Report: Lacklustre Manchester United beaten again at Stamford Bridge

Manchester United were beaten 1-0 at Stamford Bridge at the hands of the Premier League champions Chelsea. It was nearly curtains for United early in the game with Phil Jones finding the back of the net but the goal was ruled out after Alvaro Morata fouled him. It was 0-0 at the break with only Marcus Rashford going close for United in the first half. A Morata goal in the 55th minute sealed the win for the Blues.

Jose Mourinho put out the same side which beat Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford last weekend. United did not have the best of starts with N’Golo Kante putting in a shot which David De Gea held, then Alvaro Morata getting through the defensive line, seemingly fouling Phil Jones, who put the ball into his own net – the goal being ruled out for the foul.

At the other end of the pitch, after some good play by United, Marcus Rashford saw his close-range effort head over the crossbar. United would need to do a lot to get the better of Chelsea on their home turf. Tiemoue Bakayoko has seemed to be searching for a goal, seeing an opportunity for a goal twice in the match so far.

United had another change from the edge of the box in the 16th minute of the match through Romelu Lukaku, but his strike was blocked, the ball then being collected by Ashley Young with United still in possession of the ball in the final third. United were threatened again by Chelsea, this time Eden Hazard who saw his shot parried away by De Gea – not effectively enough with Cesc Fabregas regaining possession and trying to head the ball into the net, hitting the side netting.

Chelsea received the first yellow card of the game with Bakayoko in the 20th minute for a foul on Jones. United then got forward, winning a free-kick with Rashford taking it, capitalising on an advancing Nemanja Matic, who made his first appearance for United against his former club, failing to gain anything for United with Thibault Courtois receiving the ball.

Heading into the half-hour mark of the match, Chelsea seemed to be getting stronger, dominating the ball on the edge of United’s final third, pushing for that change to take the lead in this match. With ten minutes until the end of the half, Chelsea started to dominate possession, not actually doing much with the ball as United have been at the end of each play into the box to break it up.

Antonio Valencia stole the ball from Marcos Alonso in the 38th minute of the match, just before his low cross was cleared by the Chelsea defence on the attack. At the other end of the pitch, Andreas Christensen headed over the crossbar after his side won a corner. It was level at the break with neither team finding the goal to separate them. It will be a big second half for both teams.

Neither Mourinho nor Conte made a change at the start of the second half. United won a corner almost immediately with Rashford pressuring Alonso, who let the ball go out of play. United were still seeking that opportunity to change the game. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was not really bridging the gap between midfield and the forwards, which was a shame based on what he has been capable of, especially early in the season.

Phil Jones was the first United player to be booked, going to ground on Hazard, failing to get the ball. Chelsea seemed to want to continue where the first half ended, in possession of the ball in United’s final third, pressuring to take the lead. Herrera fouled Hazard in the 51st minute of the match, stepping on his foot with the Belgian drawing a foul from two United players in a matter of minutes.

United won a free-kick in the 52nd minute after Eric Bailly was fouled by Alonso, United taking a short free-kick with Chelsea winning the ball, getting forward with United picking up the ball before Chelsea gained it again. Hazard, in the box, was played a pass by Fabregas after some build-up play but De Gea made the save to deny the Belgian from scoring the opening goal of the game.

Chelsea took the lead in the match, through Morata in the 55th minute of the match looping his header past De Gea, who was a spectator in that effort. United were trying to get more of the ball after conceding, but until a change has been made, United seemed lackadaisical with Mkhitaryan the player not in the game today.

Mourinho called Fellaini back from warming up, seemingly being the first change of the game on his return from injury which has kept him out of action since the last international break. Anthony Martial was also ready to come on, replacing Mkhitaryan with Fellaini replacing Jones. For the first time we had Lukaku, Martial and Rashford on the pitch at the same time.

In the 66th minute, Chelsea made their first change with Antonio Rudiger replacing Davide Zappacosta. Chelsea were still on top of the game, 1-0 up and still having the lion’s share of possession. United needed to dig deep and try to influence something from the game, which Chelsea still turning the screws.

United won a corner in the 68th minute of the match with United on the front foot, the ball heading to Herrera, whose effort was off target, coming off Martial, who may have thought he was offside, hence why he did not try to divert the effort towards goal. Fellaini was booked for an elbow on Morata in the 72nd minute of the match.

Bakayoko had another change to score against United, having a driving run towards goal, only for his effort to be offside. United now seem to be readying themselves for another onslaught, this time through Hazard, whose effort was straight into the hands of De Gea.

Mourinho made United third change in the 79th minute with Jesse Lingard replacing Young. Chelsea took Fabregas off too, replacing him with former United Academy graduate Danny Drinkwater. Herrera should have been sent off in the final ten minutes of the match after a challenge on Hazard, a player he did not get the better of once in this match.

United had another change in the final seven minutes of the match with Martial and Rashford on the ball on the left, the latter putting in a cross with Fellaini unable to connect, which could have been the equaliser for United. Four minutes from time, United had another chance with Rashford striking towards goal, it going wide of the target. Chelsea made their third and final change with Hazard being replaced by Willian.

United had a chance to get something from the game through Fellaini, who chance was saved by Courtois with the Belgian midfielder seemingly thinking he was fouled, nothing being given by the referee. There were four minutes added on at the end of the match, with United gaining a spell of possession with Chelsea against the wall.

United seemed to be getting somewhere but a poor pass saw Chelsea on the counter with Morata seemingly through on goal, going to ground and getting nothing. United on the attack, won a free-kick after Matic was fouled with Rashford taking the free-kick, it being deflected out for a corner. United tried to get something from the corner, but it was another win for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United: De Gea; Bailly, Jones (Fellaini 62′), Smalling; Valencia, Matic, Herrera, Young (Lingard 79′); Mkhitaryan (Martial 62′); Rashford, Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Blind, Darmian; McTominay

Bookings: Phil Jones 49′, Ander Herrera 51′, Marouane Fellaini 71′

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