A dramatic game in the Premier League between Chelsea and Manchester United was played last Saturday, October 20th.
It was the first meeting between Maurizio Sarri and Jose Mourinho. The game was played at Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea football club and tensions were flaring during the whole game.
There were returns to Stamford Bridge for United players; Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and
Romelu Lukaku. The game started off as a tight affair, with no team getting the better of the other. The game’s opening goal came in the 26th minute from a corner for Chelsea. Antonio Rudiger rose highest to fire a bullet header into the corner of the net. David De Gea was left with no time at all to react.
After this goal, Chelsea were controlling the game well up until half time and were content with a one goal lead. Chelsea’s summer signing goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga was very quiet in goal with hardly any shots to save. In the first half, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford were finding it hard to get into advanced areas and Chelsea’s defence were marshalling them reasonably well.
Man Utd different beast in second half
Manchester United started the second half in a different fashion to the first, playing more
on the front foot and using width to isolate defenders which was key to their success. A goal for the away side came in the 55th minute by Anthony Martial. The ball was bouncing around in the box and it found its way to Martial who needed no invitation to furiously smash the ball into the corner of the net.
With the scores level, many supporters of Chelsea thought that it would be time for the arrival of Olivier Giroud, who is a proven deadly striker from the bench, however, Sarri opted against this and persisted with Alvaro Morata.
Martial at the double
Manchester United had their tails up after the goal and a second goal came in the 73 rd
minute where Martial was again on target. The ball made its way to him on the edge of the
box, he took a touch, cut inside the defender and finessed the ball into the far corner,
leaving the United keeper flat on his feet. Only now with the deadlock broken did Sarri bring on Olivier Giroud.
Giroud proved to be a handful for the defenders, and made his presence known which is
what he is so efficient at. Chelsea fans got behind their team more so now and United found themselves under constant pressure from Sarri’s men. As a consequence of this, United players started to go down with cramp and waste time, notably Marcus Rashford who was down for some time.
With the game nearing to an end, all eyes were on the fourth official. He held up his board
which indicated there to be five minutes of added on time. This resulted in a huge roar from the home side and Chelsea started to believe that they could get something out of this game.
United denied at the last
Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta had the ball at his feet, shifted it onto his left foot and lifted the ball into the box. It was a floating, hopeful ball to say the least but David Luiz powered his way to head the ball with venom and his header struck the post.
The ball instantly came off the post and another Chelsea player struck the ball which prompted a brilliant save from De Gea, but this save wasn’t powerful enough to stop a richochet fall in the direction of Cheslea’s number eight, Ross Barkley, who struck the ball into the roof into the net to help himself to his second goal in as many games.
Emotions were high, all Chelsea fans and players were absolutely ecstatic that they have just secured a draw to keep the long game of the run to the title race alive. Chelsea staff were also delighted, so much so that one of Sarri’s staff celebrated right in front of Jose Mourinho. Mourinho was appalled by this and attempted to chase him down the tunnel. After the game, the FA charged the man who celebrated, Marco Ianni, with improper conduct.
Once the final whistle blew, Chelsea fans were abusive to their former manager, and
Mourinho reminded them of how many Premier League titles he won at Chelsea and was
disgusted at the lack of respect he was shown after what he had done for the club.
What we learnt from this game
What this game showed is that when Martial is played and has confidence, he has the
potential to be uncontrollable with his flair and quick feet. Eden Hazard was almost
anonymous today after excellent performances in the previous weeks. Jose Mourinho
clearly still doesn’t know his best team or best centre back partnership as the starting lineup keeps on drastically changing from game to game,
Scott McTominay didn’t play and he’s been a player who was played as part of a back three at the London Stadium where they lost 3-1 to West Ham United. Alexis Sanchez, a man who scored the winner against Newcastle in the last game before the international break didn’t even make an appearance until the 85th minute. He was unable to have an impact when he came off the bench.
Lastly, the midfield three for Chelsea of Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic still proves to be efficient and has a good balance between attack and defence. Players such as Barkley and Giroud have proved to be capable of making the step up to the first team. Sarri is still doing a good job of keeping a good harmony in the dressing room. He’s doing this even with a team full of world-class players.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable game for the neutral and kept Chelsea’s nine game unbeaten run intact.