expected to be the first Manchester derby FA Cup final. So much for that.
Chelsea was at the top from the start and after 55 minutes ahead. That we were still looking at the first half shows how much time has been taken from this game to deal with a succession of head injuries, poor Eric Bailly is the most disturbing.
Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty after Anthony Martial was broken by Callum Hudson-Odoi, but it turned out to be a comfort
Antonio Rudiger celebrated it, but Chelsea’s third was given as an own goal after Harry Maguire deflected the ball
So it was late in the day when Chelsea got what their performance in the first half deserved and De Gea’s horrors began. Willian found Cesar Azpilicueta on the right and hit a low cross, which turned Olivier Giroud to the nearest post, having appeared Victor Lindelof in his signature style. De Gea got a hand, but couldn’t keep the ball out. Should he have done better? Undoubtedly – but the same can certainly be said of Lindelof.
Just as Brandon Williams was to blame for the sloppy pass that Mason Mount let in after 47 minutes. What happened next was a disaster Dea Gea had caused. Mount’s shot, 25 yards outside, was relatively tame. It was low, but not particularly intense or difficult for a goalkeeper of the historical caliber of De Gea.
And he let it through. Soft, soft, soft. Manchester United had done that, even with more than 40 minutes to go. They hadn’t done anything at that point to suggest a comeback was possible.
Giroud has won the FA Cup four times and put on another great show to meet his old club Arsenal in the Wembley final
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was created to wait for his first Manchester United trophy after being knocked out of the cup
Sure enough, it got worse. In the 74th minute, Marcos Alonso broke off the left side, hitting a low cross very similar to Azpilicueta’s for the first, and Harry Maguire, panicked by the presence of Antonio Rudiger, turned it into his own net. As if life was not difficult enough for De Gea, even his own side conspired against him.
An absolutely stupid tackle by Callum Hudson-Odoi on Anthony Martial – especially considering what his manager had said about the ease with which Manchester United collected fines – brought a short hopes of revival. Bruno Fernandes converted it and sent Willy Caballero the wrong way, but Chelsea kept it off.
It is Lampard’s job to secure Champions League football with one win from the last two games. Do that and with the FA Cup final on August 1 he will indeed have had a very good year.
Eric Bailly had to leave the field on a stretcher after a dramatic head clash with captain Harry Maguire
It wasn’t exactly a first half, and what happened was eclipsed by a nauseating injury to Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, who saw him taken off the field on a stretcher after trying to leave unaided before collapsing.
Sports in which head trauma is a professional hazard have learned from tragic experience that the greatest danger is the so-called double concussion. One player is hit on the head, continues and receives another. This is what happened to Bailly.
The hits may not have been in exactly the same place, but the cumulative effect unfortunately seemed obvious. By the time Bailly was taken away, his need for serious medical care was of great concern.
Reece James enjoyed excellent games as he earned a start alongside Frank Lampard and shone among the young Blues XI
In the 39th minute, he bumped his head against Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma, challenging for an air ball. Both men were treated and continued. Three minutes later, Bailly went for a new header, but his teammate Harry Maguire had the same instinct.
The pair collided, Maguire needed treatment with a bloody bandage, Bailly got away with no visible blood, but was unable to play. He tried to get up and then stretched out on the field. After thorough treatment, he got up again, his caregivers dabbing the top of his head, presumably to stop the bleeding.
By this time, Anthony Martial was already about to make an appearance when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer re-introduced Manchester United’s system.
United was frustrated by Chelsea’s relentless pressure and found they could not turn their excellent form of competition into the cup
Frank Lampard has an excellent shot at his first silverwork as a manager after returning from his storied playing career
Bailly left the field and then fell to his knees. The game was delayed longer after that, as doctors felt comfortable in a stretcher. He left, immobilized and if he has a concussion he cannot play in United’s remaining league games. Since his arrival in Old Trafford, he has had little luck with injuries.
Strangely enough, the far-reaching change gave United a filip and moments later they had one of their best chances of the match. The arrival of Martial, one of the most shaped players in the country at the moment, seemingly troubled Chelsea, whose middle halves were confused by a routine ball.
Zouma kicked Martial’s foot trying to clean up – a complete accident and one not even considered worthy of a VAR repeat. But to many eyes, it looked like an error, albeit an erratic one.
David de Gea will receive more criticism after his mistake as he has come under pressure from experts due to several recent mistakes
Matteo Kovacic led the midfield show, with the Croat thriving under Lampard since the arrival of the Blues legend
United certainly needed something. Until then, a lone free kick by Bruno Fernandes, knocked over by Willy Caballero, had been their only chance. For a team so productive since the reboot, it was a huge disappointment.
United are thriving ahead of Chelsea’s fragile defense, which should be the story here. But Chelsea was at the top from the start. They controlled the ball, spent long periods in half of United and had two good early chances to score.
In the tenth minute, Reece James grabbed the ball, opened the space for him and he let fly from 30 meters, De Gea reacted quickly to parry. Five minutes later, Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross from the right found Marcos Alonso on the far post, but he couldn’t hold his head.