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Rooney and fate smile on Man Utd

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Phil McNulty | 00:56 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011

Stamford Bridge

Wayne Rooney scored with a smile for the cameras rather than a snarl as he let his natural talent do the talking. And how eloquently it spoke as Manchester United set the platform for Champions League progress at Chelsea's expense.

The lens was Rooney's constant companion from the moment he emerged to warm up at Stamford Bridge until he departed in triumph after the goal that gave United a crucial away victory in the quarter-final first leg.

Rooney will be punished with a ban for his expletive outburst into a pitchside camera after completing his hat-trick in United's win at West Ham United on Saturday - so it was almost inevitable that fate decreed he would produce something to capture attention again at Chelsea.

The moment arrived 24 minutes into the contest when he showed touch and technique to steer in Ryan Giggs' pass. How would he react? The answer came as he smiled, slid and tumbled for the cameras before celebrating with arms outstretched in front of Chelsea fans gathered in the Matthew Harding Stand.

It was an unashamed outpouring of happiness from Rooney, giving the lie to the suggestion that the joy has somehow been sucked out of his game by a year of frustration.

Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal with Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez

Rooney put on a sparkling performance in front of the cameras. Photo: PA

The frustration and anger at Stamford Bridge was all Chelsea's.

The frustration came from Fernando Torres as he stretched his goalless sequence since his £50m move from Liverpool to 619 minutes. The anger from the whole of Chelsea when Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco refused them an obvious penalty in stoppage time when Patrice Evra brought down Ramires.

If the goal brought release to Rooney and a smile of satisfaction to Sir Alex Ferguson, it only served to underline the contrast in fortunes with struggling Torres, paired uncomfortably and to little effect with Didier Drogba by Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Ancelotti's team selection appeared to be a barely disguised attempt to find any formation that allows him to field owner Roman Abramovich's record purchase, even if it disturbs Chelsea's natural balance and forces the exclusion of Nicolas Anelka.

No such problems for United and Ferguson, who got his selection and tactics spot on, revolving around the return of Rio Ferdinand in defence, a rejuvenated Michael Carrick in midfield and the tireless Rooney up front.

If it was intimidation from West Ham's fans that fired Rooney up to the point where he boiled over, he was subjected to more of the same on and off the pitch at Stamford Bridge and thrived.

Rooney was greeted by a hefty kick on the foot by Michael Essien which was swiftly followed by another foul by Ramires - all played out against the now customary background noise of pantomime booing.

The effect on Rooney was non-existent as he foraged dangerously up front alongside Javier Hernandez, dropped deep to help out in midfield and even appeared to be a constant buffer between the technical area and his team-mates, happy to receive and pass on a succession of messages.

It was a contribution that drew glowing praise from both managers as Ferguson said: "He played very well. We are pleased with his performance. It was tremendous. He played fantastically, as did all the other players."

Rooney's upturn in form can also be measured in the most important currency of all as Ferguson added: "He's now more regular in his goalscoring, which in the second half of the season is more important."

The beaten Ancelotti, whose future as Chelsea manager may hang on his ability to turn this tie around at Old Trafford next Tuesday said: "He's a fantastic player. It's not just now I am saying this, I have said it before, He played really well, scored a goal and worked hard for the team."

Rooney was not alone in his excellence. Rio Ferdinand cruised back into action for the first time since February while Michael Carrick showed glimpses of the player he was before he disappeared down a black hole of poor form following a nightmare in the 2009 Champions League final against Barcelona.

Ferguson's decision to award him a new three-year contract recently was greeted with scepticism, not only here but by a large number of Manchester United fans, but at Chelsea he at least showed welcome signs of the old qualities that have extended his stay at Old Trafford.

And in goal, the veteran Edwin van der Sar produced more evidence that he should reconsider his decision to retire at the end of the season. A model of composure, he showed an elasticity that defied his age to save brilliantly from a late Torres header while everything else stuck in those reliable hands.

Chelsea's protests at the final whistle were an outpouring for what may be another lost Champions League opportunity. There was genuine and understandable fury at that late, ignored penalty claim but also the knowledge that the latest quest to clinch the missing trophy in their collection is once again in danger of failure.

Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres

The Drogba-Torres partnership failed to produce a goal. Photo: Reuters

And at the heart of Wednesday's loss was the latest chapter in Torres's fruitless search for the form he enjoyed at Liverpool. It is not for the want of trying, but Torres cuts the figure of a man stretching out for something that remains tantalisingly out of reach - in this case his form and the old snap and acceleration that made him so coveted.

Drogba and Torres may have exchanged glances but they barely exchanged a pass. Chelsea are more suited to a 4-3-3 formation with their current personnel but Ancelotti was clearly unable to resist the temptation to play both Drogba and Torres.

And while Drogba has been the more potent this season, could it be that Ancelotti simply could not take the risk of leaving Abramovich's landmark purchase languishing on the bench for a match of such significance?

Ancelotti raised eyebrows when he finally altered his system, choosing to remove Drogba when Torres looked the more likely candidate to be substituted.

It is a dilemma that has to be resolved, whether it is by Ancelotti or someone else, and it must be assumed Torres is the future rather than Drogba given Abramovich's willingness to sign off such a huge deal.

Ancelotti must solve the same equation again next Tuesday - and if ever there was a night he needs to get the formula right, it is at Old Trafford.

Ferguson was keen to preach caution and Chelsea are not out of the fight to face Inter Milan or Schalke in the semi-final - they have too much quality to be dismissed so lightly - but United's position of strength with victory and an away goal bred confidence and optimism among their camp.

With players of influence such as Ferdinand returning to the fold, United are still in the hunt for a repeat of their historic 1999 treble of the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup.

There are signs of momentum and purpose about United that have eluded them for much of the season. The campaign remains full of rich possibilities even though Ferguson himself appears to consider this to be a squad in need of an expensive summer overhaul.

And with Rooney rediscovering his touch in front of goal, there may be even more photo opportunities before the season ends.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I think United were worth their win tonight and had no little luck with the Torres/Lampard circus and Evra's tackle at the end going unpunished, but I think what is becoming increasingly evident with Chelsea and particularly with Carlo Ancelotti. is his inability to be able to change up the style of play to inject some energy.

    Chelsea have become very predictable under him whilst Ferguson is probably the most creative coach in the game right now. Ryan Giggs at left back on Saturday and Valencia at right back tonight shows that he has total grasp of his squad and their limitations and abilities.

    Ferguson is right to say that the tie isn't over, but it looks like Chelsea have a mountain to climb now and only a stale performance by United at Old Trafford stands between them and a semi-final against Schalke 04

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/

  • Comment number 2.

