What a game that was! After three defeats to Ole and the Reds this season, Frank Lampard and the Blues triumphed over Manchester United in a convincing win at Wembley. Out of all the games to win, this was the one that was most necessary. We are now heading to the finals of the FA Cup against Arsenal, hoping to beat them in another final after the showdown at Baku a year ago. As we all enjoy the banter and bragging rights, let’s review the tactical masterclass from Frank and the roaring spirit shown by the players.
At the early stages of the game, we looked dangerous and were already starting to steamroll through the game with relative domination. Reece James attempted a belter from far, but De Gea was able to save it. Shots like that are important for games where we don’t want the majority of the possession, and Reece was unlucky not to score early on. Along with Reece, Alonso and Zouma also had good chances to score from the air, but both efforts were not accurate enough. During Zouma’s effort, he collided heads with Bailly, but thankfully both players were able to continue. Unfortunately, another aerial clash between Maguire and Bailly while marking Giroud occurred, and it was even worse than the previous one. Maguire got a cut on his head and had to get taped up, but he could still continue. Bailly, on the other hand, took a very hard hit and had to be stretchered off. Let’s hope Bailly recovers as soon as possible from that horrific incident.
Five minutes after the initial five minutes of added time, Giroud scored right at the end of the first-half after tapping in a brilliant cross from the captain. De Gea was partly to blame for the goal as he almost pushed it into his net. After that crazy first half, morale was high, and the players were even hungrier. Early on in the second half, Mount scored a wonderful goal which De Gea completely botched. With 2 goals and barely any chances for United, we looked comfortable and confident. Manchester United decided to bring on Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood in the 55th and 56th minute, respectively. In the 74th minute, Toni Rudiger likely remembered glimpses of his performance against Leicester in the 2-2 draw, and decided to become a striker. He made a brilliant run into the box looking for Alonso’s cross, but Maguire decided he needed to bag a goal. Unfortunately for him, it was the wrong net.
With the team in a comfortable 3-0 lead, Frank made a few changes to rest the players for the game on Wednesday. In the 85th minute, Manchester United got their penalty they were waiting for throughout the whole game. CHO made an extremely unnecessary and careless tackle in the box on Martial, which gave Bruno Fernandes the chance to stat-pad himself to another POTM award. In front of his master Jorginho, Bruno did a little ballerina dance before sending Willy the wrong way. With the cleansheet gone and with a few minutes to go, we killed the game off and took the well-deserved win.
Overall, the game was an exceptional tactical masterclass from Frank. The back three took care of long balls and counter-attacks with relative ease, and the wing backs were allowed to cause mayhem in the wider areas. Reece James and Alonso were outstanding today, as was Olivier Giroud. This system of play, where we rely on the opposition to have more possession and fall apart on counter-attacks, could be useful against Bayern in the upcoming European game. It allowed us to dictate the play of the ball how we wanted, and made Manchester United rely on long balls to try and break the impenetrable wall. With a fully rested Pulisic and Kante, we have the momentum and drive needed to try and beat Liverpool on Wednesday to try and clinch top 4. #KTBFFH
What did you think of tonight’s victory? Let us know in the comments below!