By Lee Savery.
Manchester United crashed out of the FA Cup as Demba Ba’s goal separated the two teams in a stale affair at Stamford Bridge.
Both teams came into this game needing to ring the changes having played their last games on Saturday. United made eight changes from the side that beat Sunderland. Chelsea also made eight changes from their loss at Southampton. The mass changes and any lingering tiredness made the game a poor one. Despite this, tiredness cannot be blamed for United’s awful display today.
The only goal of the game came in the first five minutes of the second half. Juan Mata found some space in midfield before picking out Ba with a terrific pass who guided the ball, in the air, past David De Gea who could do nothing with that. It was the only time either player really got into the game but they did and with devastating effect.
Throughout the game, United side gave the ball away all too often and barely created anything. The eight changes should have freshened them up but with so many players having off days, it could not be seen if they were fresh at all.
The match had very few chances and Chelsea took their one big chance. United did have a few good chances to score. In the first half, Javier Hernandez’s shot from range nearly swerved past Petr Cech but he somehow saved it with his foot.
In the second half and just past the hour mark, a terrific Danny Welbeck cross found the Mexican unmarked at the back post. His header was somehow saved brilliantly be Cech. Chicharito was as stunned as everybody that the Chelsea keeper had been able to save it.
Ashley Young and Robin van Persie were put on to try and get an equaliser and they were part of a move that could have got it. Young found Patrice Evra who stormed into the box before picking out van Persie who blasted his shot into the United fans behind the goal. The Dutchman’s goal drought continues.
The FA Cup continues to be a trophy that eludes Sir Alex Ferguson and his men as Chelsea continue their impressive run in this competition. The manager said after the original tie that they were lucky to still be in it. Today, they went out and it was deserved.
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