FA Cup 2016/17: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United, 5 talking points
Kante proves to be the difference as Chelsea trounced Manchester United once again.
Chelsea knocked the holders Manchester United out of the FA Cup thanks to a quarter-final victory at Stamford Bridge. In a fractious affair, the pattern of the game was decided in the 35th minute when Ander Herrera was sent off by referee Michael Oliver for two bookable offences. United resorted to keeping Chelsea at bay for the remainder of the game, but could not stop a N’Golo Kante shot from outside the box to beat the defensive line and fly past the reach of David de Gea into the bottom corner in the 51st minute.
Though Chelsea could not capitalise on the vast number of chances they created after the goal, their lead was barely threatened thanks to the one-man advantage.
Here are the talking points from the encounter at London.
#1 Herrera sending off swings the momentum in Chelsea’s favour
Until the 35th minute, it appeared to be a fascinating contest between a vibrant Chelsea and a spirited United. Though Chelsea were creating the better opportunities, Manchester United were somehow keeping themselves in it with some disciplined defending. Marcus Rashford’s pace on the break was crucial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan was knocking the ball around pretty well in the attacking third to give United a chance of taking the lead.
However, Ander Herrera’s red card for two bookable offences – the second one coming moments after the referee warned United captain Chris Smalling regarding the number of fouls on Eden Hazard – set the pattern for the remainder of the game.
United were forced to haul Mkhitaryan off and replace him with Marouane Fellaini in order to provide some steel to the back. Jose Mourinho’s side found chances few and far between since Herrera’s red card. Once they fell behind, it was very unlikely they were going to grab an equaliser using Rashford on the counter-attack as they barely saw the ball in the second half.