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Man Utd unmoved but Chelsea buoyed

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Phil McNulty | 04:37 UK time, Monday, 19 September 2011

Crazy. Chaotic. Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas showed a commendable command of understatement after a game that offered comfort to the connoisseur and hope to the hopeless.

It was in keeping with the twisted logic of Manchester United's 3-1 win against Chelsea that Villas-Boas seemed more satisfied in defeat than the pursed-lipped Sir Alex Ferguson in victory.

This says much for Ferguson's standards but also for a Chelsea performance that offered plenty of encouragement to their young, but highly self-assured, manager.

The final reckoning saw United complete their 18th successive victory at Old Trafford, equalling a record that has stood since 1904/05 and - ominously for their challengers - Ferguson's best start to a league season at United.

And yet there was so much more to this match than simply the scoreline. Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Chelsea striker Fernando Torres showed a finesse that was beyond mere mortals but also a fallibility that showed the simple marshes hackers that football can even make fools of the best.

Rooney, inevitably, played his full part and scored as United went into a flattering 3-0 half-time lead, adding to Chris Smalling's suspiciously offside header and Nani's magnificent strike. He then suffered what Chelsea captain John Terry might call a "Moscow Moment" when his feet disappeared from under him as he scuffed a penalty embarrassingly wide.

Wayne RooneyRooney's penalty slip deprived him of a 10th goal in five Premier League games

And Torres, who showed flashes of the movement and menace that made him so feared for Liverpool and Spain, followed up a finish that hinted at old glories for his first goal of the season with a miss that evoked memories of that lesser Anfield light Ronny Rosenthal.

As someone who was privileged - and the word is used advisedly - to be at Aston Villa 19 years ago when Rosenthal hit the frame of an unattended goal from eight yards, it was a moment that provoked a haunting flashback.

If there was consolation for Torres once the taunts of the Stretford End died, it was that the sum total of everything he had done previously, from his goal to the intelligent running and the unselfish creation of a crucial first-half chance that Ramires missed, added up to arguably his finest performance since he signed for Chelsea in January.

There are still as many questions as answers surrounding Torres. When he chose to square for Ramires in the first half Old Trafford's panel of judges was divided. Did he pass up an opportunity to shoot that a striker in full flow, and sure in his powers, would have grasped at, or is he still so clear-headed in his struggles that he calculated Ramires was obviously better placed?

To these eyes it was the latter. The fault lay with Ramires' hesitation that allowed United keeper David de Gea to save rather than Torres relinquishing his true responsibility.

And if the Spaniard had taken that most presentable of chances after 83 minutes, Chelsea would have had a total of 12 minutes, including stoppage time, to fashion an equaliser. Evidence for the prosecution certainly, but balance suggests Torres showed enough here to confirm he can still regain some of the old lustre.

There is not normally much mileage in asking a manager if he has uncovered consolation in his first league loss since April 2010, a 3-2 home defeat by Benfica when in charge at Academica in Portugal, but Villas-Boas could take heart from Chelsea's performance.

Chelsea were a bolder beast from the one that surrendered so tamely under Carlo Ancelotti at Old Trafford late last season. They created 21 opportunities, demonstrated a tactical boldness that reflected well on their 33-year-old leader, and left Old Trafford with an increased sense of their own importance in the Premier League title race.

Villas-Boas has a touch of his mentor Jose Mourinho about him in his concrete-clad confidence, if not in his more obvious attacking intent then certainly in his willingness to make a decisive substitution. It came at half-time when a labouring Frank Lampard was removed to allow Chelsea to offer the swifter support Torres requires in the shape of the impressive Juan Mata, Daniel Sturridge and Nicolas Anelka.

Anelka ran left, Sturridge foraged right and Mata - looking quality in everything he did - set the charges in the hole. This may represent Chelsea's way forward with Torres and result in Lampard sitting out more action.

And yet, for all this, United again found the way to win when not at their best. Not only this, but they also strengthened their position as Chelsea were beaten and Manchester City showed a fallibility that coach Roberto Mancini hoped had been forgotten by conceding a two-goal lead at Fulham.

If there was a measure of solace for City, it came in the huge roar that swept around Old Trafford when their result was announced at half-time - a sure sign that United know where their most serious threat is coming from this season.

This was where the comfort ended, though, because for all Ferguson's obvious annoyance at the concession of chances and wasting of possession in crucial areas, United continue to win in a manner that will worry the contenders who will note their best form normally arrives with the turn of the year.

United also demonstrated their great range of attacking threat. Rooney was not quite at his best and Ashley Young subdued - so step forward Nani with a brilliant goal and a performance to terrorise Chelsea's defence.

The movement of Javier Hernandez was also a constant danger until his game was cut short by a shocking late challenge by Ashley Cole that should have brought a red card for the England defender.

United's outstanding player, however, came in defence. Phil Jones may be a rookie at 19, but he looks the complete back four player, marauding forward to play his part in United's third goal while offering a towering, inspirational presence that belies his youth.

Villas-Boas left Old Trafford with a renewed belief Chelsea can be title contenders. Ferguson, for all the scowls, departed with the three points. And this is why even now there is a growing belief that United are already on course to claim a 20th title.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Not a great performance by United...but great result..

  • Comment number 2.

