Jose Mourinho is on the pitch congratulating his players and applauding the away end. I suspect he’ll have a few things to say about the officiating in his press conference. Complaining about Ander Herrera’s red card won’t change anything, though, and it’s Chelsea who go through thanks to N’Golo Kante’s goal in the second half. Thanks for emailing and reading. Join me for coverage of the semi-final draw elsewhere. Bye.
Full-time: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
It’s all over! N’Golo Kante’s winner has sent Chelsea into the last four of the FA Cup!
90 min+5: Get Iniesta on.
90 min+4: Costa finally leaves the field. Batshuayi is on.
90 min+3: Chelsea are bringing Costa off. He’ll take his sweet time about it.
90 min+1: Rashford, who’s still running, peels away from Luiz on the left. Cahill clears his cross. Chelsea storm up the other end and De Gea saves Fabregas’s drive.
90 min: There will be four added minutes.
89 min: Kurt Zouma replaces Victor Moses. He’s immediately into the thick of things, winning a header against Pogba in the Chelsea area.
88 min: Victor Moses is down receiving treatment.
87 min: Diego Costa loses his cool at last and catches Jones late. He’s booked.
85 min: Chelsea counter, Costa spraying it out to Alonso on the left, but Valencia puts his low centre behind before it reaches Hazard.
82 min: A rare United attack ends with a loose ball running to Pogba, who skims a shot a few yards wide of the left post. “As a United fan, may I please remind everyone that N’Golo Kante’s transfer fee (£29M) was one-third of Paul Pogba’s (£89M)?” says Brian Gallaway. “Which of those two has been three times the better player this game, much less this season?”
80 min: Pogba finally makes a meaningful contribution, hauling Kante down. The break in play allows Chelsea to bring on Cesc Fabregas for Willian. Manchester United make their second change, cup specialist Jesse Lingard on for Ashley Young.
79 min: Jesse Lingard is getting ready to come on.
78 min: Valencia jumps into a tackle on Kante. He is very lucky not to be booked. Michael Oliver tells him to calm down. Moments later, Young hacks Moses down from behind and earns a yellow card.
77 min: Young gifts Chelsea a corner on the right with an errant header. It’s cleared.
75 min: Rojo sells himself by going to ground, allowing Willian to skip round him on the right. Willian flashes a low ball into the middle but Costa can’t make contact with the ball in the six yard box and United live on.
74 min: United can’t cross the halfway line. “What do you think is in the part of Diego Costa’s brain where his shame is supposed to be?” says JR in Illinois.
73 min: Kante threads a pass through to Willian on the right. The Brazilian turns and shoots viciously towards the near post. De Gea pushes it over. The danger for Chelsea is giving United hope if they don’t kill this off with a second goal.
71 min: The game is being played exclusively in United’s half.
70 min: “Whether you have sympathy or not for them changes little or nothing,” says Dael Morris. “The referee is required to apply the rules, not some fancy of the fans’ making.”
He did apply the rules. A player got booked for a foul.
68 min: Moses swings in a deep cross from the right. Jones heads behind for a Chelsea corner.Nothing comes from it.
67 min: Willian lobs a pass over to the top to Costa. He’s offside. The whistle blows. Rojo barges him over anyway and Costa goes down like he’s broken his leg. These two will come to blows before the final whistle. They’re both trying to get each other sent off.
65 min: Hazard decides to try his luck from long range. His luck’s out.
63 min: Costa goes down in the United area, looking for a penalty, but it’s an expert challenge from Rojo.
62 min: N’Golo Kante finds himself with the ball on the edge of the United area again. He tricks his way past Fellaini and the crowd urges him to shoot again. Instead he tees up Willian, who bends one inches over from 20 yards. De Gea wouldn’t have saved that.
60 min: From there, Chelsea break, N’Golo Kante storming upfield with options left and right. He opts to play it to Matic on the left, but his pass just forces the Serbian a tad wide, stalling his momentum. He chips it to the far post and Hazard wins a corner. Willian flashes it to the near post, where the unmarked Costa somehow heads wide.
59 min: Chris Smalling Beckenbauers out of defence and clumps a ball down the left. David Luiz steps out of defence, ready to chest it clear, but then apparently has a flashback to Belo Horizonte in 2014 and runs off in tears, leaving Rashford to run the isolated Cahill. He’s got the beating off the England defender, twisting him this way and that and leaving him for dead before sizing up Thibaut Courtois. He tries to slide it underneath the Belgian and this looks like the equaliser. But Courtois sticks out a leg to divert it wide! What a save!
