London, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Chelsea defeated a flat Manchester United side 3-1 here Sunday in their FA Cup semifinal to set up an all-London final pitting the Blues against Arsenal, who have hoisted the trophy 13 times, more than any other club.
The most recent of Chelsea’s eight FA Cup triumphs was in 2018, a year after the Gunners last won the world’s oldest national soccer competition.
Having lost their last three matches against United, the Blues might have been seen as the underdogs ahead of the semifinal showdown at Wembley Stadium.
But that previous form turned out to mean nothing, as Chelsea were superior in every aspect.
Marcos Alonso squandered a chance to open the scoring for Chelsea off Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross to the far post in the 16th minute, while Reece James saw his shot turned aside by United goalkeeper David De Gea.
With less than five minutes left in the first half, United players Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly knocked heads.
Both players got to their feet, but while Maguire was able to continue with a bandaged head, Bailly showed signs of a concussion and ended up being carried off on a stretcher.
The referee added 6 minutes of stoppage time, which ultimately stretched to nearly 12 minutes, enough for Olivier Giroud to put the Blues up 1-0 with a strike that De Gea should have stopped.
Chelsea’s advantage doubled inside the first minute of the second half, as Mason Mount converted a takeaway in midfield into a goal with a low blast.
Again, De Gea could have done more.
A 2-0 deficit is not insurmountable for a team with United’s offensive weapons, but the prospects for a comeback evaporated in the 74th minute with an own goal by Maguire, the Red Devils captain.
Trying to clear an Alonso cross after a Chelsea corner, Maguire inadvertently redirected the ball past De Gea.
Bruno Fernandes got a consolation goal for United in the 85th minute, converting a penalty after Callum Hudson-Odoi fouled Anthony Martial in the area.
“I said to my boys in the dressing-room that I would love to win another FA Cup. It would be my fifth one. It’ll be special for me to play against Arsenal,” Giroud told reporters after the contest.
The Frenchman won the cup three times with the Gunners and once in Chelsea colors.
Chelsea and Arsenal will face off Aug. 1 at Wembley. EFE msg/dr