    Scoring a goal without elbowing a player in the face, and without spewing a barrage of profanities is no mean feat. Well done Wayne Rooney you are a iconic figure for the Country and deserve to be on £250,000 per week. :)

  • Comment number 3.

    Well it's about time we were on the end of a favourable decision against Chelsea (and it was favourable).

    A lot of people seem to be brushing over the fact that Essien could have walked for two yellow cards quite easily in the game, but are yet again focusing on a decision that went in Uniteds favour.

    Maybe you could explain this Phil, being in the media and all. Perhaps you could give United fans an insight into why this continually happens with United? Why are decisions that go in the favour of our opponents so readily ignored whilst ones that go for us are fixated upon, sometimes for weeks after the fact?

    Anyway, was a good, tight game and i think we deserved the win. Roll on Tuesday.


    Oh, nice dig on that jellybelly Samuel, i like it.

  • Comment number 4.

    To no.2, he is on about £160k a week, the rest come from imaging rights afaik.
    United deserved the win, and Chelsea deserved a penalty, but how many times has it been the other way round at the Bridge? Its only fair imo.

  • Comment number 5.

    Dear Phil,
    Why don't you answer for those silly challenges made by Essien of which he should be sent off and Ramires, too. And I really see nothing more than a free kick outisde the are where Ramires got cought off by Evra.
    By the way, Nice blog. Always love it.

  • Comment number 6.

    Good win for us, I thought we were very lucky with the Evra Pen, it was I thought on first viewing live (without replays) a pen, and I thought that because of the reaction of Evra.

    Torres movement was superb though :p

  • Comment number 7.

    utd deserved to win, although that was a pen. but chelsea's pen in the league game never was even close to a pen, so karma i think its called.

  • Comment number 8.

    Chelsea were perhaps deigned a penalty after Torres' constant diving as he desperately sort to have an impact on the game. Twice he was hauled up by Rio after cynically tangling himself with an opponent. The ref was right to punish him and this is further evidence that he is still missing what was lost at liverpool.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good game! I was surprised and pleased. Despite Chelsea having more of the action (certainly VdS had more to do than Cech) I reckon that United deserved it if just for the stunning control that Giggs showed.
    French TV (no need to bother with Sky here) reckoned that the "Penalty" should have been a free kick outside the area. Jury is still out on that one. Other than that I reckon the ref had a pretty good game.
    Now for the return!

  • Comment number 10.

    It must deeply galling for Chelsea to be at the wrong end of a pivotal decision, for once!

    Despite losing (or drawing) their recent games at SB, I wasn't surprised to see Man U score a goal, because even when they lose, they do get a goal there.

    The previous match that they lost was partly because Chelsea were supreme in the second half and Man U had gravitated into lethargy and gave up control of the game to Chelsea, who, it must be said, got a large slice of fortune in terms of key decisions.

    Once I saw the draw, I knew Chelsea would have it hard owing to the fact that in Europe referees don't usually wink at the kind of fouls Chelsea (remember Ivanovic on Nani?) perpetrate.

    Great game. But not game over. The propects of the game at OT are intriguing. Man U, however, have been imperious at OT, winning all their games but two (in the PL and the CL). I'll have to go for a Utd win next Tuesday.

    Rooney likes to score against Chelsea, and what a superb goal that was! He's turning the style at the perfect moment.

    I was transmogrified that Ancelotti opted to substitute Drogba, instead of Torres. Drogba was more of a threat and a physical presence than Torres was. I'd be mighty frustrated if I were Drogba. He, for my money, was more effective, and the more likely to register a goal, than Torres. Ancelotti would find it hard to refute the claims that he is pandering to the wishes of Abramovich. Such a shame.

    The tie is obviously in the balance. But given the near-immaculate record Man U have carved out this season on home turf, Chelsea will have to work a lot harder to progress, much more so if Ancelotti does not go for pragmatism by giving Drogba more time on the pitch than Torres.

    Tactics won this game.

  • Comment number 11.

    No2 ... like your sarcasm.

    Why is Rooney lionised? The media are largely at fault ... it's a real pain. He scored, but after a superb long pass from Carrick and a brilliant take and move by Giggs. Rooney, had he been another foot wide, would have missed it! The media focus on the 'bad boys'. Why?

    United were more cohesive, Chelsea posed a threat. Could have been a penalty but Ancelotti's claim that it takes courage to give a penalty could be reversed in that it takes courage not to give one in the home ground. Nonsense anyway as the ref gives it as he sees it. There needs to be more respect for refs all round.

    Clive Woodward's comments elsewhere on Rooney are pertinent: he is no icon and he should learn to behave. His club should be disciplining him ... and others if need be. Some chance.

  • Comment number 12.

    Only a month since the ABU nation was telling us that 'What goes around comes around', Quite.

  • Comment number 13.

    Phil,

    I'm glad you've heaped praise on Carrick because I think he was the best player on the pitch last night. All the talk ahead of the game was how Essien and Lampard were too powerful and quick for the United midfield. Carrick made a mockery of that. I also believe the flak he has been getting this season is not justified. When you watch him perform live you realise how many good positions he takes up and how many attacks he breaks up. The television cameras do not always show this. Fergie is not stupid and that's why he has offered him a new 3 year contract.

    A note on Ancellottis reaction to the penalty. Notice any similarities between what he said and what Fergie said about Martin Atkinson after the league encounter. Claiming the ref didn't have the bottle to award the penalty is much the same as saying you wanted a strong referee. The whinging Chelsea fans do not have a leg to stand on after Zhirkov's dive and the none dismissal of Luiz. As Rio said "it's swings and roundabouts"

  • Comment number 14.

    Good win for United, very nervy 10-15 mins at the end, would have been nice to see United show a little more composure and we got lucky with the penalty but a deserved win anyway.

    Credit Valencia aswell, he did a decent job filling in at RB and had a good game. Would be nice to see everyone get past this Rooney thing now, it's done, he made a mistake and let's just focus on the football...

    Can someone explain Torres' form?? I really don't understand how a player of that much quality can just look so poor for so long. Every week people seem to say maybe this week but it never happens, not sure what it will take for Torres to find form again, unless if he is genuinely past it playing in England.

  • Comment number 15.

    Phil, nice blog. I have to agree with # 3 and 5 here that yes that was a penalty against Evra - but what of Essien and Ramirez? All the same, interesting game and not what I had expected. I feell that United are on the surge and come Tuesday, even if Chelsea do score, United will also do the same, and for me, the win is more vital today than that loss in March.
    Go United!

  • Comment number 16.

