Chelsea 0-2 Manchester United – Credit Solskjaer and United. Sack Maurizio Sarri.

Chelsea were knocked out of the FA Cup tonight by Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Having already called for Maurizio Sarri to be sac...

Chelsea were knocked out of the FA Cup tonight by Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Having already called for Maurizio Sarri to be sacked last weekend, this performance does nothing to change my mind. By the sounds of it, plenty in the stands are beginning to feel the same.

We wanted to see a reaction domestically tonight having been thumped by Manchester City just over a week ago. Forget Malmo in the Europa League, this is where it matters at home against an old foe. For 30 minutes we had some sort of reaction until the wheels came off defensively again. Just fifteen minutes later United took advantage of our defensive frailties to capitalise and make it 0-2 just before half-time. Make no mistake, Manchester United toyed with Chelsea this evening and we had literally no answer.

Apart from a David Luiz free-kick in the first half and the subsequent rebound from Pedro, Chelsea created NOTHING. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer set his side up superbly without the ball, with each player doing their job and Chelsea could not break them down. A red wall appeared in the second half with plenty of men behind the ball leaving Chelsea with no space to play in front of their back-four but, to force them wide. As a result, we passed the ball backwards, sideways, backwards again to repeat the process before someone became so desperate to try and move the ball forward that we either gave it away or, it came to nothing. It was easy for the opposition to defend. You could have checked out the free football betting tips pre-game or even in-game to place bets on Chelsea not scoring this evening. 

The biggest issue for all of us here is that we want to see our players express themselves just like the Manchester United players have since Solskjaer took over. We want to see us use the obvious attacking talent we have to play fast tempo, expressive and an attacking style of football. The problem is that at the moment we seem to be incapable of doing that against teams that set their stall out to stop us. We have become the most predictable side in the Premier League and that’s without me talking about team selection and in-game substitutions.

Everyone knows who is going to start, where they are going to play, what they are going to try and do and finally, who is going to be replaced knowing who is coming on to try and play the same way! It’s an absolute joke now, it really is.

The two goals were our own doing. Cesar Azpilicueta had left his position and pressed forward down the right hand side. Having lost the ball, Paul Pogba stepped into the space he had left behind. Juan Mata with space behind Jorginho and in front of our back-four was allowed to collect the ball without any challenge TWICE in midfield to play the ball into Pogba

In doing so, Mateo Kovacic left his position on the left of our midfield three and was sucked right over to the right leaving space in front of Marcos Alonso. Toni Rudiger left his position to move to right-back to cover the space Azpilicueta had left which mean’t that David Luiz moved right of centre at the back with Alonso stuck marking Rashford on the back post. 

Rashford spots Hererra making a run unmarked from the midfield in the space left by Kovacic and makes his run across our back four towards David Luiz. At this point, Alonso see’s Rashford’s run and goes to cover it but then spots Hererra when it’s too late as Pogba floats a cross over to him and the Spaniard heads home to make it 0-1. It was a total shambles caused by people ball watching OR, being told that they need to play closer together in the midfield.

The second goal is another mess. The ball is being knocked about in midfield above head-height. Jorginho and Kante get in each others way and the ball falls to Pogba to has time to look up and play a pass in-behind Alonso to Rashford down the right-wing. 

He waits, and waits, and waits longer for Pogba to make a run into the box, then Rashford plays a whipped cross into the box right onto Pogba’s head who has moved in-between Rudiger and Azpilicueta to head home despite a valiant attempt by Kepa to keep it out – making it 0-2 from 12 yards.

Even before they scored, United had opened us up on at least three occasions to demonstrate that they would be an attacking threat all night. The warning signs were there but we never made any changes to counter their obvious attacking threat.

Under Maurizio Sarri, based on the last six defeats in fifteen games the following has become clear:

·    We do not have the players here to play the way he wants now. We need to remove Jorginho from playing in front of the back four. He offers us nothing defensively despite having a certain responsibility to defend in that position. Stick N’Golo Kante there for god sake!

·    The tactical system is flawed when you refuse to try and adapt it to work when it’s obvious that it does not.

·    We are absolute clueless playing this way when teams pack their defensive shape with high numbers defending the edge of their box narrow, forcing us wide.

·    We are too predictable in every way. In defence and in attack.

·    Why bother naming seven substitutes when it’s the same three that are used 99% of the time.

·    The manager must be sacked now because NOTHING is going to change under Sarri.

I really cannot stress enough how I believe that Manchester United came here and did a job on Chelsea tonight, just like Tottenham, Arsenal, Bournemouth and Manchester City did. They toyed with Chelsea knowing that if they took their chances they could sit back, dig-in and force Chelsea to play wide knowing that we would run out of ideas.

I posted ahead of the game that it was the first time in years I was dreading playing Manchester United. Now, after watching that with everything else I have seen in recent weeks, I don’t think I could face watching us this Sunday against Manchester City at Wembley with Maurizio Sarri in charge!

Credit Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United. Sack Maurizio Sarri.

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