Chelsea v Manchester United: Five Classic Encounters

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Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge to take on reigning Premier League champions Chelsea, in potentially a season-deciding match. Chelsea are on a poor run of form at the moment and slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Roma in midweek in the Champions League. Meanwhile, United have put back-to-back wins together with crucial victories over Spurs and Benfica, respectively. Playing Spurs last week was a big test, and United got through it. This test may be even greater, as it’s away from home, and Antonio Conte and the Chelsea fans will be expecting a reaction from the players. Jose Mourinho will want to get the bragging rights over his old club after trying unsuccessfully last season, so there’s no doubt he will have a tactical plan in place.

United and Chelsea have enjoyed some classic encounters over the years, and this fixture has seen it all. Controversy, entertainment, goals, red cards – the lot. To prepare you for Sunday’s clash, here’s five classic matches between the sides, to wet your appetite.

21st May 2008 – Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (United won 6-5 on penalties)

When I think of recent matches between the two sides, this match immediately springs to mind. The Champions League final in Moscow. A dramatic affair that couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes and had to be decided by penalties. A brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo header put United 1-0 up until Frank Lampard equalised for Chelsea. John Terry infamously could have secured the trophy for Chelsea but he slipped and missed his penalty. It took a brilliant save from Edwin van der Sar to deny Nicolas Anelka’s penalty and to secure United’s third European crown which was Sir Alex Ferguson’s second and last of his career.

4th February 2012 – Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United

A poor start from United left them 3-0 down after 50 minutes, but in true United spirit and thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney (2 penalties) and a late equaliser from Javier Hernandez, United bounced back to earn a point. I remember United being dominated first half, but the seemed a different side once David Luis scored Chelsea’s third goal. Whatever Fergie said at half-time must have worked!

27th October 2012 – Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United

Another entertaining trip to Stamford Bridge! United actually went 0-2 up in this match thanks to an own goal from David Luis and a fine strike from Robin van Persie. Goals from former blue-now-red Juan Mata, and Brazilian midfielder Ramires levelled the playing field, until that man again, Javier Hernandez snatched a late winner to move United into 1 point of top spot. Fun fact – this defeat was Chelsea’s first of the season during the 2012/13 campaign!

6th November – Manchester United 1-0 Chelsea

This was a massive result at the time against Mourinho’s first Chelsea side, because they were 40 matches unbeaten. Darren Fletcher scored a brilliant header to help United grind out an important 1-0 win at Old Trafford. Mourinho’s first Chelsea side is arguably one of the best in Premier League history, and this result felt, at the time, that Fergie had finally got one over on his old foe, Mourinho.

15th April 2017 – Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea

Who could forget this recent Mourinho masterclass? Tactically, Jose got it spot on, in this game. He man marked Eden Hazard out of the game with Andre Herrera, who coincidentally turned out to be man-of-the-match. I remember this was a game that showed Paul Pogba’s true quality as he dominated the midfield and N’Golo Kante couldn’t get near him. Marcus Rashford was brilliant in this game too, after opening the scoring with a neat finish. It looked like Mourinho enjoyed getting one over against his old side. Hopefully we see more of the same on Sunday!

So, there you have it, five classic ties between the sides. It is certainly a fixture which promises entertainment, even if Jose ‘parks the bus’ which the media will definitely tell us. Another three points is huge for United’s title aspirations this season, and a win could certainly put a dint into Chelsea’s.

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