    Phil,

    Any comment on De Gea's performance. Personally I think he has the making of a top class keeper and the media attention he has received has been unwarranted and over the top.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good performance by United I thought,De Gea's distribution is a real strength and he looked impressive. I thought Young played well, I like the way he draws the defence wide the whole game although Bosingwa coped pretty well. Lampard again was poor, I wonder whether he needs a longer rest or he will continually struggle. Mata looked good but Lukaku's brief appearance was disappointing, he certainly has the physique but had no chance yesterday. Jones again excellent and Nani carrying on his form from last year.
    If Chelsea want to improve then I think they will need a new 'keeper, they have stuck with Cech admirably but I think he is not at the level Chelsea need

  • Comment number 4.

    Chelsea should draw a lot of consolation from their performance yesterday. Torres needs more game time, it worked with Rooney last season, Fergie stuck with him while he was rubish because that is the only way for him to improve.
    Anderson was a bit sloppy yesterday, but he is still the best centre mid in United. I believe United is on the way to winning the 20th title, but not with Smalling, Jones and Evans in defence!

  • Comment number 5.

    "21 opportunities" so much for you believing shots off target is a useless stat eh Phil!

    At the end of the day as I said to my chelsea colleague who was emulating Jose at the final whistle and moaning about the Ref, Fergie, the PL, FA etc, you had enough chances, you didn't take them and if you don't take your chances against Utd you will always lose. And they did.

  • Comment number 6.

    So Rooney is the white Pele, is Torres the white Heskey?

  • Comment number 7.

    This was an unreal match.

    Andre Villas-Boas had something like a better Porto side on the pitch, with the vivid half circles of players around the opponent with the ball, while attacking in sixes and sevens, placing the opposition defense under pressure. It was a good Cgelsea performance, with many shots on/off target.

    Manchester United looked more threatening when exposing Chelsea from the wings and throughout the match were giving me the impression they had an extra gear, if it was required.

    Lots has been said about Torres. I will leave the crazy miss aside and I will re-iterate that his speed was there, his instant reactions were there, the speed of his shot was there, being a menace while running on the shoulder of the defender was there. Thankfully for my team he scored only one. I know I'll be left with the belief that Torres, just like Rooney, will always be scrutinised by the media and opposition fans.

    I'm disappointed that Ashley Cole didn't see red, demonstrating alongside Terry that he did nothing wrong. Arshavin two matches ago, Kevin Davis on the previous match, Ashley Cole yesterday. Each Premiership match coming, we see someone taking off a United player. Was it a United player the culprit, I'm sure we'd see the F.A. making headlines, starting their annual bank account on Manchester United related cash from punishment.

    It was a defeat that left the Chelsea and Andre Villas-Boas images unscratched but I'm sure the Chelsea staff and fans are fully aware that they've escaped a hiding. United could always increase the tempo, playing without their main central partnership. It shows the last step, perhaps, of Kenny Dalglish dealings in the transfer market, to ensure that their Spurs embarrassment will be put to bed.

  • Comment number 8.

    Villas-Boas is new to Chelsea alright but to my mind it is an inversion and travesty of circumstance that Chelsea are reduced to seeking consolation in a 3-1 defeat at OT. Its a pointer to not only their aging defenders, an aspect that needed attention some time ago by way of a major signing, but also to the reality that Man U are now the most well-balanced side.

    Ashley Young has proved to be an astute and outstanding signature for them. He has truly enhanced and indeed invigorated the team's ability to maraud oppositions without having to discriminate.

  • Comment number 9.

    It was arguably United's poorest showing of this campaign, and yet they won. Cleverly was missed and Anderson had an awful game. Fletcher and Carrick were their usual selves, little industry going forward and clumsy on the ball. I know Fergie won't do business this January, but midfield remains an issue. Surely De Gea merited a mention in the blog as he had an excellent game (Nani > Jones > De Gea for MOM?).

    I thought Torres played excellent. He looked very dangerous and seemed to give his teammates hope when they had lost it. Yesterday wasn't a typical game for hm (i.e. best days at Liverpool) where he'd receive proper service throughout the 90 minutes. He had to do a lot by himself and did it with class. As a Manchester United supporter I had a feeling he might come to life against us and it sure looks that way now. Chelsea are a factor and only a fool will dismiss them after 5 games.

    I hope Sir Alex is firm in his debriefing after this game. The players involved must realize the final scoreline reflects the whims of Foruna rather than the balance of production on the pitch.

  • Comment number 10.

    It may be entertaining, but once managers stop believing they need to 'have a go' at Utd and start grinding out a draw these high scoring results are going to dry up.

    Over the course of a season I still think City have the greater depth in their squad to end up as Champions - not a fan, just an observation.

  • Comment number 11.

    Great game of football. Had everything. United worthy winners but Chelsea gave us a good run for our money. Torres looked dangerous and I expect him to kick on from here. We have made our greatest start to the season ever and we look like we fear no one. Exciting times for all who love the Champions. Where are all the idiots who claimed number 19 was the end of our cycle and we were finished!? Never never never write off United! Oh and to all of you who predicted Liverpool to make a decent title challenge this season..... When will you ever learn?!

    Bring back 606!

  • Comment number 12.

    Do you seriously expect SAF to be grinning like a Cheshire cat having lost both Smalling and Hernamdez to injury? Hernandez from a very bad challenge?

    United expected to win the game, and would have been expected to by any but the most ardent Chelsea supporters, so where do you see the huge grins originating?

    Probably like your tweet "Chelsea are looking discouraged DESPITE the early goal."

    Yeah right. We won't go into the fact that United should probably have had THREE penalties, and the one that was given Rooney inexplicably decided to emulate a Chelsea player.

