Chelsea 5 Man United 4: Lessons as Di Matteo’s men win in extra-time
Chelsea 5 Man United 4: What did we learn as Roberto Di Matteo's men showed great resilience to win the cup tie in extra-time?
Chelsea’s pursuit of Victor Moses in the summer transfer window was much-publicised, as Wigan desperately tried to keep the winger. After rejecting four bids, the Lancashire side eventually accepted an offer believed to be in the region of £9m, but it was clear to see why Roberto Di Matteo was so keen to secure his services. The 21-year-old proved to be a constant threat to visiting full-back Alexander Buttner, as the former Crystal Palace youngster showed a mix of pace and strength. His first significant contribution came after 30 minutes as a twisting run forced the Dutch defender to trip him in the penalty area. There was more to come from the Nigeria international in the second period, with goal-scoring opportunities presenting themselves. On 65 minutes, he headed over from Eden Hazard’s floated cross before shooting straight at Anders Lindegaard just ten minutes later. The best chance came with nine minutes of extra-time remaining but he couldn’t take advantage of Daniel Sturridge’s neat through-ball as the keeper kept a left-footed shot out. Although ousting Hazard and Juan Mata from their slots in the first 11 will be a difficult task, Moses showed that he definitely has the class to trouble top-class defenders.
Anderson shows his class
After producing an impressive display in the 2-1 victory over Newcastle in the previous round of this competition, the Brazil midfielder once again illustrated the ability he possesses. The 24-year-old will undoubtedly have shown Sir Alex Ferguson that he is deserving of more chances in the starting line-up. Much like experienced midfield counterparts Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher, Anderson showed that his game is well rounded in all areas. Attacking play was the area that stuck out the most against the Blues, as he set up both of the Red Devils’ strikes in the first half. After 21 minutes, he pounced on Petr Cech’s ill-advised short pass to steal the ball from Spaniard Oriel Romeu and set up Giggs, who comfortably tucked the opener away. It was a case of dejà vu three minutes before the break as his precise pass found Javier Hernández, and the Mexican converted with an impressive left-foot finish. He completed a perfect trio of assists in the second half as neat build-up play ended with his pass to Nani, who chipped over the advancing keeper. Although it proved to be in vain, his performance for the four-time winners was a shining light on a night that which eventually ended in disappointment for the Manchester club.
Hernández haunts Chelsea – again
Much was made of the striker’s impressive record against these opponents in the build-up to the match, and the 24-year-old didn’t disappoint. His starting opportunities have been affected by the arrival of Dutchman Robin van Persie, with an array of talent now available in United’s striking department. After netting the controversial winner in Sunday’s 3-2 victory on this ground, he repeated the trick with yet another strike against the Londoners. Di Matteo’s team must be sick of seeing the Mexican’s name on the team sheet as he has now notched six goals in just nine appearances against the league’s current table toppers. It also continued a good run of form for the striker, who has now netted a quartet of goals in his last three appearances. He also showed an ability to set up others by playing his part in the intricate passing move which led to the visitors’ third goal. It wasn’t all smiles for Hernández though as he struck an effort over the top in the 60th minute after an initial shot was deflected into his path. Recent displays are sure to have given his manager some food for thought, with crucial games against Arsenal and Braga coming up.
Chelsea defenders show their attacking mettle
Before this fourth-round tie, the hosts had hit 37 goals in 15 games this season, with 14 different names on the score sheet. Five of the players on that list were defenders, with the likes of Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz and Gary Cahill appearing on it. They once again made their mark in the attacking third of the pitch in this Capital One Cup encounter, with another pair of goals being added. Firstly, Luiz squeezed home a spot-kick in the first half after before Cahill followed suit with a towering header from Mata’s teasing cross as the former Bolton centre-back made it five for the 2012/13 campaign. Incredibly, Cesar Azpilicueta could have made it a hat-trick of scoring defenders in the 69th minute, but he somehow managed to head over the bar from a close-range position. Cahill came mightily close to doubling his tally in the first period of extra time, but he nodded Oscar’s free-kick delivery past the post. His Brazilian counterpart was even closer soon after, with a free-kick crashing off the crossbar before coming back out off the helpless Lindegaard. After being solid in the early part of the season, the security of the back-line in the defensive third has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with a number of errors being made and ten goals leaked in their last four games. Their ability to contribute goals at the other end could prove to be a vital commodity as the season wears on, even if it leaves the defensive coaches searching for ways to tighten things up.