Talking Numbers: A Deeper Dive Into FA Cup Semifinal Beating

Manchester United’s Sunday at Wembley turned out to be a disastrous one. Chelsea beat them 3-1 in a dismantling fashion, getting the better of them in yet another FA Cup semifinal. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side was never in control and never looked like a team that could go on to win. Frank Lampard managed to make his team hungry, concentrated and disciplined enough to finally get his first win over Man United as Chelsea manager.

This was the fourth encounter this season between the two sides and after three losses, it looks like Chelsea have taken the most important of them all. United beat Chelsea both times in the league, but the fact that Chelsea are still ahead of the Devils in the standings tells that those victories do not have to be crucial in final standings.

Now, here are the things we have learned from this match after looking at some other numbers.

Chelsea Get Themselves Into Good Positions

Chelsea have had their luck to score after 55 minutes of play in the first half – following a lenthy injury time, that does not happen very often – but they were not lucky in the way they created chances and the way they have gotten themselves into right opportunities. They have made 13 shots to David De Gea, but four of them came from the inside or the edge of the six yard box. Only a handful of shots came from distance and even that one turned out to be the second goal of the match, when no one really bothered to block Mason Mount’s strike.

United’s defence was often left too open, with the centre-backs’ positioning being all over the place, allowing Chelsea’s forwards to get the ball into dangerous areas. That is, after all, what led to Harry Maguire’s own-goal.

Man United, on the other hand, were completely the opposite. They were never a danger for Caballero’s goal and some of the few shots made came from very low-quality chances.

James Unable To Make A Difference

Daniel James’ first Premier League match came on his Man United debut against Chelsea. It was that match which ended up being a 4-0 beating, with James scoring the last goal with a lovely strike. He was electrifying in that game for the time he was on the pitch. But this time it was a completely different story, with James starting up front in a 3-4-1-2 formation, alongside Marcus Rashford. With neither player not being an out-and-out striker, it was obvious Solskjaer was looking for speed on the break rather than anything else.

But James was unable to make a difference. He failed to record a single shot, a dribble and he made just 24 touches of the ball, only three of them coming in the wide ares of the penalty area. James was nowhere near being dangerous, but to be completely fair, it is not something that should be solely put onto his shoulders. The play behind him was also not good enough and that is not his ideal position. Nevertheless, James has been lacking in performances for a while now.

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