    Chelsea would have been the happier, as the Arsenal score could quite conceivably have been repeated, despite a slightly below par performance from United ..... but as "Chief Football Writer" I guess you have to come up with something .... just as you felt the need to post that tweet which makes no sense.

  • Comment number 13.

    no.6 loving is torrres the white heskey. i think he's showing signs of ciming back to his best but that miss with like 10mins left of normal time really was a heskey moment. brilliant comparison

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

    Rooney's missed penalty reminded me of Terry's in Moscow ,- Exact replica ! How cruel of Rooney on !

  • Comment number 16.

    being a utd fan dont' want to be biased but i think it's not about the prem winners, but can we emulate the arsenal invincibles. yes only a fool would write off chelsea, but i think that we'll win all our home games and perhaps at this stage only worried at chelsea and city away. not gettong over confident, before anyone says yes the ine big word to say to me is wolves

  • Comment number 17.

    For those saying United did not play that well I suggest that is because for the first time this season they came up against a team that could cause them problems.

    Chelsea brutally exposed the obvious weakness in this United team, namely its central midfield.

    In every other area on the pitch United are stronger than Chelsea though, and they were deserved winners because of that superiority.

    From my own perspective as a Chelsea fan my expectations this season are not for a title winning season, but to witness clear evidence that AVB can develop Chelsea into a more progressive team. In this regard, so far the signs are good,although AVB may be at present tilting the balance a little too far in favour of attack rather than defence. A slight readjustment the other way and he may be getting close to the team Chelsea need to be.

    I hope next season we will able to challenge for the title with this style of football, but i don´t think we can this season.

  • Comment number 18.

    Chelsea may well have had a few chances but most of these were on the back of sloppy play from united at times gifting possession away in critical areas..Anderson had his first poor game of the season.

    Other than that, I think its somewhat absurd that Chelsea should feel bouyed on a day where they could have ended up losing by 5 or 6.. If United were not 3-0 up by half time, i guarentee they would have scored some goals themselves in the 2nd half and always looked capable of moving up a gear if necessary with united's wingers running rings round the full backs..

    Yes, Chelsea played well to a certain degree going forward...but then AVB picked the most attacking line up possible. An inept decision no??

    If scoring a consolation after going 3 down represents encouragement for Chelsea, then this shows a real lack of ambition or faith in what Chelsea might be able to achieve..United have never been able to cut Chelsea so easily to shreds as they did yesterday..Why is this not mentioned in the match analysis??

    Ashley Cole was booked for a foul which could and maybe should have been a red card inside the box..and NO PENALTY?! Surely the ref is misappropriating the rules by saying the ball was out when he lunged for the foul before Hernandez had struck it..It was a late tackle, not an off the ball incident!

  • Comment number 19.

    Hmmm, so only Man city left to really challenge this Dominant Man utd side. so now the question for fergie is what happens when all his players are fit again. does he drop Young/Nani for Park/Valencia, does the dreadful Carrick return to CM when the Lively Cleverly ressurects, and how about Hernandez, Welbeck and Berbatov who loses out, not to talk of Fabio/Rafael/Smalling/Jones/Evans/Ferdinand and Vidic (only Evra and Rooney seem safe)? Terrible, Terrible days ahead for united fans who have built up favourite players in their minds.

  • Comment number 20.

    Chelsea played a Barcelona style of hounding our United players in midfield - we were over-run. Thank goodness that they did not have a Barcelona style of attack or finishing. United should learn from this and the nightmare of Wembley. The goal is to topple Barcelona as the best club in the World, not just win the Premiership. A long, long way to go but it must be encouraging for every young person in the UK to see..........Jones, Smalling and Young play as if they have been at United for years.

  • Comment number 21.

    The scoreline was very flattering for Utd to be honest.

    Chelsea fashioned more chances over the whole 90 mins and had the lion's share of possession, especially in midfield which Chelsea dominated throughout. Poor finishing cost Chelsea, Torres could have had a hattrick, Ramires should have scored and Utd's fortunes again, especially from some dodgy linesman decisions and a rather fortunate ricochet off Nani to let in Rooney with a simple tap in by his standards summed up Chelsea's poor luck on the day.

    Utd are thr team in the driving seat and again the huge favorites for the title, but Chelsea showed enough creativity and gusto to suggest they are not too far behind Utd and with a little of Utd's luck going their way they can mount a serious challenge!

    My only gripe with AVB is his persistence of playing Ramires. For a Brazilian player he lacks technique and composure, he may have a great engine and runs his socks off, but his final ball and lack of finishing is very much lacking. If that missed chanced fell for either Merielles or Lampard Chelsea would have scored in that first half without a shadow of doubt! Instead of putting his foot through the ball and finishing with real zest Ramires chose to tap the ball home but got his angles completely wrong! He gave De Gea an easy task of smothering the ball when he should have shot towards the far right corner of the net. There are better players ahead of Ramires for midfield, one such player Josh Mceachran who is certainly more technically better than Ramires and Chelsea's future! Chelsea's reluctance of embedding academy youth into the first team is very worrying! Instead of paying silly money for players like Ramires and Zhirkov before him on what I perceive as average players we have a ready made player eagerly waiting to express his abilities in the team that would cost the club NOTHING! Please AVB, why not start playing Mceachran on a more regular basis? For me, Josh should be ahead of Ramires in the pecking order and pushing Lampard now for a more permanent spot. Lamps has been a legend at the club but sadly his legs are failing him now, his spot in the team is now not guaranteed but his experience is still needed, especially in the champions league. AVB needs to build for the future now and get a settled team in place to really challenge for the title. With a little more luck, Chelsea can prove a real threat to the Manchester clubs.