    It should have been a penalty, but we deserved the win. It also seems that a new FIFA/UEFA and FA ruling has been passed which allows the kicking of Rooney at Stamford Bridge.

  • Comment number 17.

    @12 Spot on. ABU FA and media gutted. No one likes us we don't care. And the reds go marching on on on! Love it

  • Comment number 18.

    Excellant win for my beloved Reds.
    The game itself mirrored the one 5 weeks ago when Utd controlled the first half and Chelsea took the second. Kharma regarding the Evra tackle at the end when you think of Smalling non tackle penalty in the league.
    Only half way there,Chelsea have a decent record at The Theatre of Dreams..indeed I still have nightmares when I remember a 4-0 thumping in 1969.
    Great night in prospect next week.

  • Comment number 19.

    Yashin

    To no.2, he is on about £160k a week.....


    _________________________

    Only? Poor thing. How on earth does he manage, what with his wife being a fashion icon and all?

    No wonder he wears a permanent scowl.

  • Comment number 20.

    For those United fans going on about Essien's tackles, I can only say look at the career tackles of Paul Scholes, and consider yourselves to still be in credit buy some distance.

    As for the result, Chelsea were unlucky not to score, 1-1 would have been a fair result, but United do look fairly comfortable against Chelsea defending a lead, and I expect them to wrap up the tie, without too much strife at Old Trafford.

  • Comment number 21.

    Claiming the ref didn't have the bottle to award the penalty is much the same as saying you wanted a strong referee.
    -----------------------------------
    but its not the same sa saying " when I saw who was going to be ref for the game, I feared the worse"

    Nice try to twist the truth, but a massive fail.

  • Comment number 22.

    Evra....are you Neville in disguise?

  • Comment number 23.

    a draw would have been a fair result.
    Man u had the better of the first half
    Chelsea had the better of the second half
    Simples

  • Comment number 24.

    It must deeply galling for Chelsea to be at the wrong end of a pivotal decision, for once!
    ----------------------------------------
    IN the CL, i think it is fair to say Chelsea has been on the wrong end of quite a few in recent years.

  • Comment number 25.

    So had Lampard burried that rebound, had Van Der Saar not acrobatically stretch himself to keep out that Torres header and had the ref pointed to the spot and brandished a red for that scissors-tackle at the end, I guess you would've written about a brilliantly efficient Chelsea and Torres, right? Nobody bossed nobody yesterday, 't was the typical cagey Chelsea - MU.

    By the by, I did see the Torres of old yesterday, especially at that moment in the first half were he skillfully rounded a defender, passed on the left, chested the pass inside the area and tried to overhead-kick it, only to scuff his shot.

    Good match.

  • Comment number 26.

    I would love to read Chelsea fans talking about the referee on a match against United at Stamford Bridge. SAF is still serving a 5 matches ban for a reaction not greater than Ancelotti's last night, but I'm sure the nation will by no means share this view, of course.

    Fans will be quick to remind of a penalty not given. They will conveniently forget early yellows to Essien and Ramires were also not given, where beautiful, caring tackles on Rooney were accompanied with the cheering from the Chelsea contingent with Rooney on the ground. I really can't understand the philosophy "it was too early on the game". Crouch received his second yellow and left the pitch a little later than 10 minutes since the start of that match and he fully deserved it. Still, nobody will mention the referee's mind might be influenced seeing Torres diving early on in the match. Torres had a splendid dive on his yellow too.

    A 0-1 score doesn't change many things for Chelsea. Even if it was 1-1 they would have to score at Old Trafford anyway.

    Chelsea didn't lose because the referee didn't give them a penalty. They lost for some good reasons
    a) United's set up in the match was dominating
    b) United's players were quick in stopping Chelsea's play, pressurising them in midfield, stealing the ball, looking always dangerous on the counter attack.
    c) Essien isn't shining for some time now. Many would say he should have received two yellows last night and they will be no wrong. This season he isn't that 'natural successor of Vieira' as Vieira himself had noted a few years back. Lampard didn't influence the game as much as he would like to.
    d) In attack, Chelsea were a team having to have certain players in, because they had to. In contrast, United scored a goal of sublime beauty, having in attack whoever the manager wanted to be there, with no scenes behind the scenes.
    e) United were the better team last night. This time they were as fresh coming into the match as Chelsea were in the recent match, so the first half performance carried itself in the second half.
    g) United had 52% of domination, statistics show. Statistics count for nothing of course but Chelsea were behind in the score since early on. Shouldn't domination be theirs?
    h) Van der Sar had a world class save again. Had Torres scored, people would stop talking him down, because his effort was brilliant. Sadly for him, Van der Sar's reaction was as brilliant.

    All it is there to be played for, back at Old Trafford. United got a slender advantage but, most importantly, put their demons at Stamford Bridge to rest.

  • Comment number 27.

    There wasn't much between the two sides. Man Utd scored with the only decent move of the night, and then sat back and tried to hit Chelsea on the break. Chelsea huffed and puffed but never managed to click everything together. I think it would be wrong to give the credit to Rooney though Phil as all he had to do was side foot it into the net unmarked 6 yards out. The real quality of the goal was in Carricks perfect pass and Giggs quality in beating the defender with his first touch. Rooney also made two awful defensive mistakes that had they led to goals, the media would have pounced on as evidence that "his mind was on other things".

    Thought the referee had a decent game overall but got it badly wrong at the end (although how the offical on the goalline didn't give it is anyones guess). It was a stonewall penalty with Evra scissors take down not playing the ball and ending up in the box even if the contact started outside. Remember if the contact starts outside and continues inside it is still a penalty. Essien and Ramires could have been red carded but so could Vidic and Evra so guess it's swings and roundabouts.

    The ITV coverage was nothing short of terrible though. I know Clive Tydellsey is a Man Utd fan but as a neutral I found some of his comments totally baffling. Man Utd broke with 5 men and then stopped and played it all the way back 90 yards to Van Der Saar to retain possession. Clive Tydellsey says: "Man Utd have an ethos of attack, attack, attack and it's served them well tonight". Surely even the most ardent Man Utd fan would agree that this season and over the past few years particularly away in Europe, that hasn't been the Man Utd ethos and it certainly wasn't displayed last night in any shape or form. I know he is pandering to the masses in some way but I couldn't help thinking of Roy Keanes comments about the way football is "sold" to the public with commentators and pundits trying to sell you something that isn't there.

    There isn't much between these teams and there won't be at Old Trafford in the second leg so it could still go either way. The referees have a big part to play when the teams are this evenly matched so expect more controversy next time!

  • Comment number 28.

    just want to put in a mention for Michael Carrick last night, hes not always the best player on the park for Utd partly due to confidence but last night he was unbelieveable, every aspect of his game was well above what he normally gives for the team and i hope to see more in the closing stages.

