Talking Points: Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0 – Red Devils spirited, Blues...

Talking Points: Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0 – Red Devils spirited, Blues roll on

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N’Golo Kante’s long-range effort has booked Chelsea’s place at Wembley following a 1-0 victory over a 10-man Manchester United.

Ander Herrera was sent off in the first-half for the Red Devils following two bookable offences on Eden Hazard.

After a host of chances going the home side’s way, Kante made the most of some poor closing down from United to put his side ahead with a lovely curling effort from outside the box.

United’s best chance fell to Marcus Rashford, who broke away in a one-on-one situation with Gary Cahill, getting the better of his England teammate, only for Thibaut Courtois to produce a big save.

Here are the main talking points from Chelsea’s win:

United spirited in defeat, Rashford shows his poise

Despite going down to 10-man in the first half, Jose Mourinho’s side stuck to their guns of a defensive display as they looked to hit back on the counter-attack. A backline of Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling worked in unison to keep the likes of Diego Costa quiet throughout the match. While the Spanish international did see plenty of the ball, Rojo in particular stuck tightly to one of the Premier League’s best strikers in an entertaining duel. Mourinho sent his side out to defend and frustrate the opposition, and while the Blues did dominate the game, United appeared to do exactly that. Despite being down a man, they often forced their hosts into having shots from outside of the box.

At the other end of the pitch, youngster Marcus Rashford was forced to play much of the match due to Herrera’s sending off and he performed the role to a tee. While he did look tired at the end of the match, the England international worked hard, looking to hold up the play on every occasion while chasing any loose balls that came his way. He often dropped back defensively which is sure to please Mourinho, who asks so much of his players.

Can anyone stop Chelsea?

Yet another week, yet another Chelsea victory. The Blues are now primed for a trip to Wembley as they aim to book their place in the FA Cup final come May. In league action the Blues sit 10 points clear of their nearest challenger in Tottenham and have not shown any signs of letting up. The 3-4-3 formation once again worked a treat, as it always seemed the Blues had extra numbers in attack.

Antonio Conte has built a philosophy into this Chelsea side that must be applauded. Every individual player on that pitch knows their role and that is exactly why they are set for title glory this season. Victor Moses is the perfect example. A player who struggled to find his feet under previous managers at the club, now he is one of the unsung heroes of Chelsea’s title charge. The man management of Conte this season has simply been outstanding by keeping his players on their toes as they chase the ultimate success.

Is it time for Paul Pogba to have a rest?

Fans of opposition teams will once again lament the efforts of the Frenchman for his inability to make an impact on a big game, but in reality it is quite difficult for him to when Mourinho sets his side up that way. Often maligned for his defensive abilities this season, Pogba was simply a passenger in a game where United aimed to frustrate their opposition.

He looks a man in need of a week’s rest to get his head right as United prepare for a hectic end to the season as they aim for a return to the Champions League next season.

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