Report: Chelsea 0 United 2
Two first-half headed goals from Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba and an overall brilliant performance gave Manchester United a first win at Stamford Bridge since October 2012, knocking holders Chelsea out of the Emirates FA Cup.
In a fairly open first 20 minutes both goalkeepers were tested; Romelu Lukaku’s teasing low cross from the left was cleared by David Luiz who did well to reach the ball on the stretch to prevent Marcus Rashford tapping in the opener inside two minutes. The Belgian then had an opportunity himself but blazed a volleyed effort over from just by the penalty spot.
It was then Chelsea’s turn to test United, Luiz this time stinging the gloves of Sergio Romero from a free-kick just outside the area. The rebound from the save fell to Pedro but the Argentine was again equal to the effort, smothering well to keep the scores level.
Given the freedom to do so, Lukaku and Rashford constantly switched sides to keep the Chelsea defenders on their toes - with Eden Hazard and Pedro doing the same for the Blues.
It was Chelsea who looked the more likely to open the scoring in the following passages of play, Nemanja Matic and Ashley Young seeing yellow for challenges as we tried to thwart the threat posed by the home side.
Hazard and Sarri’s January signing Gonzalo Higuain then went close either side of a long-range Herrera effort that was well saved by Kepa. Hazard curled a shot just wide from Marcos Alonso’s first-time lay-off on the edge of the box, before Higuain chipped over from a tight angle and then failed to hit the target with a free header in the box.
Herrera made no such mistake with his header for the opening goal, though. Paul Pogba - who'd had a relatively quiet opening half an hour by his standards - had time and space to run into on the left, before bamboozling Antonio Rudiger with a series of step-overs and cutting back onto his right foot to deliver a pinpoint deep cross onto the head of Herrera. The Spaniard nodded the ball back across goal and past his compatriot into the net.
The home fans - relentlessly outsung by the outstanding United faithful - began to get restless after a couple of half-chances came and went without Romero being tested and the Reds’ second just before half-time did nothing to improve their mood.
From a throw-in in our own half, Pogba played Rashford in to space on the right wing, and our no.10 did well to get his head up and deliver an excellent cross for the Frenchman to power home a brilliant diving header.
United were limited to chances on the break in the second half as Chelsea pushed forward to try to get back into the game, but Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw all did well in limiting the Blues to half-chances.
The Reds held firm for the remainder of the game and that makes it seven victories away from home in all competitions for the first time since 2002, putting us into the FA Cup quarter-finals for the fifth consecutive season.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta (c) (Zappacosta 82), David Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic (Barkley 71); Pedro (Willian 58), Higuain, Hazard.
Subs not used: Caballero, Christensen, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud.
Booked: Rudiger, Kante
United: Romero, Young (c), Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Pogba, Herrera, Matic; Mata (Pereira 76), Lukaku (Alexis 73), Rashford (McTominay 90+2).
Subs not used: De Gea, Bailly, Dalot, Fred.
Booked: Matic, Young
Scorers: Herrera 31, Pogba 45
Goalscorer Herrera explains his attacking role
Ander Herrera explains his attacking role, discusses his goal and praises the Reds' three substitutes in our interview…