Chelsea vs Manchester United: Five things we learned from the FA Cup final won by Eden Hazard's goal

Jose Mourinho needs to rip up the rulebook, Marcus Rashford needs to rediscover his best form and Gareth Southgate has some serious work to do ahead of the World Cup

Saturday 19 May 2018 19:11
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FA Cup final in numbers

Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 in a flat FA Cup final.

Eden Hazard scored the winning goal, converting from the penalty spot after being hacked down by the hapless Phil Jones.

In a game of few chances, Marcos Alonso had a fine charge to make it two in the second-half but his tame shot was well saved by David de Gea.

United poured forward in the second-half but never looked like scoring an equaliser. Here are five things we leaned:

Southgate has some work to do…

Jones conceded a first-half penalty (Getty )

If Gareth Southgate wasn’t already worried by England’s forthcoming World Cup campaign, he will be now.

Eden Hazard – who will lead Belgium’s attack in England’s final Group G group game – was in superb form and had the better of Phil Jones all afternoon. He gave the defender kittens in the first-half, turning him inside out prior to winning the penalty which gave Chelsea the lead.

Worryingly for Southgate, Jones is arguably the most capable of the three English centre-backs who featured, with Chris Smalling not even deemed good enough for a place in his 23-man squad. The England manager has some serious work to do.

… and Rashford is desperately short of confidence

Rashford had a very tough afternoon (Getty )

On the same theme, Marcus Rashford is desperately short of confidence and looks a long way short of his best approaching the tournament.

He was very poor in the first-half and was frozen out for long periods, and didn’t get much better in the second as Chelsea kept things compact and United grew increasingly desperate.

It’s worrying for Southgate, especially considering the poor form of Harry Kane and Danny Welbeck, his other attacking options. Jamie Vardy – it’s over to you.

Is Bakayoko actually getting quite good?

Bakayoko had a promising game (Getty )

Whisper it, but Tiemoue Bakayoko is becoming quietly effective for Chelsea.

After what can only be described as a catastrophic debut season in England, the 23-year-old began to pick his performances up in Chelsea's final few games of the Premier League and carried that on into the FA Cup final, where he bossed the midfield on and off the ball. A handful of good games isn't enough to tell if the Frenchman will be a success but neither is a debut season.

There's potential in there to be a dominant box-to-box midfield, it just needs unlocking.

It's time for Mourinho to go bold

Is Mourinho too defensive? (Getty )

Mourinho has established himself as a very good defensive manager, there's absolutely no doubt about it. But you can't rely on just that, especially when there are teams like Manchester City in the same league as you.

“Manchester City needs to do less points, it's not possible for my team to do 101 points. They need to do less points and we need to improve. I don't want to say it's Manchester United and Manchester City, four other clubs they have the same ambitions as we have.”

The Red Devils have the attacking players to scare their opponents and even if they lose the likes of Anthony Martial, they can get others in, they have the budget. If Mourinho wants to win trophies, which as manager of the most successful English club of all-time he will be solely judged on, it's time he let his players express themselves in the final third.

Fans need to learn the rules

Hazard was brought down in the first-half (Getty )

Eden Hazard’s penalty drew all sorts of rumblings from the Twitter-sphere as raging Chelsea fans, and neutrals alike, called for Phil Jones to be sent off for his challenge on the Belgian. After being comfortably outpaced by the forward, the England defender resorted to desperate measures as he lunged at his opponent in the vain hope of blocking a shot.

It wasn’t to be… except there was no immediate dismissal from referee Michael Oliver but, instead, a yellow card. Unbeknown to many, there are new rules concerning the last line of defence. Under the ‘double jeopardy’ law, it’s no longer an automatic red card if a player or goalkeeper brings down an opponent while acting as the line of defence.

Where a genuine attempt has been made to play the ball, officials will be allowed to give a penalty and only book the offender. You learn something new every day…

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