  • Comment number 29.

    25. At 08:14am on 7th Apr 2011, SchizOfRenic wrote:

    By the by, I did see the Torres of old yesterday, especially at that moment in the first half were he skillfully rounded a defender, passed on the left, chested the pass inside the area and tried to overhead-kick it, only to scuff his shot.


    Not to mention the 2 dives. You can take the boy out of Liverpool...........

  • Comment number 30.

    2. At 07:22am on 7th Apr 2011, First there was one striker but now we have two wrote:

    Scoring a goal without elbowing a player in the face, and without spewing a barrage of profanities is no mean feat. Well done Wayne Rooney you are a iconic figure for the Country and deserve to be on £250,000 per week. :)

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Don't forget to say hello to Carragher. Nani is still feeling the pain. Advice him to get superglue so that he can stick himself on opponents, as it will help him because he's as static as a rock. No, I will not mention Gerrard :-)

  • Comment number 31.

    @ Born_Again

    He he! That one too! And I'm glad the ref punished him. I'm also glad his teammates stood up for him when Rio was mouthing off at the end. At least some confidence for the psychologically troubled lad.

  • Comment number 32.

    Man U were good for the win, and the goal was a magnificent piece of play, but this is just half time and more goals will be scored by both sides before this is over.
    I think Ancelotti made a mistake in not starting with Malouda and Anelka, and he should have played 4-3-3 but we'll see if he has anything up his sleeve for the return fixture.
    I wouldn't be surprised to see extra time at Old Trafford, this is gonna be tight, and lets face it it is the only tie left in the competition with any real interest in the second leg. English football delivers again.

  • Comment number 33.

    I would love to read Chelsea fans talking about the referee on a match against United at Stamford Bridge. SAF is still serving a 5 matches ban for a reaction not greater than Ancelotti's last night, but I'm sure the nation will by no means share this view, of course.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Well here is one...

    Look against United in the league, certainly in the last two seasons we have had the rub of the green on decisions, although I love how United fans never recognize they got away with the Johhny Evans drop kick or the Macheda handball goal.

    But Chelsea in the CL,whoever we play,just don't get the big decisions in their favour, (the sending off of Abidal the exception)

    And Fergie got a three match ban not a 5 match ban and he activated a 2 match suspended ban because of that 3match ban,which proves he has previous.

    Why..mainly because he said this "I feared the worse when I saw he was going to be the ref for that match" You can surely see what is wrong with that comment and how different it is from Carlo saying you need to show courage as a ref

  • Comment number 34.

    #20 - the difference between Scholes and Essien is that Scholes' poor tackles are invariably punished with yellow cards. Essien on the other hand got away with it scott free last night.....

  • Comment number 35.

    #20 - apologies - Essien did get booked last night, my bad!

  • Comment number 36.

    It did not look like Torres dived on either occasion and I think Rio should have been yellow carded for his aggressive confrontations on Torres. Replays clearly showed that on the first occassion he lost his balance, and to be fair, did not appeal for a penalty. On the second occasion Valencia first lcipped his front foot and then torres back foot caught Valencias leg, making him fall down. It could be a penalty and it would be a soft one but it was never a dive.

    I am not a Torres fan, nor am I a Chelsea fan.

    United look the most like champions, both for this tie and for the league

  • Comment number 37.

    #20 - the difference between Scholes and Essien is that Scholes' poor tackles are invariably punished with yellow cards. Essien on the other hand got away with it scott free last night.....
    ----------------------------
    Only after he has made his 5th one of the match, usually at about 80 minutes one, meaning he has little chance of getting sent off

    He has got away with it for year after year. So as there are so many of you keen to to use the old 'swings and roundabout' phrase for Essien read Scholes.

  • Comment number 38.

    Rooney didn't smile for the cameras at all last night. He studiously ignored them & showed his joy to the fans on the terraces instead. As for Chelsea having a penalty turned down then yes, it was a penalty. But it was obvoius the ref had had enough of their diving & ignored it. Then, when Torres divied for the 2nd or 3rd time in the penalty area that night, the ref rightly booked him.

  • Comment number 39.

    @ Born_Again

    Good point. Everyone seems to be forgetting that as diving deserves a yellow card, then Torres should've walked for the two rediculous dives he tried to con the ref with.

    So much for us stamping out diving. Will the FA act on the diving? Don't think so. So will school children now be running around the football pitch diving just because the saw Torres dive? No, it's the same thing as swearing on TV, the kids will be told it's wrong regardless.

    I'm fed up with the top 4 teams moaning about decisions they didn't get. I feel sorry for the likes of, say for instance West Brom, who might only get one chance against the top 4. If the same thing happenens to them then they've got the right to complain as it was their only chance of a result. The top 4 should be good enough to make several chances so if they don't take them it's their own fault.

    The game was played over 94 minutes last night and Chelsea are picking out 5 seconds from it and seem to be using it as an excuse. If you've not played good enough for a draw or a win then again, it's your own fault. Time for a reality check.

  • Comment number 40.

    Man Utd overall deserved the win last night, however it was a clear penalty (revenge for the penalty decison in the league game maybe)...

    Rio was fantastic...Rooney was Brilliant and Carrick stepped upto the plate for the first time in 2 years.

    First there was one striker but now we have two: and yes Rooney does deserve to be on £250,000 a week, football wages went sky high way before he was even out of school. He makes Man Utd more money than he costs them, scores vital goals and works harder for the team than anyone else.

  • Comment number 41.

    I thought Park had a good game too, quite a few times he was there as cover at right back to stop Chelsea getting the ball into the box. All to play for at Old Trafford after all Man Utd only have the one away goal if Chelsea score the first goal in the second leg the advantage shifts slightly in their favour in my opinion....

  • Comment number 42.

    ***left back even***

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Phil,

    No where have I seen it mentioned, that the England Captain was picked up by the Camera swearing at the assistant referee, clear as day.

    Why isn't there the same Witch hunt for Terry as there was for Rooney?

  • Comment number 44.

    I really don't think Torres dived on the first one and people are just saying that because of Rio's reaction. to me it really did look like he lost his balance and he certainly did not appeal for a penalty.

    The last one, there was minimal contact on his foot and he went down to try and in the penalty. That's a dive, on another day he may have won the pen, but last night it was a yellow, fair enough.

  • Comment number 45.

    Evra one was a penalty, Valencia one was a dive - bit lucky but a good win for United.

  • Comment number 46.

