What We Learned: Manchester United

United came flying out of the traps and led 2-0 after just 11 minutes but rather lost their way afterwards and can have no complaints at having to do it all over again at Stamford Bridge. Rafael Benitez was jeered by the Chelsea fans as he made a double substitution in the second half but one of those he introduced – Hazard – sparked the comeback and Ramires secured the replay for the Blues. Chelsea were comeback kings at Old Trafford as they phenomenally rebounded from a 2-0 deficit at halftime to force a replay. The match finished 2-2 and after a nervy start, the 2nd half was all Chelsea. The first half was one to forget as we conceded 2 goals early and then wasted a few great chances, the 2nd half was pure domination and in the words of Ian Wright “I’ve never seen Manchester United dominated like this at Old Trafford”.

Scorers : 

What We Learned : 

1. John Obi Mikel must start

2. Defensive instability

3. Crossing has been miserable

4. Lack of clinicality is costing us

5. Hazard has to start in big games

1. John Obi Mikel must start : 

Mikel came off the bench along with Hazard changed the game. He took control of midfield and was key in the Blues’ fightback. He shut down many United attacks and was very calm and composed on the ball as he picked out a pair of good passes and eliminated some of the pressure United put on our midfield. John Obi Mikel is, at the moment, our only true holding midfielder and he showed that. His play was brilliant and although Hazard’s substitution was more effective, Mikel’s performance was underrated because he played a huge part in the revival.

2. Defensive instability :

From the start, we saw it. The defensive mixup began early and it cost us. Cech, Cahill and Azpilicueta were at fault for the first goal as Hernandez peeled away from Azpilicueta and Cahill and then Cech came too far off his line allowing Chicharito to brilliantly lob him with a header. 7 minutes later, Moses made a poor foul on Nani and that free kick was poorly defended (although accurately placed) and Cech was exploited as he couldn’t make a decision fast enough and was barely beaten by Rooney’s clinical freekick. We also struggled with other United attacks in the 1st half. Nonetheless, we must tightened up in the back… John Terry anyone?

3. Crossing has been miserable :

We haven’t had the best crossing in recent years, especially in the full back positions. Cole and Azpilicueta were beyond horrible when crossing, often missing everyone in the box. The lack to pick out a body in the middle or at least get something from the cross cost us dearly as many times, we had several good headers in the box. The corners were just as disappointing – Mata, Hazard and Oscar struggled to find a Chelsea player in the box. We certainly had good headers available at times, but our failure to pick them out resulted in missed opprotunities. Several times, we had the winger and full back passing back and forth as neither of them wanted to cross the ball. The heading ability of Demba Ba, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, etc. was not utilized.

4. Lack of finishing ability is costing us :

How many chances did we not take? You put your palm on your face when you realize how many we wasted. It was a shame, but just like against West Brom – we didn’t take them. It’s something that sets you back, your goal difference suffers, your ability to close a game suffers and your hopes suffer. We could of easily defeated United by 3 or 4, maybe even more. Mata was tragically denied by the foot of David De Gea at the end and Ashley Cole was fatally slow to shoot in the box right at the death. Even in the first half, Demba Ba, Frank Lampard and Victor Moses missed glorious chances to give us a goal back. It was painful to watch as several Chelsea players didn’t test the goalkeeper or take their chances.

5. Hazard has to start in big games : 

Him and Mikel were brought on during Lampard’s departure and arrived to a chorus of boos. Turned them to cheers moments later with a goal of pure quality to kick-start Chelsea’s revival. Eden Hazard was the most effective player in the match, his presence after coming on had Rafael struggling. His pace, ability to run at defenders, pick out a few passes and test the goalkeeper was something that was missing in the first half. If he started, I can only imagine what the result would of been. Hazard was at his “start of the season form” today and it was evident what he brings to Chelsea. After that performance, Sir Alex Ferguson must be furious at himself to not sign Hazard. Luckily for us, Hazard is our player and one of the best. Unfortunatly, he didn’t play today and that nearly cost us dearly if not for his amazing performance after coming on for Lampard.

