Chelsea sealed our passage to the semifinal of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea hero Pat Nevin believes the game between Chelsea and Manchester United was an exceptional game of football.
“It was a passionate night in west London and feelings were running high right from the start. Actually it was all there from before the start, with the circumstances of a winner-takes-all, night-time cup-tie against Manchester United ramped up by the light show beforehand, and the small matter of Jose returning,” Nevin wrote in Chelsea’s official website.
“It was never going to be a dull evening. United fans were there in large numbers and their constant singing added to the feeling that this was a very special occasion. With the players pumped up it was breathless, and even though headlines have revolved around the sending off and the confrontations between the managers, do not forget this was an exceptional game of football.
“Chelsea were once again at or close to their very best for most of the game against what was effectively a 6-2-2 system, then a 6-2-1 when Herrera got his marching orders. At that point it was clear that United were not going to get much of the ball or indeed come out a great deal, but there is an art to playing against 10, whatever their formation is. First you keep the ball and make them chase until they tire and gaps begin to open up, as they always will. According to Opta, Chelsea had 82 per cent of the possession in the second half, astonishing even with an extra man. The best way to break them down is to pass it very quickly, side to side and keeping the team stretched. This stresses their concentration and fitness levels. In this respect it was a masterclass from the Blues and due respect to United for keeping it down to 1-0 in the end.
“For all that Rashford had that one chance in the second half, Diego could easily have had a hat-trick. De Gea made superb saves, particularly the one from Gary Cahill, and as the game neared the end there were two or three lightning, pitch-length breaks from Chelsea that could have, and maybe should have, killed the game off. Had it been 3-0 or 4-0 as it easily could have been, then the post-match narrative might have been different, but then it might not.”