Chelsea vs Manchester United was the lone Premier League battle in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Maurizio Sarri’s beleaguered Chelsea team were dumped out of the cup by two first-half Manchester United goals. The loss has put Sarri firmly on thin ice as Chelsea fan patience is wearing out due to Sarri’s predictability in the team setup.
The match provided an interesting situation in how Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solksjær would tactically prepare his team against the stubborn Chelsea system. Two items of tactical significance caught the eye. The first was Manchester United’s clear plan of attacking the Chelsea defence. The second was Manchester United’s changing of defensive focus based on the game state. Using statistics and tactical analysis we will look at these two tactical issues.
Chelsea trotted out the expected 4-3-3 formation. The midfield was anchored by Jorginho with Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante higher up the pitch. New signing Gonzalo Higuain got the start in the central forward position flanked by Eden Hazard and Pedro. Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, and Marcos Alonso comprised the back line with Kepa Arrizabalaga was in goal.
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