    Surely Chelsea aren't feeling too aggrieved? Every single game has a referreing decision that is scrutinised. The last couple have been in Chelsea's favour. Were Utd not pretty worthy of one-nil? It is half-time, plenty to play for.

  • Comment number 47.

    No Atkinson to save them this time! I'm confident he would have awarded them 3 penalties yesterday.
    Chelsea fans happily forget the win through JTs header from a non existent free kick? Not to mention many other dubious decisions in their favour?...I'm shocked and amazed!!

    What does Carlo expect when his own players are diving all over the place?
    Ramires should have been booked and Essien should have walked. Is there a new rule that kicking Utd players at the Bridge is OK?

    ZERO sympathy for Chelsea

  • Comment number 48.

    Torres didnt dive, he was taken out by two reckless tackles by those nasty evil snipers that usually aim at Drogba.


  • Comment number 49.

    Sick of these tabloids and papers talking about "rooney smiling" rather than shouting... - WHAT THE HELL? Has the world gone mad.

    Rooney deserves to shout at cameras if he pleases, i know he gets overpaid every week and probabaly doesnt deserve the money, but having the media constantly in your business is bound to rile up even the most noble player. He is portrayed as a villain but hes been given alot of stick.

    "How would he react? The answer came as he smiled, slid and tumbled for the cameras before celebrating with arms outstretched in front of Chelsea fans gathered in the Matthew Harding Stand."

    WOW, Phil makes it out like we were expecting him to jump into the crowd and beat up a pregnant lady. Sick of the media

    KICK THE MEDIA OUT OF FOOTBALL. YOU RUIN PLAYERS.

  • Comment number 50.

    Games facts:

    Essien should have been sent off for 2 bad challenges.
    Torres should have walked for 2 swans.
    Chelsea should have had a penalty.
    Man Utd were the better team.

    Get the penalty out the way first. It was a pen, but what about the last games at Stamford Bridge? Luiz should have been off for 2 blatant yellow card offenses and the penalty was a wrong decision, Drogba's yard off-side goal (Macheda handball didn't matter, once it was 2-0 the game was over). Rooney wrongly ruled off-side when through on goal, incorrect decision to award freekick that set up Terry's goal, Brown fouled by Drogba for Terry's goal, oh and Lamaprd scoring in the Charity Shield after Ballack body-checked Evra leaving him on the ground. The list goes on. So Chelsea fans, do not cry that you have not received a decision in a game in which you played badly.

    Well played Rooney.

  • Comment number 51.

    "overall deserved" - what is this? Since do you deserve something in a football game? And, by the way, have you seen the stats? The goal-scoring opportunities? If someone deserved at least a draw from this match, it's Chelsea. But they didn't take their chances. MU did. To be more precise, the game was decided by the individual brilliance of Giggs. End of.

  • Comment number 52.

    For once I thought Torres played a bit better yesterday, though I don't understand people who are puzzled by his recent form - he hasn't played well for over a year, including for Spain.

    Chelsea's real weakness seemed to be in midfield where Essien and Lampard were really quite poor and totally overrun by Carrick (surprisingly good), Park, and Giggs. Chelsea are starting to look like a side badly needing to lose a few average performers and get used to life after Lampard, Terry and Drogba.

  • Comment number 53.

    Why can't United fans just enjoy their win. I've heard and read nothing but whinging about how they are victimised by referees, the FA and the media. Get a grip - United are well up overall in the rub of the green stakes. Fergie is a genius of mind control. I reckon he could convince people that Hitler was a lovely man.

    Anyway, in the end all this fixture is is part of the process of finding out who Barcelona are going to beat in the final.

  • Comment number 54.

    Torres didnt dive, he was taken out by two reckless tackles by those nasty evil snipers that usually aim at Drogba.

    --------------
    LOL

  • Comment number 55.

    I was one of those sceptics mentioned when Carrick signed the new deal but he was the best player on the park last night.

    Valencia was excellent too

    Evra was awful and in slow motion it looked a penalty, but maybe the Spanish refs are a bit 'stronger'!

    We are Utd we'll do what we want

  • Comment number 56.

    I enjoyed the game, being a United fan, and was delighted with the result. I was really annoyed at one incident however. Rafael stood his ground against Drogba and got himself injured. When the ball eventually went out Drogba didnt make sure Rafael was alright, but was pleading his innocence to the ref. Yes Drogba you didnt mean to hurt the lad, and it was probably just a painful dead leg, but your a big boy and you are capable of hurting someone.

  • Comment number 57.


    The away goal is nice, but even if Chelsea had won 2-0 they would still be looking to score in the second leg, so they will still have the same game plan, I cant see the second leg being a 0-0 draw to be honest, so this game still has goals in it and its still open as I can see Chelsea scoring.

    I really enjoyed the game last night, even before the goal was scored (and even more so after :p)
    it was pretty much end to end stuff, fast paced and better than a few of the "We must not lose at all costs" games we have had over the years from the "Top teams" when they play each other.

  • Comment number 58.

    You criticise, criticise, criticise...and then when its time for him to play for England you all expect him to flourish and actually want to represent his country. If i was him i would retire from International duty - show this pathetic nationistic what its missing

  • Comment number 59.

    Ramires shouldn't have been on the pitch anyway. Karma or justice, either is appropriate but neither make up for the awful decisions that have gone Chelsea's way over the past few years. Martin Atkinson will have gone to bed last night with a tear in his eye (after kissing his John Terry poster of course).

  • Comment number 60.

    "I reckon he could convince people that Hitler was a lovely man."



    Only if he played in red :p

  • Comment number 61.

    To me, the most worrying thing for Chelsea supporters is that this Chelsea team is not the team that won the title at Old Trafford by beating us in our own turf.

    Chelsea created chances last night but not as many as they would like. Van der Sar did have a save that will take some time to forget on Torres's header but, equally, hadn't Cech's fingertips diverted a Nani cross, Hernandez had it on a plate for 0-2. Essien tends to be nervous and reckless this season. Lampard tends to be anonymous. There are troubles up front, due to owner's interference with the team sheet. Things at Chelsea don't click as they did last season, for some reason.

    Yet, Torres had a better performance. He had an excellent header of great quality that would be a great goal had someone else been the United goalkeeper. We saw him turning defenders and running away again. I think confidence is what is missing on him. Strikers need it like the air they breathe.

    As for United, they did play like champions last night. On Saturday, they showed the same spirit. Giggs left back on Saturday, Valencia right back last night. The team supported them both. United start pressing the gas at the right time. I was worried when I saw Ferdinand in the starting XI right away. His performance was there though to explain why SAF put him right in. About time Smalling to be given some rest.

