Lampard beats Red Devils in FA Cup – mistakes from Solskjaer and De Gea ruin Man Utd
Arsenal’s opponent in the FA Cup final will be Chelsea, who gained their first victory over Man Utd (3-1) at the fourth attempt this season.
Lampard’s Psychological Attack
Before United and Chelsea set the Wembley record by reaching their ninth face-to-face meeting at the main stadium in England, Jose Mourinho delighted his former team. Tottenham defeated Leicester 3-0, which dramatically boosted the Red Devils and Blues’ chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
And in the build-up to the match, the head coaches staged psychological attacks. It was started by Frank Lampard, who raised the topic of the help that VAR provides to Manchester United. The Londoner’s coach even gave a specific example, mentioning a penalty not awarded against the Red Devils in the game against Crystal Palace.
Hearing about this, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer jokingly asked how much time he had, and admitted that he could talk for hours about decisions not in favour of Man United. Fortunately for journalists, the Norwegian limited himself to a few episodes, and at the end of his speech summed up: “I am calm. The referees will make fair decisions and will not succumb to emotions. I don’t think they’re going to read Frank’s words.”
Chelsea were brilliant against United, but the supporters of Lampard’s team still expressed their frustration at the lack of chances being given to youngster Fikayo Tomori. Before kick off, some fans, especially ones from Canada, wanted the center-back to start at Wembley. Tomori is a very promising player, who has already participated at the international level for England and at some point was considered to play for Canada, but opted for the Three Lions instead. However, this hasn’t dampened the interest being shown in the player back in his homeland and Tomori’s popularity has led to interest from the gambling industry. Because of his new-found stardom in the Premier League, online casinos have introduced some bonus opportunities and now numerous people are willing to apply for a Canadian casino bonus featuring Tomori. However, the fans both in England in Canada will not judge Lampard too harshly for leaving Tomori out on Sunday, because Chelsea got the victory to progress to the final.
Bailly’s terrible injury
The first half was a cagey affair with few clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities but the opening forty-five minutes were overshadowed by a serious injury to Eric Bailly. Man Utd centre-back Harry Maguire collided with his team-mate as they both challenged Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud for a high ball. Maguire was able to continue after having his head bandaged but Bailly needed lengthy treatment on the sidelines. The Ivorian was eventually stretchered off and taken to hospital where he stayed overnight on Sunday.
The pause in the game was so long that the first half lasted almost 58 minutes. Solskjaer made an ambiguous decision at this point, replacing Bailly, not for Fosu-Mensah, who had already begun to warm up but to forward Anthony Martial. The Norwegian coach switched formation from a back three to a back four with only two centre-backs. As a result, in the 11th minute of first half injury time, Cesar Azpilicueta and Willian easily outsmarted Brandon Williams to set-up Giroud for the opening goal.
De Gea’s mistake
The second half began with another Manchester disaster. The mistake was made by David de Gea. Undoubtedly, part of the blame should be laid on Williams, gave away possession in the build-up. However, Mason Mount’s resulting shot from long range should have been easily dealt with but De Gea clumsily sent the ball into the corner of his own goal.
The television camera at that moment first showed the disheartened face of the Spaniard, and then – sitting on the bench – Sergio Romero, who was benched for the semi-final despite not conceding a single goal in his five FA Cup games this season. De Gea’s mistake proven decisive in this game and the blame has to be at the feet of Solskjaer for his team selection and substitutions.
United had two days less to prepare for Sunday’s game but Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood, and cup hero Odion Ighalo appeared on the pitch too late. They weren’t given enough time to turn things around as Chelsea were able to sit back and hit United on the counterattack. It resulted in Chelsea extending their lead when Maguire sliced the ball into his own net for 3-0.
Bruno Fernandes scored a late consolation from the penalty spot but this was to be Lampard’s day. The former midfielder was beaten by Man Utd three times this season before the semi-final but he learned his lesson and finally got one over Solskjaer on Sunday.
Manchester United must now regroup to try and finish in the top four of the Premier League while Lampard will pit his wits against Mikel Arteta in the FA Cup final. As Chelsea and Arsenal players, they won 6 FA Cups between them, and will now compete for their first trophy as managers.
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