Two rivals of the English game squared off in a fifth round FA Cup tie as Chelsea played host to Manchester United in a bid to determine who gets a place in the quarter finals. A lot of eyes were on Solskjaer, whose team came off a loss against PSG in midweek and had to show that it was just a blip. Sarri himself was also under a lot of pressure after recent results.


Goalscorers - Ander Herrera (31’), Paul Pogba (45’)

In the end, Manchester United got the job done without much fuss as Sarri’s men were left with nothing to show for all their dominance in large chunks of the game. The Red Devils made their way into the last 8 courtesy of 2 similar goals, much of which was down to some really bad defending from the Blues.

This result will do no good for Sarri as Chelsea clearly looked like they aren’t taking well to ‘Sarriball’ and the man is running out of time and games to turn things around. Let’s take a look at the talking points from the game!

#1 Shoddy defending from Chelsea
If you look closely at the two goals conceded you will see a specific pattern. Manchester United targeted 2 areas and those were the spaces between Luiz-Alonso and Azpilicueta-Rudiger. For the first goal, Alonso doesn’t even have the slightest idea that Ander Herrera is making a run behind at the far post. The United man just ghosts behind him and gets a free header at goal.

Now a look at the 2nd goal will make you wonder how an experienced campaigner like Azpilicueta doesn’t see Pogba rushing in coupled with the fact that Rudiger completely misjudges the flight of the ball. These are schoolboy errors that Chelsea’s defenders are making and it has evidently cost them against Arsenal, Bournemouth, City and now United.

#2 Should Matic have been sent off?While it may not seem a very huge thing now but the timing of it during the match raises some questions. Matic went into the book as early as 15 mins and was committing a few fouls here and there. Cut to the 2nd half when Chelsea was looking threatening, Matic ended up tripping Kante.

Referee Kevin Friend just let the former Chelsea man with a warning and that surely angered Sarri as well as the home fans. It clearly looked a 2nd yellow card offence and perhaps the only thing saved him was that he was already on a yellow. A sending off there would clearly have put United under immense pressure and Chelsea might have actually made something out of the game.

#3 Solskjaer wins the tactical battle 
While the Norwegian may not be a master tactician by any means, his team selections and setups are suggesting otherwise. In the absence of Martial and Lingard, Solskjaer turned to Lukaku and Mata. He set up Rashford and Lukaku to play as wide interchangeable forwards with Mata in a false nine-ish role. As expected, Rashford’s pace caused all sorts of problems and the stroke of genius was Mata set up to man mark Jorginho.

This resulted in the passing lines to be cut and the Italian had to look for safer passes. United were set up in a counter-attacking system and that paid dividends. After the goals, Pogba and Herrera retracted to their own half and saw off the remainder of the game with ease.

#4 Pressure mounting on Sarri 

Another day, another puzzling loss. Despite enjoying a superb start to his life at Stamford Bridge, the former Napoli manager finds his job under threat even before the season is over. The recent defeats to teams like City, Bournemouth and United should give him reasons to worry. Abrahamovic has fired managers for far better campaigns and the way things are going, it doesn’t seem Sarri will be afforded much time.

The biggest problem has been Sarri’s ‘Sarriball’. Clearly, players don’t understand what he’s trying to do and his predictability with personnel and formations have resulted in teams getting results. His continued usage of Jorginho at the base of his 3 man midfield is generating more heat by the day. His 4-3-3, like for like subs and reluctance to change the shape even when necessary is clearly hurting Chelsea but we really doubt if anything will change for the better.

#5 A much-improved performance from Manchester United 

Paris Saint Germain gave United a jolting loss on Tuesday and all sorts of questions were bombed at United. Questions about Solskjaer’s ability to handle big games, his tactical acumen, the player’s performances and whatnot. After all, it was his first lost in 12 games!

However, against Chelsea, Manchester United produced just what the doctor ordered. A convincing performance to knockout the holders. Despite playing without their usual frontline, every player did their job to more or less perfection. A certain Frenchman also showed that the game against PSG was just an off day. Pogba has now 9 goals and 6 assists under Solskjaer and he’s showing what he’s capable of week in week out.

A mention has to go to Ander Herrera who literally gave his all for the team. Tirelessly ran, took shots from distance, kept Hazard quiet (again) and topped it off with a fine goal.

There you have it, folks! Manchester United are through to the quarter finals of this seasons FA Cup where they face Wolverhampton. Chelsea will need to arrest their slump in the hopes of salvaging this season that seems to be taking a turn for the worse after each match. That’s it for now and until next time, keep Dribbling