By Greg Robertson
Chelsea V Man U…. interested? FA Cup QF replay… tempted? If you’re a football fan you’ll be all over this one. Hello and welcome to Stamford Bridge where we have FA Cup action and this one’s a quarter final replay between Chelsea and Manchester United after the first shot turned up a thrilling 2-2 draw.
First it was, Chelsea who got out of jail last time. Eden Hazard and Ramires, in turn, nullified Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney’s efforts earlier. This won’t be the last time this quartet is mention this update, that’s for sure. Then, late, it was Manchester United with an escape of their own thanks to a last minute David De Gea save.
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LIVE COMMENTARY... Chelsea 1 vs 0 Manchester United
FULLTIME: Chelsea knocks Manchester United out of the FA Cup 1-0. ALL VIDEO UP
90+3 MINS: RVP heads over AGAIN! Not like him at all, not even on target. Ba going off now and Torres is coming on for a minute or so.
90 MINS: RVP with a great chance... volleys but it's wide. Well wide.
85 MINS: Strike on goal, or at goal, from Oscar. He's looked good at times today too, but he never looks like he's going to get that one on target. FOUR MINUTES ADDED TIME.
84 MINS: United now starting to chase the game. Firing the killer balls, or at least trying to as van Persie could have caught that last one if he had Usain Bolt's legs... hmmm, a Jamaican/Dutchman, the perfect footballer?
81 MINS: For all the money in the World, for all the tea in China... you would have expected van Persie to nod home an equaliser then. But he, well, missed the ball. Clean miss. He missed well. Altogether.
79 MINS: Ashley Young on for Welbeck now. Straight change as United are looking to deliver balls into the box.
77 MINS: Welbeck's too quick for Azpilicueta and Welbeck's brought down. Yellow card.
74 MINS: Valencia with a strong run and all are backing off him, but his effort's poor - harmlessly 10 yards wide of the left-hand post.
72 MINS: RVP is good and lays off to Valencia who uses the touch of a trampoline to lose possession.
68 MINS: Hazard brilliant until he shot! NEARLY 2-0. Harzard with a magic run, brings the ball down on a dime and then pushes the ball past the post. He should have scored after doing all the hard work. He dragged it wide.
63 MINS: Smalling isn't tight enough on Mata and Mata rips one, finding the side netting. This half has coem to life now. Giggs on, Nani to go.
60 MINS: Ohhh Welbeck with a brilliant ball and a great header from Hernandez and a WORLD CLASS save from Cech. Cleverley's off and RVP is on.
58 MINS: Cleverley is booked for a challenge on Ramires. rash. Chelsea getting on top of this and starting to park in the United half. Bertrand with a card to after being beaten all ends up by Hernandez and he gives the foul away intentionally. Van Persie about to join in on things.
49 MINS: GOAL CHELSEA! And what a goal, Hard with the dribble, off to Mata, chip through and Ba volleys home.
48 MINS: Bertrand swings one in for Ba but he just throws - or flings - a foot at it and it goes through to De Gea.
47 MINS: David Luiz getting physical and checks Phil Jones right on the edge of the area. Free kick. No left footed option, Cech organising a four-man wall, Nani surveys his options. He goes for goal and the wall has done it's job.
UPDATE: Players coming back out onto the pitch.
HALFTIME: 0-0. The best chance of the half coming from Hernandez with a dipping, swerving thing that had Cech beat until he produced a brilliant save with his legs.
45 MINS: Mikel blasts one into Smalling and it flies off for a corner. He should have tried to bend it... De Gea takes the corner to end the half.
43 MINS: Penalty! NO, NOT GIVEN. Nani bursts onto the scene and it looks like Bertrand has pulled him down inside the penalty area but the ref waves play on.
41 MINS: Cech with an AMAZING save! Hernandez let's loose from a long way out and the ball squirms all over the place. Cech's already committed to the left, as the decision was made when the ball was going left. Then it back right and Cech saved with a foot.
39 MINS: Ohh Hazard is looking bright and intelligent in and around that penalty area. He's off, dribbles away - looked the best on the park so far - and then finds Oscar and it falls back to Hazard who hits it first time. It rockets with great swerve, though wide.
38 MINS: Lots of one-twos, but the channell being played is definitely right up the middle. Some width would have this one. Nani strikes! Close... Cech dives to watch it closer and it slides out.
36 MINS: Hazard chases a lost cause and ends up winning the corner, the result was a long-range Ramires shot that lacked power... and even nearly on target.
35 MINS: Nani's down holding his face after Mikel catches him with an accidental fling of the hand as he tries to make away with the ball. The magic water is out an curing all problems.
34 MINS: David Luis strikes well over the bar from a dead ball position. The foul wasn't much, and the shot matched.
32 MINS: De Gea with his legs with a great save! Chelsea fires into action and Hazard with a little touch to his right gives Ba the chance to strike, low, hard and De Gea spreads in emphatic fashion.
