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Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-0 in their third meeting this season. Marcus Rashford struck home in the seventh minute of the match, assisted by Ander Herrera… Read more
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Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-0 in their third meeting this season. Marcus Rashford struck home in the seventh minute of the match, assisted by Ander Herrera, who doubled United’s lead just after the break with a sublime strike, which was deflected past Asmir Begovic. Jose Mourinho beat his old side for the first time, putting in a tactical masterclass and showing the fans that the players they have been criticising were good enough for the club.
Jose Mourinho made four changes from the team which started against Anderlecht in Belgium on Thursday night with David De Gea, Ander Herrera, Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini starting in place of Sergio Romero, Michael Carrick, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, all of whom were on the bench. United started well, maintaining possession and giving Chelsea the game they gave them at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup, before Ander Herrera was sent off, at least. In the seventh minute of the match, Marcus Rashford broke the deadlock, with Herrera assisting him with a fantastically placed through ball, with Rashford beating Asmir Begovic. United did not just leave it there, though with chance after chance being created in Chelsea’s half.
United were the better side in the opening 25 minutes of the match. Chelsea did get forward a few times, but nothing spectacular from Antonio Conte’s side. United were looking very lively, despite the players Mourinho picked in his squad for the match and the fact so-called supporters were moaning on Twitter in the hour from the team news being announced, right the way up until the match started and Rashford scored. Nothing like getting behind your team! Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford, and Jesse Lingard were all playing well, dominating Chelsea on the right-hand side, which resulted in Victor Moses being moved from the left to the right to try and thwart that. United just did not stop pressuring Chelsea, maintaining possession the majority of the time.
Diego Costa found himself in the book for a late challenge on Paul Pogba, which will see him walking the same line Herrera had to walk in the last meeting. Costa and Marcos Rojo then clashed in the box, with Costa falling on Rojo, which then saw some petulance from both players seemingly trying to get the other booked, or even sent off. United just did not give up trying to get something else from the match, getting forward and threatening. In the 42nd minute, United nearly got something again, if it was not for Gary Cahill, who got involved and managed to deflect the threat with the ball hitting the roof of the net. Chelsea just did not seem to be the same team, so far. All could change later in the match though. Eden Hazard has been marked well so far, which seems to be thwarting the visitors.
The first half ended with United still in the lead and in charge of the game. Chelsea had threatened, but not enough to get something back from the game. The second half would decide the winner of the match, see if United can continue, or if Chelsea could come back. No changes for either team at the start of the second half. Things got better for United as they still pressured Chelsea and got the better of it with Ashley Young in the box, trying to find a doubler, the ball finding itself with Herrera, who fired s sublime shot, which took a deflection off Kurt Zouma, beating Begovic. One goal and one assist for Herrera. 2-0 for United. Mourinho made his first change on the hour with Michael Carrick replacing Lingard.
Marcus Rashford was unlucky not to get his name on the score sheet again for United with a decent strike, which was off target. United, despite the chance and losing pace, were still attacking and doing it well. The 2-0 lead will have spurred the players on to see this through, which will no doubt be a dent in Chelsea’s title hopes with their seven point lead now seemingly being reduced to just four points. Chelsea had a period on top, albeit a small period, pressuring United, winning a corner, but getting nothing from it. Mourinho has done something good here, getting a reaction from his own clubs supporters which was very negative, only to, so far, show them up, and Chelsea, which feels so good. Herrera found himself being booked in the 73rd minute for a challenge on Hazard.
Marcos Rojo found himself being the second United player to be booked in the 75th minute with Chelsea on a rare attack, winning a free kick with Cesc Fabregas did not do all that well with. Chelsea did try to get themselves back into the match, but barring a miracle, this match looked set to be in United’s favour, for once this season, and an important time to take three points off the Premier League leaders. Chelsea just did not seem like the side they have been for most of the season; lacking ideas, threat and invention. Not what you would expect from prospective champions. Zlatan Ibrahimovic replaced Marcus Rashford in the 83rd minute of the match, with the latter getting a standing ovation at the Theatre of Dreams.
United had a relatively small onslaught from Chelsea to deal with in the latter stages of the match, still 2-0 up and looking likely to keep a clean sheet. Dealing with everything Chelsea could throw at them was good enough. Timothy Fosu-Mensah was the third substitution of the match, replacing Ashley Young, who gave the captains armband over to Carrick as he left the pitch. United held on, though, earning their victory which keeps them chasing a top four finish this season in the right stead. Anderlecht next on Thursday night to keep both chances open for a Champions League place next season, then Burnley away in a weeks time.
Goals: Marcus Rashford 7′, Ander Herrera 49′
Assists: Ander Herrera 7′
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Darmian; Herrera, Young (Fosu-Mensah 90+3′); Fellaini, Pogba; Lingard (Carrick 60′), Rashford (Ibrahimovic 83′)
Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Blind, Shaw; Mkhitaryan
Bookings: Ander Herrera 73′, Marcos Rojo 75′