6. Lampard doesn’t belong in the double pivot : 

Why Frank Lampard started alongside Ramires today was beyond me. He has never been a good holding midfielder as he is naturally an attacking midfielder and that was evident today. Lampard went forward without thinking and it exposed us to United counter attacks and when defending, many players got around him with ease and used his lack of defending to push forward even more. Combine all that with Ramires’ style of play, it’s suicidal. It punished us and we could of bowed out of the FA Cup to our rivals if not for John Obi Mikel’s performance. As I said earlier, Mikel was very effective and played real well while allowing Chelsea to get back into the match. While I’d like Mikel-Luiz in the double pivot, Mikel-Ramires is all that bad either, but Lampard in the double pivot is a horrible idea. Lampard also wasted a chance to get Chelsea back into the game when drilling a shot into De Gea’s arms following good work from Mata. Subbed to howls of derision when the scoreline was 2-0 to United.

Other Points : 

1. Torres’ time is ticking

2. Oscar is very inconsistent

3. John Terry must play

  1. Ken says

    Is time lamps started coming on from the bench..he’s killing us with his selfish play

    1. pertaub says

      i totally agree lamps is a natural attacking midfielder but with the likes of oscar and mata no way he can get this number 10 role..and for the pivot luiz and mikel are way better..lamps need to be more of a super sub!

      1. EKVR says

        Yeah, Lampard was very wasteful as Ken said.. often could of picked out a pass, but never did. And as Pertaub said, we could utilize him a big differently. I’d suggest a Ryan Giggs/Scholes role for Lampard until his contract ends.then I’d let him leave.

  2. Dave says

    Thats why i feel its the right time for lampad to go,i know he has done so much for the club but sometimes its too necessary to let go.

    1. EKVR says

      Well said plus, we’re becoming too reliant on him as well.

  3. xtian says

    I don’t know why Benitez does this but I believe that Moses must play along side Hazard to get inspired. Mikel is decent as usual but the best holding midfielder we have and one of the best in the world cuz according to Wenger, there are no better DM in the market. Good game since we finally woke up nd rose to the occasion. KTBFFH

    1. EKVR says

      Moses was wasteful today (just like Ba, Lampard, etc). He’s got pace, but he lacks finishing and composure. I do prefer him over Oscar though (on the wing, that is)

  4. Anonymous says

    hey admin i dnt think it is a fact that mikel must start but i do believe starting ramires and lamps does not compliment each other…both of them love attacking so when only one of them has the chance to go forward i think they try to force it while mikel allows the other play to roam as much as he wants

    1. EKVR says

      Well, Mikel-Lampard doesn’t work either and since Mikel-Ramires worked pretty well today and Ramires isn’t a natural holding midfielder… Mikel is the only one left. Luiz is a good substitute to Mikel, tho.

  5. Ken says

    We hv to let lamp go so that the younger midfielders can sprout n blossom

  6. Bitto raphael says

    Lamps mux go 4sure, then let Kelvin de Bruyne

  7. Zane says

    Lampard still plays a big role in the squad and ofcourse in the few years to come (that’s if the board reach and agreement with him) but should accept a bit part role and a one year rolling contract like Giggs and Scholes. I sense that he isn’t in form at the moment though.

    When Mikel came on,the team had shape and that was the turning point in the game. Physicality and a defensive mindset is a major factor in football when it comes to having a proper screen infront of your backline. Mikel isn’t always my favourite player in this role but was outstanding when he came on. Lampard kinda had a look of disgust when he came of lol.

    I wouldn’t say Oscar is inconsistant lately. The whole team was poor in the first half and he played a key role in the draw with better decisions and passing. He owned his compatriot Rafael.

    Ba was flying at Newcastle this season before we bought him. How many goals does he have for Chelsea in these three months? Do the tactical math and realise the problem isn’t with our strikers.