  • Comment number 22.

    Both the offside goal and the ramires miss where key, at both points Chelsea were by far the better team and easily on top but both moments seem to knock the stuffing out of them. Essentially Man U had 3 shots in the first half and scored 3 goals, but lady luck smiled on them as both Smallings header and Nanis wonder strike were offside, and for Rooneys goal enough said. Sadly for me there was a resigned groan from myself and even the commentators when it was apparent the first goal was offside, rather than surprise. A generous decison to United at home,that doesn't happen often does it! Referees and their assistants need to stop getting intimidated by the biug clubs and start making decisions based on the rules rather than 70,000 people shouting at them.

  • Comment number 23.

    On the penalty, we saw for one more time Torres delaying the kick in a United match - this time alongside Terry. Perhaps it is time for referees to show yellow to players attempting to delay the execution of a penalty kick. The reasons are obvious.

    Having said that, if this is a Torres missing confidence, I'm wondering what it will be like when (as I'm expecting) he'll have all that confidence back in the matches coming. To me he was impressive. The same goes for De Gea. I'm pretty sure he starts feeling at home at United. He improves every match coming. It explains the SAF anger on the cheap bait on the Dalglish's daughter question after the Benfica match.

    Lots has been said about not taking the shot from an angle and preferring to give the assist to two unmarked colleagues. Last week, Mata had a simple tap-in, thanks to Torres. This time round, it wasn't Torres's fault that Ramires couldn't score from 6 yards. People forget he's given two great assists in two matches.

    One of the pictures that will stay in my memory will be the Van Persie dissappointment and surprise that Gervinho didn't pass the ball to him, unmarked with acres of space in front of goal, opting to finishing himself, ending up faling miserably. Why so many are starting to ask attackers to not choose the logical option and instead choose the selfish option is beyond me.

  • Comment number 24.

    @ 22.At 08:05 19th Sep 2011, tajjuk,

    "Sadly for me there was a resigned groan from myself and even the commentators when it was apparent the first goal was offside, rather than surprise. A generous decison to United at home,that doesn't happen often does it! "

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

    I think this is rich, coming from a Chelsea fan for a Man Utd v Chelsea match at Old Trafford. Ask Drogba.

  • Comment number 25.

    @ 24 it made me chuckle as well :)

  • Comment number 26.

    It's looking ominous fior any of the chasing pack. United have quality options in every position. Yes people may slag off Carrick and Fletcher but they do a job - Fletcher is Fergie's big game choice, repeatedly.

    I do thinki that longer term United need a big name central midfielder, as I beleive they've never really replaced Keane with an inspirational leader in the middle. Anderson is a mystery, as a neutral I don't rate him.

    The interesting thing with this united side is the options - you could see Phil Jones sitting in front of two from Vidic/Ferdinand/Smalling and suddenly they might be able to cope with Barca....just a thought....

    As for Chelsea, it's looking time to move a few on....Frank is a (large round) shadow of his former self, Terry's knocking on and Anelka and Drogba are both turning into grumpy old men....

  • Comment number 27.

    Surely people must see that even despite this good performance by Chelsea, an underperforming United ran out clear winners, and had things panned out differently, the scoreline could have easily been 6-2, and this is against one of the main challengers for the title. Rather ominous.

    There is something about the way United are attacking that is so exciting - encapsulated by the Phil Jones burst from defence that initiated the third goal - he did the same sort of thing against Bolton too. Yes, it does create opportunities for the opposition but that is all part of the fun.

    Also, this game should be taken in context that we were missing our established centre back pairing too, so an under strength United defeats a full strength Chelsea side with comfort. The performance by Chelsea was a big departure from how they usually perform at OT, and i am still wondering if this was a result of them being 3-0 down at half time or as a starting strategy.

  • Comment number 28.

    I would say United were tested at least as much by West Brom on the opening day as by Chelsea which begs the questions ,why are Chelsea apparently taking so much comfort from this defeat? And why are West Brom struggling so much? However it does not beg the question can Chelsea challange United....er no,United were not at their best and still won easily.

  • Comment number 29.

    @ 26. At 08:21 19th Sep 2011, grimois wrote:

    "It's looking ominous fior any of the chasing pack"

    That's what everyone was saying this time last season about Chelsea. There are 33 games to go and injuries to deal with.

    However, De Gea is looking more assured at every turn (shame no-one asked if he's done enough to keep Lindegaard out of the Leeds match), Jones is a titan at the back and almost irresistible moving forward. Anderson/Cleverley is much more inventive than Anderson/Fletcher. Nani does what Ronald never could; get the better of Ashley Cole. Young has arrived with the maturity and composure needed for United and is a constant threat. Rooney is playing with a smile on his face. It is looking good.

    As for Chelsea, they aren't out of it by any means. Mancini's defensive outlook cost City 2 points at Fulham meaning it may yet prove to be a 3 rather than 2 horse race. As for Torres. the worst miss ever. Worse than Rosenthal. The latter, even allowing for the increased cost of footballers, was never a £50 million striker, was never regarded as the best striker on the planet at any stage, was not a World Cup and European Championship winner, was not bought to turn round an ageing squad. Torres has shown a mental fragility for over 12 months and yesterday will only exacerbate that meltdown. No-one should be fooled. Yes, he seems to be fit and fleet of foot, again, after his injuries. However, he will never be the feared striker he once was.

