Chelsea thrashes Man United, to battle Arsenal in FA Cup final
David de Gea howler helped Chelsea into the FA Cup final as they beat Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley Stadium to set up a meeting with Arsenal next month, reports standard.co.uk.
De Gea had already been at fault for Olivier Giroud’s opener – which came in the 11th minute of first-half stoppage time after Eric Bailly’s head injury caused a lengthy delay – when he tamely palmed Mason Mount’s strike into his own net, before Harry Maguire’s own goal capped a brilliant afternoon for Frank Lampard’s side.
Both managers opted to line up with a back-three, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaving in-form duo Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial on the bench, while Frank Lampard did likewise with Christian Pulisic because of a minor injury problem.
It was Chelsea who seemed to settle into their new shape best, right-wing-back Reece James testing De Gea with a long-range effort before his counterpart on the other flank, Marcos Alonso, headed over when well-placed at the back post.
A Bruno Fernandes free-kick had forced Willy Caballero into his only save at the other end as Solskjaer’s side struggled to impose themselves.
The Norwegian was forced into a rethink before the break, as Bailly was stretchered off with a worrying head injury, having been involved in two collisions in quick succession, the latter with his own teammate Maguire.
Anthony Martial was sent on in his place as United reverted to a back four, but it was breached immediately when Cesar Azpilicueta’s low cross was flicked home in trademark fashion by Giroud at the near-post with De Gea failing to get enough behind it.
But if that was poor goalkeeping then what the Spaniard produced immediately after the restart was even worse, somehow failing to keep out Mount’s speculative low effort, with shades of his clanger against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal at the 2018 World Cup.
Solskjaer’s reaction was to send on Paul Pogba and Greenwood, and Rashford went close to halving the deficit before De Gea was required to make some amends with a good one-handed save to deny Giroud what would have been a clincher.
With a quarter-of-an-hour to play, however, the game was made safe as Maguire poked Alonso’s cross past his own goalkeeper to confirm a repeat of the 2017 FA Cup final.
Bruno Fernandes scored a late penalty, but it was no more than a consolation goal for United.
Meanwhile, Frank Lampard has admitted Manchester United probably have the ‘most potent’ forward line in all of English football.
United’s attacking trio have netted an incredible 62 goals between them already this season and Lampard is wary of the attacking threat they pose ahead of the weekend encounter.
“We know Manchester United are playing well,” he said.
“They have a very potent front three, probably the most potent front three in the country on pure numbers anyway and obviously Fernandes has made a huge difference since arriving in January.
“You see the strength that’s brought to their team with individual quality but we know that. We have to be confident in ourselves, deal with their threats and worry about us as well.”