What We Learned: Manchester United


Holders Chelsea ended Manchester United’s hopes of a first FA Cup win since 2004 and a first double in 14 years as Demba Ba’s spectacular strike secured a quarter-final replay victory at Stamford Bridge.  An amazing performance from the blues sees us proceed into the semi-final of the FA cup.  A stunning strike from Demba turned our frowns from Saturday into pure delight. Shortly after the goal we witnessed one of the greatest saves of the season when Cech heroically managed to deny Hernandez’s amazing header.

Match Stats
Match Stats

What We Learned:

1. Clinical Ba should start in crucial games.

2. Magical Mata-Hazard are keys to Chelsea’s flow, rhythm and good football.

3. Cech is our #1 and as good as Courtois is, he would have to wait for atleast 2/3 more seasons.

4. Ramires-Mikel combination works

5. Azpilicueta is class

6. Mata can prove to be the difference even when its not his day.

7. Why on earth aren’t we challenging for the title?

1. Clinical Ba should get the starts in crucial games.

Demba Ba had an amazing game and scored a beautiful goal. His holding play, movements, runs and instincts were spot on. He created alot of opportunities for Mata, Hazard and Oscar as well by creating alot of space. Had just one chance in the first half with a strong shot which forced De Gea to save with his feet. However, he scored the winner with a sublime finish, taking Mata’s pass, beating Ferdinand and poking past a helpless De Gea on the volley.

He proved that Rafa should give him the nod in important games over the 50 million pound man Fernando Torres.

2. Magical Mata-Hazard are keys to Chelsea’s flow, rhythm and good football.

Whenever we don’t have either Mata or Hazard (especially Mata), we looked a bit disorganized and stagnant. These 2 definetly add that extra dimension to the team and winning without them at times looks really hard. Mata found little space to work his magic in the first half but it was a different story after the break as he ran the show for the Blues. A brilliant dinked pass set up Ba for the winning goal and he forced De Gea into a good save at his near post shortly afterwards. Hazard was industrious and lively in the first half and always looked to drive forward and was Chelsea’s most dangerous player early on.

3. Cech is our #1 and as good as Courtois is, he would have to wait for atleast 2/3 more seasons.

Thibut Courtois has been in an amazing form for the Madrid club all season long and looks to be like a perfect replacement for Cech in the coming future. He had an amazing game yesterday against Valencia as he literally earned Atletico Madrid a point with his world class saves. Cech has been doing an amazing job for us as well. He is not only one of the best keepers in the world at the moment but is also a leader in the dressing room. Today, he made an amazing couple of saves that kept us alive and earned us a spot in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City. He has been proving time and time again that he has no desire to let go off the number 1 jersey as he continues to put up phenomenal performances in the blue of Chelsea. Courtois WOULD have to wait for sure before he gets the number 1 nod at Stamford Bridge.

4. Ramires-Mikel combination works

From our last What We Learned,

Lampard : Lampard was kept largely off the ball by a dominant Saints midfield. Found a bit more space after the break but still a below-par showing.

Mikel : Allowed Davis and others too much space in the middle in the first half. Replaced by Ramires in the second half.

This combination simply doesn’t work, I can’t stress it enough.

The Mikel-Ramires combination more than seems to works for us whenever Rafa decides to play them. They provide a good balance of attack and defense not making us that vulnerable at the back or making us too slow going forward. These 2 worked our comeback at Old Trafford and they certainly did an amazing job in the middle of the pitch for us today. Mikel did little wrong, made some important challenges and kept Chelsea ticking over nicely in the middle of the pitch.

5. Azpilicueta is class

Now this is one lad who just keeps getting better week in and week out. Another impressive showing from the Spaniard. Was rarely flustered and looked solid all afternoon. He went forward, came back, did all that was expected of him and didn’t get frustrated at all. He is definitely going to be one of the best right backs in Chelsea history in the coming years.

6. Mata can prove to be the difference even when its not his day.

Today, Mata didn’t seem to be having the best of his days but he yet proved to be the difference between Manchester United and us. He provided an assist to Demba Ba which won us the game. If this magician was having his best day, we could have been 2/3-0 up. At times, things just weren’t going right for him today but at the end of the day he still proved to be the difference. Thats his class.

7. Why on earth aren’t we challenging for the title?

Looking at impressive performances like this one and the one away to Manchester United I always wonder why on earth aren’t we challenging for the title. But as we all know there are lot of factors like the sacking of Di Matteo, Rafa, lack of squad depth, only 2 strikers, etc. One thing is for sure; Under a stable management and an experienced manager like Jose Mourinho, this team would be challenging for everything there is to fight for all over the world.

Other points:

1. Ashley Cole will be missed as he has been ruled out for “2 weeks”.

2. Ryan Bertrand is decent back-up material.

I hope you guys enjoyed the article. Since  Ervin couldn’t cover it today because of personal reasons, I did . Do let me know what you guys think of our 1-0 victory over Manchester United and the points I mentioned. Is the FA Cup ours? Ba? Mata? Ashley Cole?…. KTBFFH!

  1. Arjun says

    we arent challenging for the title simply because piazon, mceachran and lukaku are on loan. also, the manager(s)’s insistence on overusing the main side. benayoun, marin, ake all need more chances. and the loaned three would have been super useful all season long. so many players seem exhausted.

