Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea clashed in the second semi-final of the FA Cup. The Red Devils had already beaten the west London outfit thrice this season. However, this was the fourth meeting between the two sides this season and a more crucial one. A place in the final of the tournament was up for grabs.
Despite that, the Manchester-based side did not look in the best of form. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was partly to blame for that, as he changed his team around. A few first-team players were dropped from the starting eleven and that did not go down well.
Eventually, it was the Blues that took the lead from an error by goalie David de Gea. Olivier Giroud made it 1-0 at the stroke of half-time. Mason Mount added a second post the restart, with another error by the Spaniard.
To make things worse, Harry Maguire scored an own-goal in the 74th minute. However, United pulled one back through a Bruno Fernandes spot-kick. The goal served more as a consolation. The game ended in a 3-1 win for the west London side, who made it to the FA Cup final, where they face off against domestic rivals Arsenal.
Here are three reasons why Manchester United lost to Chelsea-
3. Dropping Greenwood, Pogba and Martial from the first-team
Solskjaer dropped Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial from the first team. Though it was understood that the Englishman was not started due to his lack of fitness, it made no sense to rest Martial and Pogba. The two stars are match-winners and had played a key role in helping United win most of their fixtures since the restart.
If the Norwegian was going into this game with the intention of winning, this was seriously a bad call. The players who were on the pitch (like Daniel James), could not produce enough to get a goal against Chelsea. The Blues have a fragile defensive line which was not really targetted and hence they had a rather comfortable game.
2. Tactical madness by Manchester United boss Solskjaer made things worse
It was expected that Solskjaer would start with five at the back, three CBs and two wing-backs. This is a tactic that he always uses when he wants to counter a good attack. With Chelsea’s attack being a major threat and their defence being poor, Solskjaer wanted to counter this. However, Lampard dropped Pulisic and changed the game in his favour.
Also, the game was not quick-paced from Chelsea, as one would have imagined it to be. They slowed the tempo of the game and this something that Solskjaer wasn’t probably expecting.
1. David de Gea’s errors killed off the game
Eventually, it was all down to the defensive lapses and the errors by goalie David de Gea that cost his side. United did look decent till they conceded the first goal. It was anyone’s game till that point of time. Eric Bailly’s injury ruined the game-plan that the United main-man would have initially had.
Despite that, it was no reason to not save the shots that were hit at De Gea. Unfortunately, it was one of his worst performances in a Manchester United shirt. However, he has been rather poor this season already. So, it wasn’t really anything new this term.