Chelsea 0 v Man Utd 2
Maurizio Sarri cut a lonely figure as he patrolled his dugout during the 90 minutes - hardly talking to his bench, not reacting with his players on the field - it seems like he knows his time at SW6 is almost up.
Manchester United’s devastating demolition of the Italian’s so-called Sarriball at Stamford Bridge tonight to kick the FA Cup holders out of the tournament was as embarrassing to reputation as it was to the club coffers. That the score was only 2-0 does not tell the full story.
There is an air of mutiny among the fans who lambasted Sarriball most cruelly from the stands.
Sarri’s insistence on substitutions that are like-for-like only added fuel to their ire.
Bringing on David’s Zappacosta for right-back Cesar Azpilicueta was greeted with boos and utter resignation from then terraces.
Two first half goals from Andre Herrera and Paul Pogba killed off Chelsea’s hopes of retaining the trophy.
On Sunday they face Manchester City inn the EFL Cup Final at Wembley.
Before that, they face Malmo FF on Thursday night in the Europa League. No one can truthfully state that Sarri will be leading the side out that night.
Centre-back Chris Smalling had the first effort on goal, a header that Kepa Arrizabalaga easily dealt with on nine minutes. But it was the ease in which he found himself;er six yard out and unhindered, that should send a string signal to the Chelsea rearguard to redouble their efforts.
A wonderful over the wall and dipper free-kick from David Luiz, two minutes, was spectacularly parried away from goal by Sergio Romero. Mateo Kovacic’s follow up shot was well saved by the goalkeeper.
Going forward, Chelsea looked sharp, Eden Hazard tried a trademark right-footed curler on 11 minutes, that went inches wide of Romero’s left upright.
Andersson Herrera tried the more orthodox thumper from 20 yards, Kepa did well to tip away the powerful goal-bound effort.
Ex-Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic could Hazard on 15 minutes and got the first yellow card of the night.
Gonzalo Higuain had a free header from Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross, and the effort zipped just wide of goal.
Ashley Young was next to enter the book, needlessly hacking down Pedro on 20 minutes.
The goal when it came on 31minutes. Was a beauty of power, pace, guile and style.
United stole possession in midfield, Juan Mata interchanged well with Paul Pogba. the France star, on the left swung over the perfect ball to the far post. Marco Alonso was caught napping and Herrera stole in and planted the perfect header back across goal, and past Kepa to put the visitors 1-0 up.
A Pedro cross cum shot three minutes later almost snuck into Romero’s far post, but again, unluckily for the Blues, the ball was off target.
A minute from the first half whistle a Pogba inspired move created number two for United. A simple ball down the right to Marcus Rashford, saw the England strike take his time. he was unchallenged before clipping in the perfect byline cross to in-running Pogba who smashed home a diving header which Kepa could only get a hand to but not stop hitting the back of the net.
There were no changes by either side at half time.
The Blues started the second half on the front foot but without creating any clear-cut chances.
Pedro was replaced by Willian on 58 minutes as Maurizio opted to change a like-for-like player.
Antonio Rudiger was the first home side player in the book, for fouling Matic on 60 minutes.
Kante was next in the book.
Ross Barkley predictably came on for Kovacic as Sarri persisted with the same formation on 70 minutes.
Howls of derision greeted Sarri’s final substitution, Zappacosta for Azpilicueta.
That was it.
Teams: Chelsea, Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Higuain, Hazard, Pedro, Kovacic, Azpilicueta, Luiz
Subs: Caballero, Barkley, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Zappacosta, Christensen
Man Utd: Romero, Linsdelof, Pogba Mata, Lukaku, Rashford, Smalling, Young, Herrera, Shaw, Matic
Subs: Dev Gea, Baillly, Sanchez, Pereira, Fred, Dalit, McTominay
Referee: Kevin Friend