57 min: “Michael Oliver was in charge of the FA Cup QF game against Arsenal at Old Trafford in 2015,” says Admir Pajic. “He sent off Di Maria and United lost 2:1. Is there a pattern or we need a red card for Marouane Fellaini in FA Cup 2019 for confirmation?”
56 min: Azpilicueta has another shot from 25 yards. It flies over again.
55 min: It was a surprise to see De Gea beaten from that range. Kante’s shot was accurate, but he didn’t hit it especially viciously. I think De Gea was slow to react.
53 min: How on earth are United going to score?
GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (Kante, 51 min)
Chelsea probe for a while, searching for a way through. Manchester United look so solid. Where’s the gap? Eventually the ball comes to N’Golo Kante, 25 yards out. Paul Pogba’s let him go. Kante takes a touch and then whips a low shot into the bottom right corner, seemingly taking De Gea by surprise.
50 min: Azpilicueta wastefully shoots miles over from 25 yards.
49 min: This is going to be attack versus defence all the way, until Manchester United win 1-0 on penalties.
47 min: “The rules don’t allow you to make an example of someone who didn’t contravene them.” says Dael Morris.
I have absolutely no sympathy for Ander Herrera or Jose Mourinho. It’s not unusual to see someone booked for persistent fouling anyway.
46 min: Manchester United get the second half underway. “This game resembles a Man Utd vs Chelsea game of Ferguson-Mourinho days, which says a lot about Jose,” says Ben Simmons. “His systematic dismantling of club footballing traditions as a means to satisfy his niggling-foul fetish really needs to come to an end. That instant replacing of Mkhitaryan with Fellaini just about sums it up. The man is sick. Props to Michael Oliver for the decision.”
“Lots of talking points after an exciting half but yet again the same old issue raises it’s head to detract from the football being played...what on earth is going on with Darmians beard?” says John Delaney.
The second Herrera booking wasn’t worth a booking in isolation, but it needs to be viewed in context. Phil Jones had fouled Hazard around 0.00001 seconds earlier and Michael Oliver had spotted that they were doing it on rotation. Oh well. “This first half fouling extraganza from United reminds me of the time Mourinho’s Madrid players took turns fouling Messi in one of the 173 Clasicos between him and Pep,” says Nas Iqbal. “They rarely finished with 11 men.”
Half-time: Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United
Michael Oliver peeps his whistle. Ander Herrera’s red card has left Manchester United in something of a pickle.
45 min+1: There will be two added minutes. “A ten-man, backs-against-the-wall war of attrition against a club that sacked him,” says Justin Kavanagh. “Is there a game that the Moudy one would love to win more than this?”
45 min: Pogba relieves some of the pressure on United with a driving run. Kante stops him.
43 min: “Since Mourinho’s plan was, obviously, to kick Hazard out of the game, he can have no complaints,” Lou Roper said. “Indeed, Mr Oliver has been rather too patient.”
42 min: Costa lays the ball off to the onrushing Willian, who trips over his own feet. No penalty. “Stone wall red card, clear second yellow, in my view,” says Chris Goddard. “Michael Oliver had literally JUST finished warning them about persistent fouls on Hazard. Five seconds later, a blatant trip. Only one choice...”
41 min: Conte completely lost it after that foul on Alonso. He was screaming in Mourinho’s face. I don’t think Conte screaming at you would be a pleasant experience. The fourth official managed to keep the pair of them apart, though, and Michael Oliver’s trying to calm things down. Tempers are frayed.
40 min: Victor Moses lets fly with a fierce effort from the right of the area, but it soars over the bar.
39 min: Off camera, Conte and Mourinho have clashed on the touchline. It came after Valencia fouled Alonso on the left.
37 min: Marouane Fellaini replaces Henrikh Mkhitaryan. United still have a free-kick to defend. It’s tossed high into the middle and De Gea punches it clear before going down after catching an accidental elbow from Costa - if such a thing exists - in the ribs. He needs some treatment.
Red card for Ander Herrera!
35 min: Manchester United are down to 10 men! There had been a whiff of this in the air. Phil Jones had just received a final warning from Michael Oliver for bundling Hazard over. Play resumed, Hazard set off on another dribble and Herrera, already on a booking, trips him from behind. Foolish. Mourinho is smirking, United are fuming, but they’ve paid for too many fouls.
34 min: “I’m really not a fan of Cahill on the left side of defence,” says Leo Madden. “He is not mobile or good on the ball and struggles to do anything meaningful with the ball. I can’t see Conte sticking with him in the long term, as good as the defence has been this season.”
