Chelsea’s impressive record in the FA Cup continued after the 1-0 win over Manchester United in a nervous and tactical encounter at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have won the FA Cup four times in the last six years, while they have gone unbeaten in the last 28 matches. However, Manchester United posed a formidable opposition for the blues in the FA Cup quarter-final replay.
This was one of the four fixtures for Benitez’ men in the space of eight days. After choosing to rest players for the league match against Southampton during the weekend, Benitez fielded a strong line-up consisting of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, and Oscar.
January signing Demba Ba was preferred to Fernando Torres up front.
The first 30 mins of the match was one to forget, as both teams were unable to get into their rhythm. Passes went astray and Ba’s shot in the 31st minute was the first shot on target in the match.
Thankfully, the second half was much better. It did not take long for Chelsea to power into the lead. Mata played a typical ball over the top of the defenders, and Ba’s outstretched shot – at the hour mark – was enough to get the ball into the back of the net.
The breakthrough proved crucial, as it helped Chelsea play on the counter-attack.
United had a couple of chances before the end, but they were unable to convert them with Van Persie guilty of missing two great chances.
Chelsea had several opportunities to see the game through by keeping the ball, but they insisted on attacking United at every opportunity. Chelsea almost paid a heavy price for it, as the players would have certainly struggled if the game had gone into extra time.
Thankfully, United did not score and it will be Chelsea vs Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup semifinals.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole (Bertrand 21), Ramires, Mikel Obi, Oscar (Moses 90), Mata, Hazard, Ba (Torres 90+2)
Scorer: Ba 48
Manchester United (4-4-1-1): De Gea, Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley (Van Persie 61), Nani (Giggs 64), Welbeck (Young 78), Hernandez