  2. Ken says

    This is our future team..is time we started giving lamps n terry less playing minutes

  3. oriabure says

    the truth is that the team need so change like lampard terry they have lost form and let new telented lad in to the team and try to add lukaku to the team and and employ a good manager this team is talented and mata hazard and oscar should work on there finishing

  4. Snowhite Obi says

    You are right there…
    Mikel-Ramires(Pivot),is the BOMB. And Ba,another Drogba. Mata-Hazard and Oscar combination,the BEST in the World.
    But you made a mistake about Cech and Courtois…cos Courtois is extremely good. I think,he’s #1-youngest keeper in the World. And to some extend, I believe,he can be compared to Cech.
    In some areas,Courtois is better than Cech and he can replace Cech in less than a season.
    Another foolish thing Chelsea will do,is to sell Courtois to AT. MADRID because of Falcao.
    Its better to have Courtois in Chelsea,than having 10-Falcaos. Please we should be extremely wise in Transfer Market.
    Its better to have De Bruyne in Chelsea,than Marin…etc.

    1. king elijah imitor says

      nice comment there from obi, you said everything in my mind.

    2. Anonymous says

      good point! Chelsea cannot be that daft to give out Courtois for Falcao…if none of Piazon, Mceachran, Lukaku, De Bryne has not bee loaned.. they will definitely serve fresh legs…but they are so eager (especially Lukaku and Piazon) to take up first team shirt, which is not realistic yet in the current Chelsea team.

      1. Rangle says

        That’s more than seslnbie! That’s a great post!

    3. Andy Mlauiz says

      Any time soon he cannot replace Cech that will never happen,lets not compare La Liga and Premier League guys a lot is happening with English football.So Cech is totally the best than Courtois

  5. Sean says

    I came here after the article “What We Learned: Southampton”, and I am sorry to use the quote of Rafa “Before the international break we played against United, Steaua and West Ham. We were the best in the world. We lost against Southampton and were the worst in the world but today we won and we’re the best. ”

    look at “2. Ryan Bertrand is decent back-up material.” He played badly against the saints and chelsea “had no fit replacement”, then he had a good game against utd and he is a “decent back-up material.” WTF

    1. Anonymous says

      agree with, when we won they change by praising every player who was on field but check once we lost. I can not tell!
      Better make good analysis which you can stand for! we need to get off TOrres get in new striker and bring back Lukaku, then find a good DM + De Bryne for next season. Then after next season , it ll be time to bring in courtois and find cashly’ replacement

  6. ronald says

    A combination of ivanovic and luiz in central defense is the best we can have.
    Lampard,torres and john T should leave space for young players .
    Mourinho and ronaldo would be aperfect signing.

  7. Vaibhav Kumble says

    Ronaldo?? Then y not also buy Falcao and Messi and Ribery.. 300 million pounds should be enuf?? Right??? Every Chelsea fans talk bad about Abramovich as he keeps sacking Coaches and we ourselves have no patience to let the team gel.. We have half a team which is new and we are dumbfounded when we are not challenging for the title! !! This kind of mentality is absolutely ridiculous. . GROW UP.. Keep pateince.. Next season we will be challenging for many trophies… And I keep repeating myself in every article. . Who d fuck says we have to use the stupid 4-2-3-1 formation. ..

  8. Irokotola michael says

    the team we present today is the best team in the league and there is no doubt about that. At the back, the calmness was so great through to the middle where obi was in control to ramirez who s starts our attack to mata., oscar and hazard. Well ba do really tried his best by giving us the goal he scored. Mata should please stop the selfishness in his game and please play more for the team rather than looking for self glory like lamps. The success of the team should be the apex in the heart of every player, mata supposed to be leading with higher margin in the assist ranking if not for his most time selfish play. He is our bestgoal creator, with loads of that accurate killer passes. The goal will come for him easily, if he put his mind together and play as usuall with his team mate. The only through pass to ba is the one that gives us the goal, Why is it that our mf don’t give pass like that of the barcelona that we are copying, this is killing our strikers and we should be scoring many goals but if correction are not made it will be worse even if we bring in a striker from heaven.

  9. king elijah imitor says

    @ronald you mean buying ronald will solve our problem? That’s rubbish if we go should go for ronaldo. The squad is going through a rebuilding process and for me we don’t need a player in the class of ronaldo or falcao, we need raw talent in the world of football, we need our kelvindebrune back, lukaku is also part of our talent we should onto.
    So let’s stop wasting money and resources in buying all these well cooked, baked players.

  10. E says

    I think the best thing we could do with Courtois and Cech is, let Courtois into the first team in 2/3 seasons (like you wrote), but keep Cech as a back-up goalkeeper. It’s not the most revolutionary idea in the world, but I think Courtois could still learn from Cech’s experience, especially in the penalty stopping department. The only goalkeeper I’ve seen that’s stopped penalties with that much “steel” is Buffon, when he stopped a Malta players shot.

    1. king elijah imitor says

      good night to all my chelsea fans wish the blues a great night and I pray we make the top four this season. Keep The Blue Flying High! One Love

  11. Viqta says

    Wow! Uv said it all….just lv da mikel-ramires combination, then the mazacar doing some fantastic job 4 us….then Ba av alwayz trusted him as our main striker….Rafa shud give more tym to our captain JT..

  12. sylvester king says

    Ramires mikel gud combination mazacar gud 2 but dose guys dnt create chances 4 ba all dey do is mata 2 hazard or hazard 2 mata. Ivanovic has loose form.

  13. dozie says

    we aren’t challenging for title because of two reasons. 1. England FA appointed Referee Clattenburg to destroy our dynamic team spirit by robing Chelsea at its own home in favour of Manchester United. That wounded us a lot. 2. Sacking of RDM at the heart of Terry racist saga. Terry went in, turned away from his encouragment role to the young lads and the team collapsed.

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