32 min: Some Chelsea fans were telling Mourinho to eff off a few moments ago. He responded by
gouging them all in the eye reminding them that he won them three titles.
30 min: Phil Jones tackles Kante cleanly, but the ball runs to Hazard, who’s lost his shadow. He skedaddles into the area, but blazes high and wide.
28 min: “Is Jones man-marking Hazard?” says JR in Illinois. “I sense no danger... But seriously, Phil Jones is a menace. I figure Mourinho is hoping he hurts an opponent as opposed to himself or a teammate. I’ve never seen him hurt a referee though so Michael Oliver should be okay.”
I think United are playing with four narrow defenders, the wingers dropping deep, Herrera deep in the middle, Pogba on Kante, Mkhitaryan doing busywork and Rashford bounding around after scraps up front. It’s just like chess.
27 min: Hazard schemes again, but Pogba nicks the ball away with a sliding tackle from behind. Michael Oliver rules that he timed it perfectly.
25 min: You could spend the next 20 minutes trying to decipher United’s formation.
24 min: United’s formation is still quite hard to work out. I initially thought that Jones would be in central midfield, but it looks like he’s tracking Hazard. Or at least trying to. That’s a thankless task.
23 min: Matic shoots from 30 yards. The ball lands in the Shed Upper.
22 min: Ander Herrera has become Jose Mourinho’s on-pitch Rui Faria, hasn’t he? I didn’t know he had it in him. But then he did manage to corrupt Xabi Alonso.
20 min: Chelsea attack again, Eden Hazard at the heart of things and trying to play a give and go with Costa. Ander Herrera stands in Hazard’s way and blocks him off, knocking the Belgian to the floor. Michael Oliver plays the advantage and the attack breaks down when Costa confuses himself on the left. The break in play allows Oliver to book Herrera for that moment of Jose-scented cynicism.
18 min: The Chelsea pressure subsides when Costa heads over from Willian’s corner. David De Gea, though.
17 min: Chelsea have woken up now. Marcus Alonso volleys dangerously into the six-yard box from the left and it’s turned over by Smalling before Costa can tap it in. Chelsea continue to press, though Michael Oliver first has to sort out some nonsense between Costa and Rojo in the middle. Watch this space.
16 min: Eden Hazard, quiet in the opening 15 minutes, suddenly comes alive, embarrassing Chris Smalling with a glorious Cruyff turn to wriggle away from the United defender. Off he goes, dribbling brilliantly through the middle. He skips past another defender, scooting to the right, and aims for the far corner with a low drive. De Gea brilliantly tips it wide. Corner to Chelsea. Willian swings it into the area and Cahill wins a wrestling match before jabbing a low drive towards the same corner. De Gea’s reflexes are magnificent again, though, and Chelsea have to settle for another corner.
14 min: David Luiz taps the free-kick to William, who’s promptly tackled by Ashley Young. Chelsea made a right mess of that. They’re back on the front foot soon enough, though, and space opens up for Kante 20 yards from goal, but his shot’s blocked.
13 min: Willian embarks on a mischievous dribble down the inside left flank and Darmian scythes him down from behind. He’s fortunate not to be booked.
12 min: Marcus Rashford uses his pace to hare after a long punt up field. He’s away from David Luiz, but Cesar Azpilicueta steps across to halt him with a fine challenge. The ball breaks to Mkhitaryan, though, and he has a go from 20 yards. His low shot fizzes just wide.
11 min: Cahill sends a pass down the left flank. It rolls straight out of play for a throw.
10 min: United have started impressively. They’re pressing high and squeezing Chelsea, who look a bit confused at the moment.
8 min: Chelsea haven’t got into their flow yet. United are working hard to keep a solid shape and restrict their options.
6 min: The Manchester United fans are having a lovely sing-song in the away end. It’s great to see the underdogs get their big day out in the FA Cup.
5 min: Diego Costa bumps into Ander Herrera on the halfway line. They shake hands like a right pair of gentlemen.
4 min: It’s Chelsea’s turn to attack, Willian probing on the right and finding Nemanja Matic on the edge of the area. He shuffles it to the left for Marcos Alonso, but the Spaniard can’t find Eden Hazard.
2 min: Manchester United haven’t conceded after 30 seconds. That’s another sign of their progress under Jose Mourinho. They’ve also started well here, winning a corner on the right. Ashley Young whips it in, but Rojo heads over. Meanwhile they’ve not lined up in a 3-4-3 system. Instead it’s 4-2-3-1, with Phil Jones in central midfield, a role he performed with distinction against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid four years ago.