    Taxi, Fernando?

  • Comment number 30.

    SirMouseburger,

    Jones looks better and better every time I see him. Reminds me of Lucio or Sammer striding forward with those runs! Had things panned out differently though is a silly game as 1 offside goal, 1 Terry mistake and 2 open goals may have meant Chelsea victory!

    It's going to a close run title race this season and a pretty exciting one.

  • Comment number 31.

    Chelsea great performance but not a great result. Manchester United were a bit lucky with the Smalling offside goal & Nani wonder strike early on. Ramires let his team down and so did Torres with such misses

  • Comment number 32.

    @24.

    You conveniently forget Macheda playing basketball in the penalty area in the same game
    Or Jonny Evan's kung Fu kick against drogba at Stamford bridge
    Or the blatant penalty that should have been given for ramieres in the CL last year

  • Comment number 33.

    I thought this match was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests. Two of Man Utd's goals were offside - the free kick and the Nani special, when the ball was played to him he was standing in an offside position, but when it arrived he looked like he was 10 yards onside; great finish mind you!

    For me though Man Utd edged it, they looked far more dangerous going forwards, particularly via Nani & Young out wide. Chelsea are guilty of exactly what Torres was complaining about recently; painfully slow build up. I think he had an excellent game and was looking much more like his old self than the tabloids would have you believe. What he's not getting is decent service, and when Chelsea bring on Mikel towards the end of a game you get the feeling that they weren't really helping their own cause. For me Anelka continues to be inspired and about the only person on the same wavelength as Torres, but with Mata there is a glimmer of hope that service to the front men will improve.

    If I were manager of Chelsea, which I'm sure a lot of Chelsea fans are glad I'm not, I'd dump Lampard & Mikel, play Drogs and Torres up front together with Anelka sitting in the hole behind them. They've got absolute quality in that side, and if they pick up the pace, which I'm sure they will through the season, this Chelsea side is still well in contention for the title; they are capable of destroying sides like Man U & Man C have been lately, but they need to start doing it sooner rather than later. That Torres goal might just be the snowball that starts the avalanche.

    Good season so far, happy to be entertained by the BPL while my team (Hammers) languishes in the Championship for this season; at least its not a 2-horse race like La Liga, SPL, {insert many other foreigns league here}.

  • Comment number 34.

    At the game yesterday, and myself and those sat around me would dispute the Torres analysis.

    TV highlights will no doubt focus on a couple of moments when the ball came his way, but his movement whilst the ball was upfield in Chelsea possesion was virtually nil, he looked short of postional ideas, and many times was dispossesed too easily.

    Probably his best Chelsea performance? Should have scored three (possibly, 2 definately) coughed up possesion, and is miles away from being the nightmare to cover when the midfield is looking to release him. He must have had some absolute Sunday League quality games!

  • Comment number 35.

    yes two goals were offside but you simply can't the way chelsea did for the smalling goal and nani got a wonder goal and he wasn't even half and inch offside so very difficult for the linesman. however bad defending from chelsea again. it looks like we are finally getting some luck with the officials, god knows how many games we lost on the bounce due to fortunate refeering for chelsea. dont 4get we missed a pen and definately should've got at least anothe pen if not 2. good on avb trying to win the game but realistically they were never going 2 win so should've set-up defensively. not to mention the horrendous torres miss. so all in all chelsea got exactly what they deserved from the game nothing

  • Comment number 36.

    wow manu are going to coast to the title,with players like young(couldnt make it at villa),evans,nani(ronaldos plaything),fletcher,giggs(old one).granted jones is a good young solid defender.but it possibly the worst man u team ever,rooney the "white pele",yeah right he isnt even in the top 10 players in the world right now(i litteraly dont have to name them you can think of them of the top of your head ),never mind of all time(ronaldo when at man u was 5 times the player rooney was and he still is.) .the quality of the premier league is in a terminal decline

  • Comment number 37.

    @ 32.At 08:52 19th Sep 2011, Esteelo,

    let me entertain your response.

    You're talking about a Macheda handball, reducing the score to 2-1, in the dying minutes, while forgetting that Drogba was half the pitch offside and scoring, ensuring the outcome of the match.

    It takes some cheeky courage for Chelsea fans to talk about being unfortunate against United.

    Should I remind of last season's not sending off of you know who in Stamford Bridge, allowing to score afterwards too?

    Should I remind you of an 80th minute winner Chelsea had in Stamford Bridge from a foul execution of a non foul?

    You're talking about an offside decision against Smalling, determined by single digit inches, perhaps, maybe, whatever. What you should worry about is that the Chelsea defense were too high and instead of holding a defensive line, they were holding a curved, diagonal line which, if they apply in the future, they'll look in very vulnerable from dead ball situations.

    What should Cole have done in order to receive a red?
    Do you remember incidents based on selective memory?
    Are you kidding me?

  • Comment number 38.

    It was one of the strangest matches between united and chelski i've seen recently, not only because it was so open but they were both missing chances for fun (especially chelski).
    On another day it could have easily been a high scoring draw result.