    With United ahead in the title race and all the important players coming back in, it must be dispiriting for the opposition. It must be dispiriting for Chelsea, going to Old Trafford having to win, when they're as low in spirit themselves as United are on a high, this time round.

    It's a great time to be a Man Utd supporter!

  • Comment number 62.

    54. At 08:54am on 7th Apr 2011, sam2samsam wrote:

    Torres didnt dive, he was taken out by two reckless tackles by those nasty evil snipers that usually aim at Drogba.
    ---------------------------

    I like, Its funny how all chelsea fans and the media may i add are fixated on the penalty and seem to have skimmed over the fact that essien should've got a card for his early challenge on rooney and Torres shouldve been off for the 2 dives add in the Penalty decision and its clear the ref had no bottle to be reffing a game this big!

    Also im loving the fact that the media are all shouting about how great Drogba was and what a "shock" it was he got subbed instead of Torres, When clearly he had lost his head and had borrowed Anelkas old expression book "le sulk".

  • Comment number 63.

    The funniest comment of the night was Rio Ferdinand saying 'these things even out over the course of a season,' which - naturally - is disingenuous fantasy as far as Manchester United are concerned. Chelsea - though I hold no brief for them - have had notable, risible decisions against them in the CL - the goal that never was against Liverpool; the Barcelona semi-final and now this.

    Hard to feel that sorry for them - fuelled by another country's natural resources and one man's vanity.

  • Comment number 64.

    Not like chelski to criticise the ref, what next ? death threats ?, ref has to retire ?

  • Comment number 65.

    Chelsea did not play well enough last night, we can keep moaning about decisions to hide the point were not good enough. Torres on the other hand could firstly do with a bit of service. I wonder if he would be struggling to score if say we had a Robben or Duff of old. In desperate need of a decent winger! Can only hope Alex can play at OT and Ivanovic can go right back. Rooney was brilliant last night i dont understand why we go on about such incidents in England like saturdays.

  • Comment number 66.

    Phil

    I imagine the BBC move to Salford is going to be good for you bearing in mind your bi-weekly United articles! At least it'll save a bit on expenses...oh yeah we pay those!

  • Comment number 67.

    chelsea can't complain. forget things evening themselves out (it won't make united champions last season), even in the space of the one game, united were the ones robbed. essien and even ramires himself should not have been on the pitch by the time of the penalty claim.

    compare ramires throwing himself over with nani getting clipped in the d earlier. nani kept going trying to score. chelsea just looked tired and out of ideas.

    there is no justice in a rooney ban for swearing. the idea that people are genuinely upset about such things is quite ridiculous, but you either ban swearing or you don't. when england need him, the rules are different, apparently.

  • Comment number 68.

    The media reaction to this game is quite sad. I was watching Sky Sports News and they said Chelsea has 2 yes 2 penalty claims turned down at the end! I'm sorry Sky Sports, but to mention Torres' dive as a penalty claim is absurd. And then to bang on about the real disputed penalty decision without mentioning any game facts is disheartening. I know the media have a job to sensationalise and highlught anything even slightly contraversial, but it's tiring. The London-based media is tiring. I'm almost glad that Phil McNulty supports Liverpool, but surprised Gerrard is not mentioned in this blog Phil? In your previous blog on who should be upfront for Chelsea against United, you somehow managed to mention Gerrard twice and mention Rooney, the eventual game winner in the match a total of....zero? Baffling stuff.

  • Comment number 69.

    62. At 09:01am on 7th Apr 2011, AllTheGoodNamesWereTaken wrote:
    54. At 08:54am on 7th Apr 2011, sam2samsam wrote:

    Torres didnt dive, he was taken out by two reckless tackles by those nasty evil snipers that usually aim at Drogba.

    -------------------
    @AllTheGoodNamesWereTaken

    I'm not a chelsea fan mate, not sure why you've attributed that post to me!
    The person who made it was:

    48. At 08:51am on 7th Apr 2011, Jesus the Teddy Bear wrote:
    Torres didnt dive, he was taken out by two reckless tackles by those nasty evil snipers that usually aim at Drogba.


  • Comment number 70.

    what is this United deserved to win thing?? united played like all the teams do when they come to the Emirates and defend very deep. And they did it very well. Apart from a moment of genius from Giggs, (of course it's Rooney that get all the praise because he's English ) United offered nothing going forward. Imagine if Rooney was a third the player Messi is, we would not read anything else in the media. Chelsea were really poor and personally a 2-1 win for the Londoners in the next game is very much doable.

    Chelsea's gameplan is clear, what will United's be?

  • Comment number 71.

    Ref: Real vs Spurs the other night and Dawson's hand ball that probably should have been a penalty - Ray Wilkins "I think Dawson raised his arm and Spurs should count their chickens"

    What!?!?!

  • Comment number 72.

    @55

    Carrick was ok but nothing more. People will point to the highlight being the pass out wide to Giggs for the goal.

    This was turned into a good pass by the excellence of Giggs and the hapless Bosingwa who got caught underneath it. Had that pass gone out wide to most other players, it would have resulted in a throw in, or goal kick.

    The fact remains that Giggs will not be there much longer to sweep tis kind of move on, and there are no signs of him or Scholes being replaced

  • Comment number 73.

    69. At 09:11am on 7th Apr 2011, sam2samsam wrote:

    I only used you post to say i like it if you read the bit at the start.

  • Comment number 74.

    73. At 09:12am on 7th Apr 2011, AllTheGoodNamesWereTaken wrote:
    69. At 09:11am on 7th Apr 2011, sam2samsam wrote:

    I only used you post to say i like it if you read the bit at the start.

    ----------------
    Cool no worries

  • Comment number 75.

    Half of another blog talking about the most insignificant of incidents from the weekend, meanwhile a champions league 1/4 final passes you by? Another incredibly dull blog

    Chelsea were so ordinary last night, it's comical how much people have been hyping them up in recent weeks. "Can they win the league? Is it the CL?" probably more out of hope than expectation.

    Just please, god, ANYONE BUT UNITED

  • Comment number 76.

    The relatively scant mentions of Michael Carrick’s outstanding performance last night are not surprising after your March blog pronounced his “performances have been at a level that would have seen him eased towards Old Trafford's exit in the not-so-distant past as opposed to being rewarded with a long-term deal.”

    As you say he is rejuvenated; probably the result of the new contract, which just demonstrates when it comes to football intellect and management the gap between you and SAF is cavernous.

    I find some similarities between the performances of you and Carrick. Both can be indifferent – yours more than his – and many would question your continuing contract with the BBC. Then again occasionally you do produce a piece worth reading.

    It is also worth recalling other comments from your Manchester United mid-March blog - “This is a side producing a growing body of evidence…that it is reaching the end of the line in its current form.”