And we’re off! Chelsea, in their blue home strip, get the ball rolling. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. The first task for Manchester United is to go one better than the league game and not concede after 30 seconds.
The teams are out and that means it’s time for the Liquidator. And almost time for kick-off.
Jose Mourinho’s calling Chelsea defensive again in a BBC interview. Antonio Conte disagrees. For what it’s worth, Chelsea have scored 18 more goals than United in the league this season.
It’s been 18 years since Dwight Yorke’s double at Stamford Bridge kept Manchester United on course for the treble.
Despite making two changes, Chelsea aren’t playing a weakened team at all. Antonio Conte hasn’t allowed sentiment to cloud his judgement and there’s no start for John Terry, even though this could be his final FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge. Willian and Nemanja Matic are the players to come in from the win at West Ham last Monday, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas dropping to the bench,
As for Manchester United, it looks like Jose Mourinho has replicated Conte’s 3-4-3 system. Or it could be 7-0-3. Or 7-2-1. Or 7-3-0. Or 10-0-0. Alternatives are that it’s a 4-2-3-1, either with Matteo Darmian at right-back or central midfield. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are nowhere to be seen, of course, but United haven’t had to stoop so low as putting Marouane Fellaini up front. Instead it turns out Marcus Rashford isn’t ill after all. That Mourinho. He’s made fools of us all!
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Costa, Hazard. Subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Chalobah, Fabregas, Pedro, Batshuayi.
Manchester United: De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Rojo; Valencia, Herrera, Pogba, Darmian; Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Young. Subs: Romero, Bailly, Blind, Lingard, Carrick, Fellaini, Mata.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Scrap the entire preamble! Despite suffering from the sniffles, Marcus Rashford starts up front for Manchester United. I’ll have the full team news shortly.
Hello. It’s always satisfying to see your ex in a miserable state. But while Chelsea are smitten with their youthful, energetic, handsome Italian manager these days, they would be wise not to become complacent if Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge looking like Tony Soprano in the midst of one of his misery bouts, complete with unkempt hair, crumbs in his beard, and ketchup stains on his dressing gown. They’ll point and whisper and snigger at how he’s let himself go. Remember how dashing he used to be? To think he used to make us go weak at the knees.
Manchester United have travelled down to Stamford Bridge for this FA Cup quarter-final in the position of world’s most unlikeliest underdogs. They don’t exactly belong in the same category as your Lincolns or Millwalls, but they do have problems, namely a total lack of anyone to play up front. The, er, Ferguson Association has banned Zlatan Ibrahimovic for resting his elbow on Tyrone Mings’s jaw, Anthony Martial’s got a knock, Marcus Rashford’s ill and Wayne Rooney’s made the mistake of going near Phil Jones during a training session, all of which means we could be treated to the spectacle of Marouane Fellaini’s Zlatan impression. It’s Jose against the world, and life is so very unfair.
Yet if Chelsea do make the mistake of underestimating their former manager, they’ll be making a mistake. If it looks to them as though the twinkle’s disappeared from Mourinho’s eyes, that might just be what he wants them to think. They won’t be looking hard enough. They’ll be walking into the trap, just as Liverpool were completely knocked off their game when Mourinho memorably unveiled the stubble-and-tracksuit look at Anfield in 2014 and proceeded to let the air out of their title challenge with 90 minutes of elite negativity and timewasting. In this scenario, United progress to the last four by putting 10 men behind the ball and winning thanks to a last-minute goal from Fellaini. Or Rui Faria.
The problem with this theory, however, is the man in the opposite dugout. In Antonio Conte, it seems that Chelsea have appointed a manager who not only won’t be intimidated by Mourinho but would probably beat him in a fight if it came to it. As a player, Conte won Serie A five times and the Champions League with Juventus and reached World Cup and European Championship finals with Italy. As a manager, he’s led Juventus to further Scudettos and led his country to the last eight of the Euros. He’s not a man who’s easily pushed around. He’s mostly stayed away from controversy this season and ignored Mourinho’s little digs, but make no mistake, there’s an edge behind the winning smile and Italian charm.
They’ve fallen in love with Conte at Stamford Bridge and with good reason, for Chelsea have recovered from last season’s implosion to race away from the chasing pack at the top of the league. If United are to continue their defence of the FA Cup on one of their least favourite grounds, not to mention avenge that 4-0 defeat to Chelsea in October, they’ll Mourinho to show that he’s still the man they once knew.
Kick-off: 7.45pm GMT.