Manchester United progressed to the Carabao Cup quarter finals, courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Chelsea on Wednesday evening. Wonder goals from Michy Batshuayi and Marcus Rashford will steal all the headlines in a game that transformed from cagey to carefree as it wore on.
The last League Cup encounter between the the two resulted in nine goals and eight scorers in an absolute barn-burner, would lightning strike twice? No! Sadly while the goals were raining in at Anfield, a more tactical affair was unfolding at Stamford Bridge.
A quiet opening 20 minutes meant both the Stamford Bridge faithful and Chelsea Twitter were able to admire Jorginho's talents. It wasn't too long ago that the Italian international was a lightning rod for criticism on Maurizio Sarri stubbornness and N'Golo Kante's positioning but on Wednesday he wore the captain's armband.
First captain's duty of the evening? A well-time tackle as Marcus Rashford led a Manchester United counter attack.
The fans booed him last year. Today the whole of the Bridge is singing his name whilst he’s wearing the armband. What a player Jorginho is.— Igor (@igor7_11) October 30, 2019
The game really needed something to spark it into life, but how? Enter Marcos Alonso, who's double defensive lapse was so naive and clumsy it screamed: 'Entertainment? Hold my beer'.
Chelsea's left back chased Daniel James - who had already collected Alonso's wayward pass - into the box and made enough contact to convince Paul Tierney to blow for a penalty. There wasn't a great deal of contact but a player of that experience should know better than to rush in so hastily, especially against James.
Marcos Alonso is an absolute liability both going forward and especially in defence. A couple of average performances doesn't change that. Emerson can't come back soon enough.— Chelsea Extra 🏆 (@CFCExtra) October 30, 2019
How Chelsea let Jay DaSilva and Ola Aina leave for pennies yet pay Marcos Alonso £100,00 a week is beyond me.— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) October 30, 2019
A different Chelsea emerged for the second half and there was suddenly intent, purpose and desire from Lampard's XI. Callum Hudson-Odoi was guilty of taking his eye off the ball and scuffed a golden chance beyond the post on a night to forget for the England international. A few minutes later the winger was at it again, connecting with a shot that sailed over the bar.
🎙️ @sr_collings: "Chelsea have started the second half with a lot more intent and they could easily have gone ahead through Hudson-Odoi.— Standard Sport (@standardsport) October 30, 2019
"Gilmour looks to be playing further forward too and is having a greater influence on the game."#CHEMUN #CarabaoCuphttps://t.co/qn89hsDd5V
Then Michy Batshuayi went and did what Batman can occasionally do. Manchester United's back three will be sorely disappointed, because they had shackled Chelsea's forwards remarkably until that point but the Belgian simply showed more pace and desire than Harry Maguire.
That was AWFUL from Maguire and Rojo just backed off for Batshuayi's goal.— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) October 30, 2019
That is an excellently taken goal by Batshuayi, however, a defence error from Maguire and Rojo. Romero’s positioning was poor, too. These defensive lapses simply cannot occur in games such as this.— UtdArena. (@utdarena) October 30, 2019
A Chelsea goal was coming...
Fans could only bask in Batshuayi's finish for 12 minutes, because Marcus Rashford unleashed a swerving free-kick from 30 yards and restored United's lead in the 73rd minute. Despite his goal and assist contribution this season, he has come in for criticism and looked a little short of confidence. Well, there were no signs of nerves when he stepped up to that dead ball.
Some were even daring enough to claim it surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo's famous free-kick against Portsmouth...
That Ronaldo free kick against Portsmouth gets played time and time again as a classic! Rashford's was better. We've witnessed something special tonight— Mark Goldbridge (@markgoldbridge) October 30, 2019
Glorious from Rashford.. wow!— Genius (@GeniusMUFC) October 30, 2019
That’s a Ronaldo type of freekick.
That was it for goals, but there was just enough time for a heart-warming close up of Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sharing a joke and smile after witnessing a pair of wonderful strikes.