    Hmmm. Does this refer to Hernandez, Anderson, Nani, two De Silvas, Smalling, Valencia, Wellbeck, Macheda, Cleverly etc? Or perhaps Wayne Rooney? Or is it a reference to being an FA Cup semi finalist; top of the greatest football league in the world and in an envious position in a quest for a Champions league semi-final?

    Yes additional mid-field strength is required at Old Trafford (SAF has no need to consult Einstein on that) but it will not be a huge problem – in fact as a re-building program it is of a size that most clubs world-wide would envy.

    If the many pundits, like you, who view this United team as relatively poor and time-weary, what does it say of the myriad of teams who continually fail to take advantage of these ill-perceived weaknesses?

  • Comment number 77.

    I thought the quality of the match was awful, basic mistakes were being made by both teams although the majority of which were from chelsea. I mean i've never seen torres or essien have such a poor first touch, even simple 5 yard passes that were played into them were not sticking and essien had a poor performace but torres wasn't holding the ball up or providing options for the pass and was often static in the box. But i don't think that man utd showed anything spectacular in the game at all and chelsea can definately go and win at old trafford. I really don't see anything in the united team that chelsea should be afraid of and they should go to old trafford with confidence that they can win the game. But i think that they should start malouda instead of zhirkov as malouda is faster and stronger and is more likely to stay wide and be more direct and run at the defender and get crosses in and hopefully torres and drogba play better than they did last night.

  • Comment number 78.

    #36 - there were at least 2 dives by Torres - one eh tried against Vidic and one where you can see him move his back leg towards Valencia to try and wrap it round the United players leg. He deserved teh booking he got for it and could hav eeasily been booked for both.

  • Comment number 79.

    Phil, why are you putting down Torres and Chelsea?
    I'm a Liverpool fan so don't really like anyone involved in this game, but a draw would have been a fair result. With a bit more luck or the stonewall penalty given it would have been 1-1. Up front Manu didnt do much except score the goal they got whereas Chelsea had alot more decent chances. Torres played very well indeed and was very unlucky not to score and he caused alot of problems for the Manu defence. There is no real justification to get on his back for what he did in this game. I'm sure if his brilliant header had gone in then you would be writing about how "Brilliant Torres saves Chelsea".
    I see no reason why Torres and Drogba can't play together in a front 3, Torres often drifts out to the wings even when he is on his own up front. I must admit though subbing Drogba was a dumb move by Ancelotti, he looked dangerous all night.
    This game is far from over though, it is certainly not beyond Chelsea to win in Manchester even if they have to win by 2 clear goals.

  • Comment number 80.

    49. At 08:52am on 7th Apr 2011, Indy Dodwal wrote:
    Sick of these tabloids and papers talking about "rooney smiling" rather than shouting... - WHAT THE HELL? Has the world gone mad.

    Rooney deserves to shout at cameras if he pleases, i know he gets overpaid every week and probabaly doesnt deserve the money, but having the media constantly in your business is bound to rile up even the most noble player. He is portrayed as a villain but hes been given alot of stick.

    "How would he react? The answer came as he smiled, slid and tumbled for the cameras before celebrating with arms outstretched in front of Chelsea fans gathered in the Matthew Harding Stand."

    WOW, Phil makes it out like we were expecting him to jump into the crowd and beat up a pregnant lady. Sick of the media

    KICK THE MEDIA OUT OF FOOTBALL. YOU RUIN PLAYERS.

    .............................................................................................................................

    A footballer who is paid £160k a week and with as a high profile as Wayne Rooney is bound to get a little bit of media attention surely?

    Maybe you don't quite understand what the media's job is. It is to discuss and report on most recent events. Rooney's little rant in front of the cameras (not the first time) makes headlines.

    If Rooney wants to be portrayed differently then surely he should act differently?

    If Rooney really wants to learn how best to deal with the media then he should arrange a meeting with Jonny Wilkinson. Alternatively if he wants to milk the media even more then arrange a meeting with David Beckham. England's most high profile rugby player and footballer will be able to help Rooney.


    Maybe Sin bins should be introduced to football. That would make players less inclined to foul and dive.

    Though I suppose you would probably get into the farcical scenario where you would have players coming on and off for the 90 minutes.

    Maybe video refs and referrals? Maybe each side could have one appeal a match for a penalty? Instant replays could apply. All speculation as this would never happen but I think there is certainly room for improvement in football.

    Two wrongs do not make a right by the way.

  • Comment number 81.

    The Sun had the most ironic headline this morning
    #
    I Say Old Bean What A Splendid Goal

    Quite funny

  • Comment number 82.

    606 going
    blogs giving 404 errors, up and down more often than a cheap nights knickers
    blogs refreshing back to page 1


    Sort it out BBC

  • Comment number 83.

    beshocked when you wrote that, did you think you were the first person since Saturday to say that?

    I suppose anything is better than talking about yet another great season for United. Everyone else is in tatters. Oh to go and dig out some McNulty classics from the beginning of the season where Sage McNulty and his army of bitter soldiers proclaimed "WHO'S GONNA STOP CHELSEA? WILL UNITED QUALIFY FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE? IS THIS THE END FOR UNITED?"

    Days like today are as sweet as they were 15 years ago

  • Comment number 84.

    “Rooney will be punished with a ban for his expletive outburst into a pitchside camera after completing his hat-trick…”

    Someone better tell the FA not to bother having their meeting on Thursday, Mr McNulty’s made the decision for them.

    Good game, well done United.

  • Comment number 85.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 86.

    Well done Man U, they looked the better team.

    Thing is though, the platitudes and lazy cliches that accompany such a game seem to be borne out of the result and not necessarily what happened on this pitch.

    Cech didn't really have much to do and the goal that they did score should simply have been dealt with by Bosingwa. Of course, with the goal in the bag, Man U could afford to not really attack in the second half as they got what they came for, so fair play to them for that.

    Torres should have done better with some of the chances that did come his way but the save that VDS made from that header was pure class goalkeeping. He is quite some keeper to still be doing it at his age, and that's not a comment based on last night.

    Anyway, Man U do have the advantage going into the second leg but it's only one goal and if Chelsea do score first at Old Trafford then it's as you were.

    Come next Tuesday, Chelsea will need to be sharper but the chances are being made it's just that since around October (5 months!) we've not really been taking them.

  • Comment number 87.

    67. At 09:09am on 7th Apr 2011, jem wrote:

    compare ramires throwing himself over with nani getting clipped in the d earlier. nani kept going trying to score. chelsea just looked tired and out of ideas.