    The worry for United and Ferguson made clear with his botched play through the middle, is central midfield. With Cleverley out of action, United are not as good in the middle of the park, Fletcher is not a playmaker, his passing was woeful at times. And Carrick just has so little confidence, the pass out from Evans and Carrick decided to pass it straight back to De Gea when no one was near him and getting an earful from Evans just sums him right up.
    Anderson also didnt have a good game.

  • Comment number 39.

    Outstanding though those young defenders are, Evans Jones and Smalling, you can see how tactically naive they are sometimes. It's the naivety of youth and should improve as they get more experience but it's worrying to watch their positional play get exposed so often.

    Our best defensive performance this season was when Rio was restored to centre back at Bolton. People may be clamouring for the young players to oust their senior counterparts, but personally I think we desperately need to get Rio and Vidic back at the heart of central defence. It may not be a problem now, but when the goals dry up a bit at the other end it could be vital.

  • Comment number 40.

    Almost all Man United goals originate from attacks from the wings and I had joked to Man United fans watching that even when they are awarded a penalty they have to take it to the wings first. That was before Roo's miss. And what does he do when they are awarded a penalty? takes it to the wings!!

  • Comment number 41.

    The only reason Torres played well was because our defence was too inexperience.

  • Comment number 42.

    Da Gea was immense. Nani's goal was an astonishing. Torres' miss wonderful. Rooney's penalty was the replica of the Terry's one. Good game.
    Everytime Manchester United goes forward with Young, Rooney, Nani and Chicharito there's a real danger, and 75% of them would finish by finding a net.
    Liverpool fans, 20 is coming.
    I want to know how does it feel, when your team is not playing in a Champions League actions week in week out?
    I hope Clevz and Welbz are going to play as soon as they are fit.
    Keep the Red flags HIGH! Glorious Manchester United!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    I thought the Ashley Cole tackle was terrible myself - Red card or not ? Well as usual there is no consistency in officials decision making so one referee will see it (if they saw it !!) one way and another will judge it differently. The referee did not even give the foul - which is amazing.
    But as usual there was no doubt about the offending players reaction "I'm innocent Ref, never touched him". What level of integrity, respect and honesty does it demonstrate when a supposed leading professional,Cole and, the captain,Terry (and of course 100s of others around the Leagues) claim innocence when we can all clearly see that it was a BAD tackle.

  • Comment number 44.

    @ 39.At 09:13 19th Sep 2011, Stuz359,

    I think when Ferdinand and Vidic are back, if Jones moves in the defensive midfielder position, United would look more solid than every at the back.

    Still, we shouldn't forget that Smalling and Evans are still youngsters put to fill an injured experienced midfielder's place. They shouldn't get stick for that. Central midfielders need experience and Smalling, Evans, Jones are only youngsters.

    The fact is that the United back line consists of Ferdinand, Vidic, Smalling, Evans, Jones, Rafael, Evra, Fabio. Did I miss anyone? I am sure that every club would love to have such defensive selections. Don't forget that similar opinions used to be said about Brown and O'Shea and now Sunderland are more than pleased to have them.

  • Comment number 45.

    # 41. Lynda!
    Absolutely agree with you. Our midfield players were outclassed with Chelsea midfield players too, despite the scorline.

  • Comment number 46.

    Only saw the highlights on MOTD but from what I have seen, the UTD newcomers are due at least 1 hammering this season. So far everything seems to have gone their way. On another day Chelsea could have scored a hatful then it would have been interesting to see how they will react. Another game against Barcelona or the like will expose there true weakness.

  • Comment number 47.

    Morning everyone.

    Been asked a couple of questions about David de Gea. Thought he did really well yesterday, distributing well and making key saves from Ramires and Torres. Will have done his confidence good.

    What about the match itself? Where do we start?

    Manchester United rumble on. Nani was superb but how good was Phil Jones? A United and England captain in the making - I am convinced.

    United fans, does this win fuel your conviction that title number 20 is on the way to Old Trafford - and who do you see as your main rivals, Manchester City or Chelsea?

    Chelsea fans. I believe you have reason to be upbeat after yesterday. The team played in a very positive way and Villas-Boas has signed a class act in Juan Mata.

    And then there is Fernando Torres. As I said in the blog, terrible miss apart, I thought this was his finest performance since joining Chelsea. Do you agree? Is the team now set up in a way that will bring the best out of him?

    Let me know your thoughts on all of these issue and anything else on your mind.

  • Comment number 48.

    Rumours are spreading they are making a new Mr Men book for Chelsea's Fernando Torres.

    Its called Mr. Sitter

  • Comment number 49.

    17.

    If this strongest chelsea team cannot beat this man u team what chance do chelsea have when the man u team gets better through experience.

    Stop deluding yourself.

    AVB will find it hard to find players to replace lampard, terry, cole once they are finished.

    AVB will be gone come end of the season

  • Comment number 50.

    The game deserved to have ended in a draw, but i will not take anything away from ManU win. The one criticism i have is that is about time AVB sees Lampard as just a squad player which the club should try and sell and get some cash flow in. Lampard can no longer compete in high tempo games, his totally off the pace. i do like him as a professional, but its time he knows there are better younger players. This will cost him his England place and rightfully so. I think Cappello as well is beginning to see this. Torres was rigt in his recent criticism of his team mates nd surely we can all see that is was directed at Lampard. Ye Torres missed a sitter, but the lad put in good shift. Its sad Anelka wants to leave, but tbh, Chelsea will be much more purposeful in attack with Anelka & Torres than Drogba & Lampard.
    How quickly will AVB realise this will determine how strongly Chelsea will finish this season. Chelsea needs a defensive minded midfielder in January to cover/replace the injury plagued Essien. Essien in the team would have given Nani & Jones a serious check in the game compared to Obi & Mirieles

  • Comment number 51.

