In what looked like a retaliation chance for the 4-0 humiliation Manchester United meted on Chelsea at the opening of the season, Frank Lampard’s men seemed really enthusiastic when they came out to play against the Red Devils in their Carabao Cup round of 16 final match.
The match which had looked like a battle of who is better saw Chelsea lose again to Manchester United on a 2-1 scoreline, showing Chelsea could have done better with the squad depth. If there was any reason they lost the match, it’s because Ole Gunnar selected the better players from the start of the match while we watched Frank Lampard struggle to get things together and under control, making changes when the game was out of his control.
In all of this, it was interesting to watch the two sides who played with mostly young players show us an entertaining game of football and remind us how great that is to watch.
The match had started on a lively note, both teams struggling to maintain possession of the ball and it would have become a total battle of strength had the referee, Paul Tierney not tried to calm the game down. He booked Scott McTominay a yellow for a lunge at Kovacic 11 minutes into the game while Michy Batshuayi was also booked for a late tackle on Scott McTominay 18 minutes into the game. This helped him regain control and showed the lads who was truly in charge.
The game looked good for Chelsea with a side that looked lively from a great weekend out and it seemed they had it in the bag but after careful evaluation of Pulisic’s threat, Lindelof seemed to have read the American’s game and found a way to block his effectiveness.
Although, Chelsea seemed to be taking charge and largely in possession but their rival continued to grow into the game with Rashford posing a threat to the Blues’ defence and a careless challenge by Marcos Alonso in the 25th minute gave the opponent the edge they needed. A penalty was awarded.
With Marcus Rashford taking it, we were still at least sure he might lose it seeing as he has missed two penalties this season, but he finds the back of the net, crashing the ball low to the left and sending Caballero to the wrong way.
While many may say it wasn’t an obvious foul that warranted a penalty, it was clear Alonso tackled James from the wrong side, enough to knock the Red Devils’ player off balance.
The match had continued in what seemed like a win for the Red Devils. At least, they maintained the one-goal lead into the first half break and well into the second half before Batshuayi picked up a loose ball near the halfway line, after a mix-up between Maguire and Lindelof, and set off towards goal. There were five United defenders on his tail, with no team-mates within 40 yards. He kept running to the edge, shifted the ball to the right and smacked a low curling shot that flashed past Romero.
The game was now balanced. Chelsea was back in the game but Marcus Rashford said ‘Nah’ finding the back of the net from 35 yards out in the 73rd minute when his side was awarded a free-kick for a foul against Fred by Pedro. It was a screamer and it had sealed the game for the Red Devils.
It was a great night out for both sides as they showed class and played really interesting football. The best team won and that saw Chelsea crash out of the Carabao Cup with Manchester United advancing to the quarter-finals.
As much as it seemed Chelsea could have won this with how well they played, football happened.