By Gary Watton
March 13 2017
The runaway Premiership leaders cruised into the last four of the FA Cup for an April date with Tottenham Wannabes, courtesy of a fine strike from the outstanding N'Golo Kante who completely eclipsed the overrated and underperforming Paul Pogba.
Of course Chelsea's cause was massively assisted by the sending off of Herrrera, but the visitors only had themselves to blame for this predicament. Their genius of a manager thought that it would be clever to target the elusive Hazard, but there is a difference between strong tackles and fouls. The hapless away team instead proceeded to inflict a series of the latter upon the flying Belgian. After being on the receiving end of about four fouls in the space of about ten minutes, the Chelsea attacker went down a little too easy under another clumsy challenge from Herrera, prompting Michael Oliver to wave a second yellow at the Spaniard. Perhaps if the Red Devils had actually attacked with more gusto instead of resorting to intimidatory tactics, they might have made progress.
Apologists will point to the absence of the lethal Ibrahimovic, but the big Swede rarely scores against Chelsea. Only once was young Courtois required to make a world-class stop from Rashford, and sure enough he duly obliged, with the help of his outstretched foot.
As for the hosts, they almost made a meal of their one-man advantage, with the increasingly erratic Costa proving wasteful, while others were equally inaccurate in front of goal. The enemy did their very best impersonation of bus parking, as they racked up a measly 28 per cent possession, but the Blues did just enough to finish off the carcass in ninety minutes.
CHELSEA 1 Manchester United 0; half time: 0-0
CHELSEA goal scorer: Kante
CHELSEA team: Courtois; Azpilicueta; Luiz; Kante; Matic; Cahill; Alonso; Moses; Costa; Hazard; Willian. Used substitutes: Fabregas, Zouma, Batshuayi
CHELSEA leading scorers:
Costa eighteen goals
Hazard eleven goals (including two penalties)
Pedro eleven goals
Willian six goals
Batshuayi five goals (including one penalty)
Fabregas five goals
Alonso four goals
Cahill four goals
Moses four goals