    -------------------------------------------

    Don't expect people to take notice that Nani could have won a dangerous foul or even a penalty when he stood his ground rather than falling on Ramires's clipping from behind. People tend to forget these little details :)

  • Comment number 88.

    Must have been so frustrating for Martin Atkinson watching that on telly. He could have really made the difference tonight.

  • Comment number 89.

    Phil

    I imagine the BBC move to Salford is going to be good for you bearing in mind your bi-weekly United articles! At least it'll save a bit on expenses...oh yeah we pay those!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Phil gets paid to comment on BIG games, Man United are involved in more BIG games than anyone else, so it would kind of make sense!

    In terms of the game, thought United were deserved winners, they had a better balance to their team, look calm and assured on the ball and won the midfield battle. United have verstaile players, with Giggs, Park, Rooney and Valencia all switching, playing on the outside , inside or deeper.

    Van Der Sar was superb when he was called upon, Rio looked like he had never been away and added extra assurance to the defence. Evra looked shaky at times, and too keen to go to ground too easily but made up by the goal line clearance.

    In midfield, United were hard working and looked more penetrative, Carrick had his best game for United for 2 years, Giggs was mercurial, Park as tenacious as ever and Valencia a constant threat. Add to this a confident Rooney who the ball was sticking to like glue.

    United were well worthy of their win and the incorrect decision of the referee at the end should not disguise the fact that United played Chelsea off the park in every position as well as any away team could in a European Quarter final. Lets also not forget that United have conceded only 2 goals in Europe in 9 games this season.

    Whilst the tie is not over, United just need to play to their best and they will go through.

  • Comment number 90.

    Totally agree with Alinem why is no one talking about Essien should have had 1st yellow against Rooney in 5th min the 2nd yellow would mean he should have been off!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    As Mark Lawrenson says "the more you see it the more it looks a penalty". The officials see it once and in real time they can't rewind and watch it in slow motion so unless they're 100% certain they can't give it. Darren Fletcher made a perfectly good tackle on Fabregas 2 years ago and was sent off thereby missing the final. Did he complain?

  • Comment number 92.

    Capacity at Stamford Bridge = about 42,000

    Attendance last night = about 37,000

    Big club? Absolutely.

  • Comment number 93.

    @27 - "Remember if the contact starts outside and continues inside it is still a penalty"

    Erm, no it's not. Whose rules are you following with that one?

    @33 - semantics, they were both criticising the ability and performance of the referee and the Chelsea fans were all holier than thou when Fergie was the protagonist.

  • Comment number 94.

    Great win for United along with another improved performance which bodes well for the run-in.

    United were much the better team in the first half and whilst they didn't threaten the goal a lot in the 2nd half they controlled it until the last 15 minutes when Chelsea went a lot more attacking. The balance in United's side was much better than Chelsea and it is clear that Torres and Drogba won't work, methinks Didier could be on his way this summer.

    Evra was fortunate at the death. Unusual for United to be fortunate with a decision at the Bridge but they were in this case. Whether it was a free kick or a penalty is out for debate but no doubt it was a foul and a red card. When I saw it in full speed I thought Evra had taken the ball because of the angle Ramires was running and the angle he came in at making the challenge, the ball moved in that direction. However in slow motion from the other side it was clear that Ramires shifted the ball and it was a foul which begs the question once again, just what is the point of those fellas who stand behind the goal with their Harry Potter wands?

    I think 1 nil was the right result.

  • Comment number 95.

    For me, definate penalty and if the so called fourth or fifth official is not going to give that looking straight at it, they may as well not be there.
    Very late tackle by Ramires on Rooney in first half - definate yellow and should have walked in the second half with his 'second' yellow.
    Very late tackle by Essien on Rooney in first half - definate yellow and should have walked in the second half with his 'second' yellow.
    Torres first dive should have been a yellow card and the second dive should have been a second and a further red card.
    So not all one way traffic on the refereeing front.
    Close game, a good game and tie far from over.

  • Comment number 96.

    #89 4-1? No thanks, make mine a league title!

    Evra looked shaky at times, and too keen to go to ground too easily but made up by the goal line clearance.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Evra made me laugh last night. He did seem to be off the pace but was prepared to put his body about to get on with the job of defending even though he got a bit battered in the process. When I saw him walking, looking a bit out of sorts with a couple of bits of cotton wool up his nose, it seemed to sum up that he'd had enough!

  • Comment number 97.

    I'm impartial as I support neither team.

    However Chelsea clearly should have been given the penalty and this is another unfortunate match where the ref has influenced the result.

    As for Rooney showing he can behave, for goodness sake he is a grown man and should show restraint at all times on the pitch (as should a few others). Don't think he would bother appealing the ban if it wasn't the FA Cup Semi Final he is at risk of missing.

  • Comment number 98.

    #92 bobsy123

    Capacity at Stamford Bridge = about 42,000

    Attendance last night = about 37,000

    Big club? Absolutely.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Try not to be a muppet all your life.

    The question is not where the fans were, the question is just how many seats do you have to sacrifice to UEFA either for their hangers on, or for 'safety' reasons, or for press.

    To my mind, it demonstrates that UEFA care less for fans that go to matches and more for the money that such matches generate from other sources.

  • Comment number 99.

    92. At 09:54am on 7th Apr 2011, bobsy123 wrote:

    Capacity at Stamford Bridge = about 42,000

    Attendance last night = about 37,000

    Big club? Absolutely.

    -----------------------------------------

    A friend of mine wanted to watch the canceled fixture Chelsea v Man Utd on the Xmas period. I googled for tickets for that match. I did find some. They cost £234. Does it explain? :)

    Yes.. overpaid footballers haha

  • Comment number 100.

    finally we get one decision at stamford bridge because we get a uefa ref and not an fa ref and it's like we've robbed them. what about torres 2 dives. should be a red. what about the two late challenges on rooney. would have resulted in red cards (second yellows) for ramires and essien. surprised that all of a sudden surrounding the ref and accusing him, barging him, attacking him verbally are all "understandable" and i assume a good role model to our precious children.
    not to mention the blatant hypocrisy of the chelsea fans booing rooney for swearing on camera, before singing in unison foul and abusive songs for their 'precious children' to hear.
    united outclassed chelsea again. only one team showed any attacking intent or ability. only one team played with integrity and class, whilst chelsea played cynically and aggressively, targetting rooney and attempting to con the ref at every opportunity. maybe that's why he thought twice over the penalty claim. maybe he thought you were just cheating again.
    the tie is ours to lose. the league is ours to lose. and for a team that dreams of the success and more importantly the style and flair of united, that was just obviously too much last night. shame!

 

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