The Blues have secured their place in the final of the FA Cup, after beating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United in style – slotting three plast the Red Devils in a convincing 3-1 win at Wembley. Chelsea will now face Arsenal in the long-awaited final in two weeks time, with Frank Lampard’s side hoping to get revenge over their London rivals. However, before we get into that, here are the five things we learnt from our semi-final victory.
Olivier Giroud: The Man for the Occasion
We’ll say it once, we’ll say it twice, we’ll say it three times… Olivier Giroud has been on flying form recently and continues to show why he is Lampard’s current first choice when it comes to strikers. Just like previous games, Giroud once again stepped up to the occasion and put in a superb performance against United, putting the Blues ahead just before half-time. The Frenchman was able to get ahead of United’s defence, picking up Cesar Azpiliceuta’s cross and comfortably flicking it past David De Gea. His physicality was vital during the game, and the 33-year-old’s experience and power meant he was able to confidently lead Chelsea’s attack, helping us to secure the crucial win.
The Captain Steps Up
It’s fair to say that Azpilicueta has been underrated this season, with the Spaniard quietly putting in class performances over the campaign. On Sunday, the captain played an important role for the Blues – assisting Giroud’s opener and demonstrating both his attacking and defensive qualities. The 30-year-old was able to break free in the final moments of the first half, running down the right flank and delivering a clever cross for the striker. He worked exceptionally well in the back three system, proving why he is so important to this Chelsea side.
Credit to the Other Centre-Backs
However, Azpilicueta wasn’t the only central defender who had an excellent game for Chelsea at the weekend. You heard that right – both Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma also played their part in Chelsea’s latest victory. The two put in a solid defensive performance and appeared confident when going up against United’s attack. Rudiger’s pace meant he was able to effectively defend against the likes of Rashford and the German international also played a big part in the final Chelsea goal. It’s also worth mentioning that Reece James had a great game. Despite looking shaky since the restart, the youngster was back to his best – working as one of Chelsea’s main attacking threats.
Mateo Kovacic: A Class Act
Arguably the best player of the season, Mateo Kovacic put in another world-class performance on Sunday. The Croatian worked well alongside Jorginho in midfield, putting in some crucial tackles alongside the Italian. He won the ball back on several occasions and looked comfortable during the entirety of the match. Although the 26-year-old had another great game, it’s worth noting that every Chelsea player put in an excellent performance, with not one man in blue having a disappointing game.
Frank Lampard Gets it Spot On
It was only a week ago we were criticising Lampard’s tactics against the Blades. However, this time round, the boss got it spot on – and simply outclassed Ole’s United. The former Chelsea player reverted back to a 3-4-3 with Marcos Alonso and James able to run up the wings. Lampard has opted for three centre-backs in the past and it worked perfectly in Sunday’s clash, leaving the United boss absolutely clueless. We must give credit to Lampard for his excellent choice in tactics at the weekend, with the boss also able to rest Christian Pulisic for the upcoming matches.