Two errors from David de Gea proved costly as Chelsea beat Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley to book a place in the FA Cup final.
Eleven minutes into first-half stoppage time after Eric Bailly had received lengthy treatment for a nasty-looking head injury, Olivier Giroud scored his 16th FA Cup goal to give Chelsea the lead, with questions lingering over whether De Gea should have done better.
Those naysayers who insist De Gea is in permanent decline were out in force less than a minute into the second half as the Spaniard let Mason Mount’s speculative effort squirm through his hands to allow Chelsea to double their lead.
United look shorn of the attacking vigour they have shown of late. Harry Maguire’s 74th minute own goal completed a miserable afternoon, with Bruno Fernandes’ late penalty a mere consolation as the Blues earned the semi-final win that means they will make their third FA Cup final appearance in four seasons when they take on Arsenal on August 1.
'Should have saved it' - Man Utd boss Solskjaer admits De Gea cost them in FA Cup defeat
With 48 hours less preparation time than their opponents having only beaten Crystal Palace on Thursday night, United looked sluggish from the off, even though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a few changes, with Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial dropping to the bench.
Both sides switched to a three-at-the-back system, and it was Chelsea who adjusted much, much better, with Reece James testing De Gea from distance early on.
It took until late, late into the first half for Giroud to pounce as he darted ahead of Victor Lindelof before guiding the ball into the net, through De Gea, with the United goalkeeper even more brittle as he failed to keep out Mount's strike moments after the interval.
There was no way back for a jaded United from there, as Maguire's own goal, from trying to beat Antonio Rudiger to a low cross, ended their meek resistance. United's 19th penalty of the season mattered little as their 19-match unbeaten run came to an abrupt end.
Is the end nigh for De Gea as United No 1? In the goalkeeper department, Manchester United are set for many, many years. David de Gea, who has been one of the best goalkeeper in the world in recent times, is still young for a goalkeeper, and no longer has desires to seek pastures new. Then, there is a ready-made replacement in Dean Henderson waiting in the wings. The question is, after two further errors added to a string of De Gea mistakes this season at Wembley, will Henderson get his chances sooner than expected?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Olivier Giroud (Chelsea): A real striker's performance from the Frenchman, who defied his age to give United problems all afternoon with his clever movement. He loves the FA Cup - only Sergio Aguero has scored more goals in the competition - with his Indian summer containing. He deserved his goal for his movement with United unable to cope.
Manchester United: De Gea 4, Wan-Bissaka 5, Lindelof 4, Bailly 5, Maguire 4, Williams 5, Matic 5, Fred 4, Fernandes 6, James 5, Rashford 5... Subs: Fosu-Mensah 6, Pogba 5, Martial 5, Ighalo 6, Greenwood 5
Chelsea: Caballero 7, James 7, Rudiger 7, Zouma 8, Azpilicueta 8, Alonso 7, Kovacic 8, Jorginho 7, Mount 8, Willian 8, Giroud 9... Subs: Loftus-Cheek 6, Hudson-Odoi 6, Pedro N/A, Abraham 6.
10' - SAVE! Thunderous strike from Reece James tests David de Gea, who beats the ball away. Really did get plenty behind it the young Chelsea wing-back.
45+11’ - GOAL! Man Utd 0-1 Chelsea (Giroud). Girouds flicks the ball past De Gea to break the deadlock late, late in this first half! All eyes on De Gea again. Great cross from Azpilicueta to the near post, Giroud nips across Lindelof, guides the ball goalwards, but De Gea really should keep it out as the ball squirms under him.
46’ - GOAL! Man Utd 0-2 Chelsea (Mount). Nightmare for De Gea! Another glaring error from the Spaniard allows Mason Mount to make it two! Less than a minute into the second half, Brandon Williams gifts the ball to Mount, who drills for goal. It looks to be a comfortable save for De Gea, but the ball goes right through him and into the bottom corner. Woeful from such a talented stopper.
53’ - CLOSE! Explosive pace from Rashford to race on to Fernandes' ball over the top, but from the tight angle, he fires just wide.
57’ - CHANCE! That might have finished it for Chelsea. William pulls it back for Mount, but the Chelsea midfielder rifles over the top from a good position.
74’ - GOAL! Man Utd 0-3 Chelsea (Maguire og). A Harry Maguire own goal flies past De Gea at his near post to send Chelsea to the final for sure. Antonio Rudiger is claiming it, but it was Maguire's leg that made the last touch, with De Gea again not looking comfortable at all.
85’ - PENALTY TO MANCHESTER UNITED! Hudson-Odoi brings down Martial in the penalty area.
85’ - GOAL! Man Utd 1-3 Chelsea (Fernandes pen). United's 19th penalty is expertly converted by Fernandes to give his side hope.
- Chelsea have reached their 14th FA Cup final; indeed, only Arsenal (21 including 2019-20) and Manchester United (20) have made the final on more occasions than the Blues.
- Manchester United have been eliminated from the FA Cup by Chelsea for a sixth time (including three of the last four seasons) – only Arsenal (7) have knocked the Red Devils out of the competition on more occasions.
- This was Chelsea’s first victory against Manchester United since the 2018 FA Cup final – the Blues were winless in six matches across all competitions against the Red Devils prior to today (D2 L4).
- Chelsea are the first side to beat Manchester United since Burnley in the Premier League back in January, ending United’s 19 game unbeaten run in all competitions.
- Mason Mount became the first Englishman to score for Chelsea at Wembley Stadium since John Terry in the 2015 League Cup final versus Tottenham.
- No player has scored more goals in all competitions for Frank Lampard in his managerial career than Mason Mount (18 – level with Harry Wilson).