Manchester United have booked their place in this season’s FA Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable 2-0 win over Premier League rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba headed home the goals in the first half as Maurizio Sarri’s side failed to produce a single shot on target after the 11th minute.
It was an excellent performance from the Red Devils who were set up very well defensively and hit Chelsea hard on the counter-attack.
Herrera’s goal came from an excellent run inside the penalty area to connect with a delightful cross by Paul Pogba from down the left wing on the half hour mark. Pogba turned goalscorer himself just before half-time when he burst into the box to get onto the end of a Marcus Rashford cross.
Manchester United kept Sergio Romero well-protected in goal. The Argentine, making his third start in the FA Cup this season pulled off two saves in the opening 11 minutes but wasn’t called into action after. Romero has now saved 11 of the 12 shots he has faced in the competition this season.
Despite being hammered 6-0 at Manchester City in their last Premier League outing the previous weekend, Chelsea had entered Monday night’s FA Cup tie as the favourites with the online bookmakers at evens. Those who backed Manchester United walked away with a cool 3/1 winner.
Speaking after the game, caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said:
“The performance was fantastic, the tactics worked. Obviously we asked Ander [Herrera] and Paul [Pogba], our midfielders, next to Nemanja [Matic] to go a bit higher up and get into the box more often, with Marcus [Rashford] and Romelu [Lukaku] wider. So we worked [on it] and the defending in the second half, when we had to, was fantastic. Chris [Smalling] has been out two months and just played one game and he was brilliant.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now won 11 of his 13 matches in charge since taking the reins at Old Trafford following Jose Mourinho’s dismissal in early December. The Norwegian had started 11 points behind Chelsea with hopes of Champions League football next season all but over.
Nine games later and Manchester United head into their game against Liverpool this weekend sitting in fourth spot, one point above Chelsea.
Blues boss Sarri must fear the worst for his future now being knocked out of the FA Cup and currently outside the Champions League places. What’s worse, the Italian’s side are looking terrible currently – their 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City was off the back of a 4-0 thrashing at Bournemouth in their previous away Premier League game.
Meanwhile, Manchester United continue to move onwards and upwards and have a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, with the ties taking place on the weekend commencing Saturday 17 March. The other quarter-final ties drawn on Monday night were as follows:
Watford vs Crystal Palace
Swansea City vs Manchester City
Millwall vs Brighton & Hove Albion