    Phil,

    What imperssed me most about De Gea, he showed that he's maturing each game and he belongs to Manchester United for future. And whenever the defence let Chelsea players to shoot he was shouting at defence after some mistake. It was a FINE sign that. Overall Manchester United looked so danger. It would be really tough to opponenet teams to come to Old Trafford and take a point.
    Although it is early to say who's main rival for the Champions, but i still think Manchester City are far better side than Chelsea is.

  • Comment number 52.

    @46 At 09:23 19th Sep 2011, zorbathespur wrote:

    "Another game against Barcelona or the like will expose there true weakness."

    Yeah agreed that united backline are not as good as they were earlier (when vidic and rio are there).

    But the wey united are performing, only a team of Barca's caliber can do damage to united

  • Comment number 53.

    While Smalling was undoubtedly offside for the opener, it has to be said that his 'offsideness' was not the reason he scored. He took advantage of woeful Chelsea defending ... they were so unaware of where he was that not a single player even knew he was offside and nobody appealed.

    Hardly represents as a breach of justice.

  • Comment number 54.

    43.
    At 09:22 19th Sep 2011, DB2002 wrote:

    I thought the Ashley Cole tackle was terrible myself - Red card or not ? Well as usual there is no consistency in officials decision making so one referee will see it (if they saw it !!) one way and another will judge it differently. The referee did not even give the foul - which is amazing.
    ----------------------------------

    Its a shocking tackle and no foul was given because they very rarely are. I dont know what goes through the ref's minds at moment like that as in almost every game a player who takes a shot then gets clattered long afterwards. If he still had the ball it would be a foul and a penalty. Like it would be a foul anywhere else on the pitch if a player was making a pass and got caught late.

    I can only conclude that the ref's think its an advantage to get the shot away regardless of whether the player scores or not.

  • Comment number 55.

    Everyone is raving about the new crop of UTD youngsters. Let me ask this to UTD fans. If Fergie was to manage another prem could he still win the prem. Could he win the title with the Spurs squad for example?

  • Comment number 56.

    Can Ashley Cole get a 3 match suspension for that kind of tackle? People please tell is it possible? Because I want him to get banned for at least 2 games.

  • Comment number 57.

    Chelsea dominated for a huge portion of the match. I think they were unlucky not to take points. People keep saying to me man u could have won by 6 or 7, completely ignoring the fact that chelsea could have and should have had more than that. Its all should have, would have could have, but both teams didnt. Poor finishing and some great keeping from De Gea cost us the game. Not an offside goal (even if it was only an inch offside, its still offside.), or anything else. Man U didnt deserve to be 3 up at half time, but by the end of the match i cant complain with the result. I think Man U did edge the moral win as well as the actual win, but honestly, Chelsea can take heart from the way we built our attacks. Nani was fantastic, won a fair penalty and scored a cracker. Phil Jones? dont like him. Good player, but a little too arrogant for my liking. He is going to get caught out if he keeps pushing too far forward that much as well.

  • Comment number 58.

    Rooney penalty miss happened directly in front of me in the East Stand, the fault is an over-watered pitch. The groundstaff saturate the pitch before KO and again at half time every game to try and make the ball move quicker. It was like a paddy field yesterday with spray coming off the ball constantly . SAF needs to instruct them to tone it down for futue games. That was why Rooney missed his footing...

  • Comment number 59.

    @Alinem

    Nope. He was booked, which means 'action was taken', which means no further action can be taken.

  • Comment number 60.

    Laws of the Game
    Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct
    "A penalty kick is awarded if any of the above ten offences is committed by a player inside his own penalty area , irrespective of the position of the ball, provided it is in play."
    By the letter of the law , no penalty , but it should have surely been red . Late high and studs , definitly a dangerous tackle . As for the offsides ,I have always maintained its hard for assistant referees to get the closer calls right MOST of the time so its harsh to be critical of them .
    Highlight of the day - Torres miss :D

  • Comment number 61.

    @ 47.At 09:25 19th Sep 2011, philmcnultybbcsport,

    How can we talk about title destination after only 5 matches?
    It was only last season when Chelsea had started like a train. The strange thing is that Manchester United started the season so strongly when, traditionally, they always have a slow start and improve gradually. Personally, I'm curious how they'll carry on. Given the strength of City this season, starting the season so well has done a wonder of goodness to the United cause. Perhaps, Mancini and City fans are wondering what they need to do in order to see their team in no1 position on the table.

    It's only 5 games played.
    Man City and Chelsea will still be strong contenders alongside United for the title on the latter stages of the season. City have glowing quality in numbers while Chelsea have quality plus experience.

    To me, what is disappointing is Arsenal and their board's view that they shouldn't invest, besides their blatant witnesses. Selling two players should never make such a difference to a top club. Arsenal always had weaknesses but the Fabregas, Nasri quality in midfield was providing a cover up. It ain't a cover up more and Arsenal fans deserve more from their team.

    I believe the fourt Champions League position will be there for the taking for any of Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal. Top three positions, if they are different than shared by United, City and Chelsea would be a major surprise to me at least.

  • Comment number 62.

