Chelsea’s 2017/18 season was filled with inconsistency. A very dull season with ups and downs resulting in a 5th place finish in the league. However, a small redeeming compensation of the FA Cup trophy closed the season on a good note and gave the controversial Antonio Conte a parting gift.
Going into the 2017/18, big things were destined for Chelsea. After coming from an extremely dominant and record setting Premier League campaign win the previous season, Conte’s Chelsea were expected to contend for the title again. On top of that, big arrivals such as the infamous Alvaro Morata, Rudiger, and Bakayoko only made expectations higher.
However, things took a turn for the worst. The notorious Diego Costa axing over text by Conte made the start of the season gloomy. It didn’t get better. Although Chelsea fans had to endure a season of inconsistency, they had the FA Cup campaign to look forward to too. An escape from the poor league campaign performance and a sweet victory against Jose Mourhino’s United at Wembley. This is the story of Chelsea’s 2018 FA Cup victory.
Road to the Final
Third Round: Norwich City 0-0 Chelsea
Starting XI: Caballero, Luiz, Cahill, Rudiger, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Kenedy, Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro.
A dominant performance from Chelsea. However, Norwich were able to hold Chelsea off enough to earn a replay at Stamford Bridge. A notable stat from the game was that Norwich had 0 shots on target all game.
Third Round Replay: Chelsea 1-1 (5-3 pens) Norwich City
Starting XI: Caballero, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Ampadu, Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Kenedy, Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro.
A goal from Batshuayi in the 55th minute and a late equalizer in the 94th minute from Norwich City brought the game into extra time. The Blues ended extra time with nine men after two double yellows from Pedro and Morata. Chelsea were able to move on to the next round after a penalty shootout win that ended in 5-3.
Fourth Round: Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle United
Starting XI: Caballero; Rudiger, Christensen, Cahill ; Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Kante, Alonso; Pedro, Batshuayi, Hazard.
A memorable brace from Michy Batshuayi and a second half freekick from Alonso secured the spot to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Fifth Round: Chelsea 4-0 Hull City
Starting XI: Caballero, Rudiger, Cahill, Ampadu, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Emerson, Willian, Giroud, Pedro.
An extremely smooth and easy win for Chelsea against Hull City as they comfortably put 4 past them. A fantastic double from Willian, a classic Pedro goal, and Giroud’s first goal in a blue shirt.
Quarter Final: Leicester City 1-2 Chelsea
Starting XI:Caballero, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso, Willian, Hazard, Morata.
A thrilling quarter final that went into extra time. A very hungry Leicester City side appeared that day but Chelsea were able to edge over them with a winner in extra time. A composed finish from Morata right before the half time whistle blew. However, Vardy’s gambling paid off in the 76th minute with a scrappy goal. Pedro came to Chelsea’s rescue and finished off Kante’s cross in the 105th minute.
Chelsea’s hope of silverware was still alive and a redemption goal from Morata after a string of poor performances. A Chelsea side with resilience and grit were just enough to advance them to the semi final.
Semi Final: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton
Starting XI: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Emerson, Willian, Hazard, Giroud.
A very memorable 2-0 victory against The Saint and a touch of class from Giroud. In the 46th minute, Giroud was able to dazzle his way around two Southampton players in a crowded box and perfectly slot it into the goal. A classic FA Cup goal that Chelsea fans will remember for years to come. Morata ended things off with a comfortable header from Azpilicueta’s cross.
A trip to Wembley was booked and it was against Mourinho’s United.
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
Goal Scorer: Eden Hazard
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Referee: Michael Oliver
Chelsea’s Starting XI: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger, Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard, Giroud.
Subs:Caballero, Barkley, Morata, Pedro, Zappacosta, Willian, Chalobah.
A chance for Chelsea to secure a silverware this season and a chance for Antonio Conte to end his Chelsea career off on a positive note. This was a highly anticipated game for both teams as there was no love lost between the players and managers.
This final is often overlooked despite the importance of it. It was Chelsea’s opportunity to add an 8th FA Cup trophy into their cabinet, their only chance of silverware this season, and a way to say a bittersweet goodbye to Antonio Conte. For Manchester United, it was their only chance of silverware this season and Mourhino’s opportunity to embarrass his former side at Wembley.
Both sides started the half equally well with high intensity and it was clear that both teams wanted to win very badly. In the 14th minute, Bakayoko fell in United’s penalty box after coming in contact with former Chelsea player Matic, however it was decided that it was not a penalty.
Two minutes later, Alexis Sanchez unsuccessfully called for a penalty after being contacted by Moses and Azpilicueta. After 21 minutes, the influential Eden Hazard controlled a pass from Fabregas and made a run into United’s penalty box, where he was fouled by Phill Jones. It was a clear penalty and was rightfully awarded to Chelesa. Hazard calmly took the penalty in his signature fashion and placed it to the right side which sent De Gea the wrong way.
United started off the second half strong and were giving their everything. After numerous attempts on goal from United, they had a perfect chance to equalize. A dangerous freekick position and hungry players in the box. A Rashford cross from the freekick was able to pick out Jones who headed into the bottom right corner but Courtois was able to swipe it away, only for Sanchez to knee the ball into the net. However, the goal was disallowed and was confirmed correct by VAR.
United continued to dominate the second half but Chelsea were able to comfortably sit back and see out the game. A man of the match performance from Kante and a superbly taken penalty from big game player Hazard was more than enough to secure the win. A fantastic 1-0 win from Chelsea against their former manager Mourinho at Wembley stadium, it could not be better.
Total Shots: Chelsea 6, Manchester United 18
Shots on Target: Chelsea 3, Manchester United 5
Possession: Chelsea 33%, Manchester United 67%
Corners: Chelsea 5, Manchester United 9
Fouls: Chelsea 11, Manchester United 13
Offsides: Chelsea 3, Manchester United 1
Yellow Cards: Chelsea 1, Manchester United 2
Red Cards: Chelsea 0, Manchester United 0
After a very disappointing season, Chelsea were able to secure a piece of silverware and say a bittersweet goodbye to Antonio Conte.
What do you think will happen in the Final? Let us know in the comments below?