On to the final!
Sunday saw a massive win for Chelsea and Lampard as we beat Manchester United in the semi-final of the FA Cup to set up a final against Arsenal. United were favourites having been unbeaten in their last 19 games since they were the leaders since Bruno arrived but United forgot that they had Ole in charge. Ole once again ditched his attacking formation to set up a 3-4-3 to play on the defence and counter against Chelsea. This had worked brilliantly for United this season against the big teams and got the better of Lampard 3 times with this formation. Pobga, Martial, and Greenwood were rested with Fernandes and Rashford keeping their place. Lampard also made changes as we switched to a 3-4-3 as well. Caballero started in goal, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, and Zouma made up the 3 while Reece and Alonso made up the wing backs. Kovacic, and Jorginho made up the midfield with Mount, Willian, and Giroud up front. The mistake was that Ole perhaps was foolish to believe that Lampard would not learn and find a solution to the problems from the previous games after having played United 3 times. Ole went with the same tactics and formation and Chelsea had the upper hand.
The 3-4-3 is instilled in Chelsea from the Conte days and so we are obviously better than any team that attempts to play it. United might adopt it but we played a whole 2 seasons with it and the bones of that title winning squad are still around. From minute one it was all Chelsea as we pinned United in their own half with Alonso and Reece dominating Williams and Wan Bissaka on the flanks. United were not capable of stringing two decent passes together and Chelsea had the better chances. Bailly suffered two head collisions in quick succession which left him concussed and there was a lenghty delay as he was taken off on a stretcher. Martial was brought on for Bailly as Ole reverted to a 4-2-3-1 after he saw the initial formation was not working. Chelsea though broke the deadlock right before half time as Azpilicueta delivered a brilliant cross from the right hand side and Giroud beat Lindelof to finish at the front post. 0-1 up at half time in a good first half.
Chelsea continued the 2nd half from where we left off as Mount doubled the lead in the 46th minute after he caught on to a loose pass and drilled his shot past De Gea. In all honesty though De Gea was really bad in the incident as the ball was right at him and he palmed it into his own net. Luck though comes to hard workers and Mount really deserved that goal having pressed constantly throughout the game. Ole brought on Pogba and Greenwood soon after as he tried to post a comeback but Chelsea were still dominant. The 74th minute saw some great chances come Chelsea’s way as De Gea pulled off some good saves but Alonso put in a brilliant cross which Rudiger attempted to hit home but Maguire reached it first and put it past De Gea to make it 0-3. That was the game done and dusted. Ighalo and Fosu-Mensah came on for United as Ole decided to rest some players while Tammy and Hudson-Odoi came on for Chelsea. Hudson-Odoi fouled Fernandes to concede a penalty which the Portoguese converted to get a consolation goal for United. Lampard brought on Loftus-Cheek and Pedro as we looked to finish the game. Tammy did brilliantly to send Hudson-Odoi through on goal but the young player blazed his shot over the bar. The final whistle blew and Chelsea booked a final against Arsenal.
Caballero – Did not have much to do throughout the game as United made no real threat. Unlucky to leave Wembley without a clean sheet.
Azpilicueta – Mr.Consistent as he once again helped with solidity at the right hand side of a back 3. Combined with Reece the two nullified any threat down the right and made sure that United stayed clear. Got the assist for Giroud’s goal as well.
Zouma – Another solid performance post lockdown as Zouma continues to show Lampard that he needs to stay Chelsea for next season.
Rudiger – Played well yesterday as he kept the left hand side quiet along with Alonso. Did well to push past Lindelof and force Maguire into scoring for the 3rd goal. Still nervy at times but got the job done.
James – Brilliant performance, Reece is getting better with each game he plays post lockdown and against United yesterday he was great. Attacked well, defended well and was a constant threat. Reece’s physicality was no match for anyone down the right hand side as he dominated the flank.
Alonso – Alonso always performs in a 3-4-3 formation and he did so again. The Spaniard proved once again that in this formation he is one of the best. A solid display with an assist as well.
Jorginho – Dictated the play well and made some strong tackles as he conducted the midfield along with Kovacic. With the ball in our hands loss of possession was not a massive issue.
Kovacic – One of the players of the match as Kovacic marauded the midfield. Constantly making tackles breaking the United press and dribbling past defenders.
Mount – Probably the man of the match as he led the press from the front. Mount seems to have an engine built into him and he worked hard for almost the entire game breaking passes and launching attacks. Did well to get the goal even though there was fortune involved. Finishing the season very well.
Willian – Worked hard for the team defensively but provided less offensively.
Giroud – Giroud continues to be the in form striker and the one that Lampard can rely on as he scored first goal and pinned the likes of Maguire in the United half. Giroud’s presence allowed players to play off of him especially Mount. Very good.
Abraham – Did well when he came on and had a brilliant run towards the end where he sent Hduson-Odoi through on goal. Needs to play without any pressure and he should be scoring again.
Hudson-Odoi – Conceded the penalty for United but still had some positive moments as well. Needs to get his head clear and concentrate on the football.
Loftus-Cheek – Did not have much time to make any real impact but passed the ball well and had a great moment where he out muscled Pogba to dribble past the Frenchman.
Pedro – A cameo appearance but lively and professional as always.
Lampard – Lampard put faith in the fact that Ole would stick to 3 at the back and Frank got his tactics spot on. Played the 3 at the back but better than United and guided the players throughout the game. Final of the FA Cup is not bad for a first season in charge of Chelsea and only the 2nd as a manager.
It was a good day at the office for Chelsea and the final will be played on August the 1st. Next up are two massive games in the Premier League as we look to finish in the top four. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!