29 MINS: Man U wins a free kick and suddenly Chelsea's Cech has to spring into action to come and punch away.
26 MINS: Cleverly spreads one across the face of goal where it's swept away by Ivanovic. Hmm, does that count as a highlight? It verges on it...
24 MINS: Good point made... who's in goal for Manchester United and Chelsea? Haven't seen either of them so far.
22 MINS: Plenty warming up on the sidelines for both teams... Chelsea will be hoping they don't have to dip any further into their stocks anytime soon.
21 MINS: Interesting game we have... it's absorbing, yet there's yet to be a 'highlight' as you'd put it. Lot's of probing for holes, passing about, back and forth And then United breaks and Nani tries to find Hernandez but it's not a good pass. Ashley Cole has done his hamstring. That will be his day. He's getting treatment but no treatment in the world will see him carry on. Ryan Bertrand replaces Cole. Blow for Chelsea.
17 MINS: As Ba is bundled over by Smalling, you get the feeling that United's starting to get on top in terms of stringing sharp passes together.
15 MINS: Phil Jones and Hernandez double team Hazard and the whistle's blown in favour of Chelsea. Nothing on goal as yet. Actually, no real chances. This is a bit of chess, shifting pawns about, trying to win the shape battle.
13 MINS: Hernandez scampers to get a long ball, off to Phil Jones and it's broken down early just as it was looking promising... Cole then does the same at the other end to start something. Chelsea pull back, deciding to keep possession. Luis then tries to thread a needle but it was read by Smalling.
8 MINS: Hernandez looks to find Cleverley first time but Ivanovic gets in the way. United a little broken coming forward, still trying to find the fluidity to turn defence into attack. Early doors. But a fairly even start to date.
6 MINS: The ball's swung in toward Hernandez , via Carrick, but it's just over his head on the jump. Oh there's some delicious switch ball there from Chelsea... and now United's touches - Evra, Welbeck - pure.
3 MINS: United's Nani skips away from Mikel and then offs it to Valencia on his outside but some strong defensive work by Chris Smalling puts paid to the endeavour.
1 MINS: We're underway and the atmosphere is a ripper in The Bridge. High spirits. Chelsea has spread well early, and grabbed a good shape in the midfield. Plenty of early ball to feet as they search for an early way through the United defence.
Six changes for Chelsea since the last. Seven changes for Manchester United and NO WAYNE ROONEY.
And not Chelsea and Manchester United are making their way out onto the pitch, we're just a couple of minutes away from the off. Shaking hands.
Teams are in.. see below.
I'm getting super excited for this one... just love the FA Cup. One of my most strongest childhood memories is getting up in the middle of the night (our time here in NZ) for the FA Cup final. Marmite and toast. It was a pinnacle for me. And this one, albeit a quarter final replay, has got plenty to offer if not as much... though it's not as exciting as Marmite now being back on our shelves here in New Zealand... shortage. Ran out. "Aggghhh," screamed Kiwis with many a refusal to switch to Vegemite... anyways.
Kick off is not far away but in the mean time watch Manchester United V Chelsea at Old Trafford in the first tie.
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Hazard, Oscar, Mata, Ba. Subs: Turnbull, Lampard, Torres, Moses, Terry, Benayoun, Bertrand
Man Utd: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Nani, Welbeck, Hernandez. Subs: Lindegaard, Giggs, Young, van Persie, Powell, Kagawa, Vermijl.
It looked to be a canter. It looked like true north was correct, and Manchester United were heading into a semi final FA Cup tie with relative ease, when 2-0 up at Old Trafford.
Enter Eden Hazard. Enter Ramires. And Chelsea even went close to winning.
But that 2-2 draw has set up a mouth-watering football replay, this time at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge turf.
For this one, United have question marks to answer on Paul Scholes and Phil Jones while Chelsea will see the likes of Ashley Cole, David Luiz and Ramires return after missing the English Premier League loss to Southampton.
Don’t expect the away ground advantage to kick in today. United have proved they can match it – better it – with the best when on the road this season.
But Chelsea likes their turf. Of the last seven at The Bridge, they’ve won six.
Legendary Man U manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been shuffling his squad like an expert croupier.
Now targeting the double, after the Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid, Ferguson’s been working at getting his top side back on course.
After the Chelsea first tie draw, he was concerned at the weariness of his players and said so.
“I thought we were lucky to be honest with you,” said the United boss. “I think that tiredness had got into some parts of the team. And from a comfortable position for the first 20 minutes you could see us before half-time that we started giving the ball away and that is a definite sign of tiredness.
“I think the tiredness possibly came from the emotional intensity of the Real Madrid game and also the way in which we lost it,” Ferguson said.
“I think it affected two or three players in the second half - Tom Cleverley in particular - and our two full-backs’ legs had gone.”
Ferguson, now with less on his football plate, has likely addressed this.
And because of it, United will go in as firm favourites
So the blowtorch now turns on Rafa Benitez to gee up his players for today’s match – the second of four in an eight day period.
But, Benitez is confident saying his side “can compete” with United.
“We play at a level we played two weeks ago we can beat anyone. It's a question of everybody being focused and not making mistakes,” says Benitez.