Chelsea’s defence of the Emirates FA Cup was halted in the fifth round as they were beaten 2-0 at home by Manchester United on Monday evening.
The home fans’ unrest with the decisions made by Maurizio Sarri ramped up as goals from Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba condemned the Blues to yet another disappointing defeat. A full-strength Chelsea side was selected against a slightly weakened United one but you wouldn’t have known as Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and his men progressed to the quarter-final. With the victory, the Red Devils move to second-favourites to win the FA Cup. Best-odds of 7/2 are being offered by online casino and bookmaker Betway, which as noted in this latest article, is fully legal in the UK and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. Manchester City remain odds-on favourites to lift the trophy at 4/5.
An all too familiar line-up and setup made for a start that is becoming a regular occurrence at Stamford Bridge with the visitors on top from minute one. A few early warning signs passed before chances for David Luiz and Gonzalo Higuain needed saving by Sergio Romero. It was becoming a great end-to-end cup tie but after Chris Smalling ripped a gaping hole in Luiz’ shirt, Herrera exposed a gaping hole in the Chelsea backline.
Pogba was given far too much room on the left-hand side to angle a fantastic cross into the path of the Spaniard who had made a lung-busting run before powering a header into the corner of the net. If that lackadaisical defending of crosses wasn’t bad enough, there was time for some more on the stroke of half-time as the game was put beyond the home side.
Marcos Alonso was nowhere to be seen as Marcus Rashford raced down the wing and he sent a perfect ball into the middle of the box where Pogba was well-placed to head past Kepa. The Blues goalkeeper got a hand to the effort but the sheer power was too much for him as United doubled their lead.
After being booed in at the break, Sarri’s side didn’t exactly come out firing in the second half despite having a large percentage of the possession. They looked vulnerable to counter attacks as they committed more men forward and Rashford nearly exploited their weakness following a run where he ran Cesar Azpilicueta ragged which ultimately came to nothing.
Explicit chants criticising “Sarriball” rang around the Bridge for the final half an hour as Callum Hudson-Odoi remained on the bench. Those criticisms weren’t exactly unfair as the home side stagnated in and out of possession as their FA Cup defence squirmed away from them.
The tie was finished at half time which made for a drab 45 minutes, a period that most Blues fans didn’t stay for. Sarri now has a lot of thinking to do as rumours of him being sacked gather pace.