    1. Vaibhav Kumble says

      Thank you.. get falcao or anybody. And still it wont work cause the right pass to the striker is rarely made or never made..

    2. King24 says

      Very true. The midfield trio ain’t giving first time through balls to the striker and instead choose to dally on the ball or pass it sideways and that’s bloody hurting our strikers because they ain’t got nothing to feed on. Mata, Hazard and Oscar seriously need to start watching how Ozil plays for Real and learn to do something he does which is playing a f***ing through ball when the striker makes the run.

  8. king elijah says

    I love to watch the replay over and over again. Big ups to mikel and hazard today. They really made my day cos I was thinking had it been they defeated us what would have happened? But thank God rafa was able to make a quick sub. Expecting united here at the bridge. One love to the entire blue family.

  9. Slim says

    Dats just it lampard is just tergeting his goal record instead of helping d team wen u re nt a striker u re being stingy,wat should now happen 2 d striker den ad hey dont write Torres off just yet we saw wat demba ba did ,wat nothing,he cant drift ad he just stay at d 9 he is nt even involve in d build up ply i dont no y u ppl say dis guy is so good dan Torres. Take a look at wat he did wen he was brought uphe pressurise d man utd defence ad almost got a goal ad wait hw many shot did ba had totally since his time at chelsea *angry* bt he is probarbly a area ball striker like carroll. And 4 d doubble pivot roll i said it b4 mikel-ramires.Mikel holding midfielder(has pass,vision ad he is calm ad help defence) while ramires box – box midfielder (has energy,speed and strenght ad knows wen 2 come back) so dats wat we should have 4 games, Finally hazard is chelsea nt mata well de must function 2geda. Is hazard performs means mata is d best 10 dat match(which he is) oscar well d team must be swap. Oscar must nt get 10. Role bt he is nt getting d wing do bt anyhow d coach sees it. Cross we have d players 2 do dis job, cole has it 2much, dave gat it bt dont no wat is wrong do bt de have der reasons cos wen de did it just air balls we lost agains *speaua*(hope dats correct) so we re getting it do. And Benitez must be accurate in his selection

  10. Langy says

    Mikel and Oscar should hit the gym to improve their speed and strength.
    Other clubs will fear us more if we muscle up hehe
    I just loved our pressing in the second half!!
    And I agree with everything you wrote.

    1. vaakmeisster says

      er langy, mikel should go for strenght training? Mikel is one of the strongest footballers in the world. Maybe he needs speed training though

  11. Vaibhav Kumble says

    The problem is not lampard.. the prob is the position he is playing… for me, we dont have the players to play the 4-2-3-1.. we are better suited for a 4-3-3..
    Azpi Cahill Terry Cole
    Ramirez Lampard
    Mata Torres Hazard

  12. Ken says

    Who makes the right passes? Is not the work of lampard, look controlling the centre isnt all abt goal scoring but rather giving the ryt passes which lamps aint doing ryt now..too much player power is killing cfc n the fans aint helping matter with those silly booings..how can someone boo a coach cos he removed lamps..gosh!! Get a life guys

  13. Ben okute says

    I tink Rafa should have gotten his 1st eleven rather dan rotate players evyday. Kudos to mikel,hazard was unpredictable and thanks to ramirez for dat finish. Hope we gv united more headache wen dy visit 4d replay.

  14. Abishaek says

    Chelsea will play better if we Change the formation to 4-1-3-2=CECH,Azpilicueta,Terry,Luiz,Cole,Mikel,Oscar,Mata,Hazard,Ba and Torres

    1. Vaakmeisster says

      This formation only works with wide midfielders with high defensive workrate. The only players that are decent in this role Ramires, Betrand and Moses. As u see all we have are wingers-all attack no defense. If we use Oscar, Hazard, Mata in this role, we Mikel will suffer

  15. joshua says

    rafa must stay

  16. Slim says


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