Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho overrun in midfield as listless Chelsea dumped from the FA Cup
Goals from Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba helped Manchester United avenge last season's FA Cup final defeat by dumping Chelsea out of the competition in the fifth round, winning by a score of 2-0 on another torrid night for Maurizio Sarri.
Chelsea still have the Carabao Cup final to look forward to next week ... against the Manchester City team that put six goals past them without reply a week ago.
Chelsea's defending in the middle third of the pitch was woeful, allowing United's midfielders to run riot. This was also the night that Stamford Bridge's exasperation with Sarri's tactical inflexibility and predictable substitutions turned toxic. It is difficult to see how he repairs the relationship now.
Manager rating out of 10
1 -- Sarri made a pre-match statement by sticking with his regular starting XI, and his regulars let him down. But what could really doom him is the fact that once behind, his unwillingness to even tweak his approach means he is helpless to positively impact matches from the bench. As ever, his substitutions were utterly predictable and utterly ineffective -- and the final change, bringing on Davide Zappacosta while Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi watched, was incomprehensible.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 4 -- Probably his worst game in a Chelsea shirt. Narrowly avoided presenting the ball to Marcus Rashford with a loose touch from a Cesar Azpilicueta back pass, then should have saved Pogba's header. Has generally looked solid since arriving at Stamford Bridge last summer, but we're still waiting to see evidence that he can be a genuine difference-maker.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 4 -- Got forward regularly but the quality of his crossing was poor. Also failed to prevent Pogba clipping in the cross from his flank that broke the deadlock, though Azpilicueta was far from the only man culpable.
DF Antonio Rüdiger, 5 -- Did reasonably well one-on-one with Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku, but could do nothing to prevent United's midfield runners from winning the game. Looks a frustrated figure in this system.
DF David Luiz, 5 -- United delivered an early warning sign when he was forced to clear Lukaku's low cross with Rashford lurking, and he was caught under the ball for both of United's goals. Stung the palms of Sergio Romero with a swerving free kick in the first half.
DF Marcos Alonso, 3 -- The mysterious disappearance of his previously good chemistry with Eden Hazard on the left flank makes him a shadow of the player who became a cult favourite at Stamford Bridge. Was left exposed by Mateo Kovacic for United's first goal, but Rashford exploited the space behind him for United's second.
MF N'Golo Kante, 5 -- Played arguably Chelsea's best pass of the night when he almost slipped in Pedro, but all too often United were happy to let him have the ball in advanced positions and he was not equipped to punish them. He was also too high up to address the defensive issues behind him.
MF Jorginho, 3 -- Played in Gonzalo Higuain with one nice lofted pass, but more often was forced to look sideways or backward by United's pressing. It never ceases to be startling how little protection he provides his defence, underlined here on both United goals.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 2 -- For the second time in three days, the runner he did not track scored against Chelsea. Found himself drawn toward the ball rather than sticking to Herrera in the build-up to United's first goal, and his weak midfield challenge set in motion the visitors' second. Has produced very little this season to suggest his loan move from Real Madrid should be made permanent.
FW Pedro, 5 -- Got precious few opportunities to attack space once United took the lead, but he did cause panic in the visiting defence when Kante's incisive through ball caused a collision that almost injured Romero. Substituted for Willian.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 4 -- Showed only flashes of the good movement that has characterised his promising start to life in a Chelsea shirt, and his touch in the penalty area deserted him. Did not trust his left foot when played through by Hazard's flick and was dispossessed as a result.
FW Eden Hazard, 5 -- United did a good job of fouling him whenever it looked like he was heading anywhere dangerous with the ball at his feet, and his best attempt on goal was deflected just over. Frequently resorted to solo dribbles in the second half.
FW Willian, 5 -- Brought on for Pedro in the 58th minute. His only notable contribution was a series of corners that led to nothing.
MF Ross Barkley, N/R -- Introduced in place of -- you guessed it -- Kovacic in the 71st minute, he made no impact.
DF Davide Zappacosta, N/R -- An inexplicable final substitution for Azpilicueta when Sarri had multiple attacking options left on his bench.