Chelsea’s abysmal month continued Monday with a 2-0 loss to Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The defending champions got a rematch of last year’s final with a much different result this time around. United out classed the blues in their own stadium to the dismay of thousands of fans.
A brilliant Paul Pogba performance showed why he is one of the best midfielders in the world. The French phenom bossed the midfield along with Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera. The two combined to score the first goal of the match from a beautiful Pogba cross. Yet again, Chelsea left back Marcos Alonso and center back David Luiz were to blame due to their poor communication and defending skills. Both have been criticized all season for their inability to track back and defend properly against some of the Premier League’s greats. This was the case as we saw Alonso lose track of Herrera in the box for a free header which led to the first goal.
Just seconds before half time, United struck again. Much like the first goal, Alonso and Luiz were to blame. Pogba was able to split the two defenders with a great through ball down the wing to Marcus Rashford. Alonso was unable to track the speedy winger and Luiz took the wrong route to close him down and deny him space to cross. The young play-maker then whipped in a beautiful cross back to Pogba, who ran past several Chelsea players from midfield, for a towering header to take a decisive 2-0 lead.
This was United’s first away win at Chelsea in their last 10 matches against the London side. With Chelsea crashing out of the FA Cup and in sixth place in the league, some serious changes need to be made. A defensive overhaul or a change in mindset is drastically needed. The players don’t seem to be motivated to play at their highest level. Is this manager Maurizio Sarri’s fault, or does is come down to the players? Either way, something needs to change and fast.
There have been reports in the past week that former Real Madrid player and manager Zinedine Zidane could take over the manager role from Sarri. Zidane’s apparent conditions for managing the club include a transfer budget of 200 million euros and for Belgian superstar Eden Hazard to stay at the club. Zidane has also reportedly requested that he works closely with club director Marina Granovskaia to develop a squad he thinks is capable of winning titles.
Chelsea don’t have much time to make a comeback in the league and secure a Champions League spot for next year. As of right now, it looks doubtful that they will even be able to compete for a Europa League spot. Serious changes are needed, and they’re needed now.