    Phil Jones? dont like him. Good player, but a little too arrogant for my liking. He is going to get caught out if he keeps pushing too far forward that much as well.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You mean like the whole Chelsea defence who played a far too high a line the whole game - most blatantly embarrassed when Rooney and Berbatov went through and Berba missed the sitter. Phil Jones is one of the best, most composed and competent centre backs this country has produced in years and, as usual, someone showing good touch and technique rather than humping the ball in to the stands is derided. Sorry pal but anyone with half a brain can see he is on the way to being a world class player.

  • Comment number 63.

    I do enjoy the United arrogance after franly a lucky win. Torres went round the keeper, should have scored, Ramires should have scored once and could have scored withing the first minute, Torres volleyed over the bar when he should probably have scored, Sturridge had a few opportunites. Chelsea cut through the United defence so many times it was unbelievable, we could have won comfortably by 2 or 3 goals when you consider that both of Uniteds first 2 goals were offside. But anyway, united's finishing was more clinical and the team that scores the most goals wins. But for United fans to be getting this carried away on such a lucky performance is frankly ridiculous

  • Comment number 64.

    Bizarre. Chelsea lost by a couple of goals to a title rival and I've come away from it relatively happy!

    p.s. why do people keep mentioning Ronnie Rosenthal? Why not Giggs as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSfwcI8wsMY

  • Comment number 65.

    @ 61

    "To me, what is disappointing is Arsenal and their board's view that they shouldn't invest, besides their blatant witnesses."

    It was meant 'weaknesses' of course. :)
    We're all witnesses of these weaknessed in the Arsenal defense that their board prefers to turn their attention to the bank account details and the balance sheet when people mention them.

  • Comment number 66.

    Phil I think Chelsea will finish second or even win title. 3 rd place will be man Utd or city.
    Why I say this is Chelsea were awesome and were only a minor percentage short of united in class.

    Apart from that Chelsea look awesome . Mata is great and I think he has relegated lampard to bench. This is the beginning of something great for Chelsea. Lukaku, mata, Torres , sturridge looks a class apart.

    I pray to god Man Utd must maintain this form. I think cleverley is most needed because his one touch passing and partnership with Anderson looks like seeing barca.

    Jones and vidic is the partnership to be in future. It's end of Ferdinand. Jones looks like Terry . Leader. No nonsense style . Maturity that is out of this world for 19 yr old.

    Degea looked awesome. Few more matches and you have a world best keeper in making . His distribution looks better than van der sar or anyone in this planet. If he builds his physique up. He will be the best.

    Smalling great. Wellbeck and cleverly needed very badly soon .

    Ashley cole must be banned for life for tackle on hernandez.

    I pray man Utd maintain this form and win the pl. But I think man city will take it and man u will slump in mid season.

    Man city is very strong.......Chelsea too by looks of yesterday . I am a man Utd fan but if anyone rules out Chelsea or man city out of the race now. I will tell they do not know football

  • Comment number 67.

    22. tajjuk wrote:

    Both the offside goal and the ramires miss........whinging snipped.....
    --------
    Bit of a cheek complaining about offside when in the last few years the offside decisions have favoured Chelsea, in fact you gained your last championship with an offside goal at Old Trafford.

    You're right about referee's though, Chelsea were very lucky to have eleven players on the pitch at the end of the game, and Rooney should have had the opportunity to put right his penalty miss. A generous decison to Chelsea,that doesn't happen often does it!

    I'll gloss over the crossbar and post shots and simply say it was a good open match, and the best side won.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    Bizarrely, this is the post (which had a link to the Giggs miss some years ago) that the moderators have removed from #64.

    'Bizarre. Chelsea lost by a couple of goals to a title rival and I've come away from it relatively happy!

    p.s. why do people keep mentioning Ronnie Rosenthal? Why not Giggs as well'

    Do you think the moderators might explain why it has been removed or do they just apply carte blanch to censorship?

  • Comment number 70.

    A great display by Chelsea, dominated the center of the field,created the better and the more scoring opportunities than united, however, poor defending and not taking their chances cost them to lose the game. In regards to their performances of both teams i would say draw was a fair result.

  • Comment number 71.

    great game - draw would have been a fair result v.pleased with the win

  • Comment number 72.

    Having listened to the game on 5 live and then watching the highlights on MOTD. Their was no luck for either side Chelsea lost and should take consolation that it was not by more.

    As United fan we were ripped apart in central Midfield...no matter what anyone says Carrick is awful has been and always will be I am still trying to work out why he is a United/England player. He should be sold in January without a doubt.

    What can you say about Fletcher? The virus that struck him last year has knocked his confidence as he is a hard working player...Although maybe we should have paired him with Park from the start instead of Anderson who played badly for the first time this season I might add.

    Playing Chelsea everyone said was a big deal but I don't think it is anymore. They have lost their sparkle and bite. Torres is £50m statue, by any stretch of the imagination he is still a poor player you could see it at Liverpool just before he was sold and now at Chelsea. I would have been more worried if AVB had played Drogba.

    In short United lacked a midfield edge but Chelsea are not the challenging team that they once were. In january I can see AVB spending money and United to buy a decent centre mid and sell carrick to birmingham as that is where a square ball merchant such as him belongs.

  • Comment number 73.

    #70 Au_LFC_Fan

    Strangely, I thought that the centre of the pitch was usually dominated by the team that had the ball. Each time, say, Chelsea had the ball in the middle, Man U were no where to be seen and likewise when Man U had the ball. It was this that created the open game because either midfielders were still in attacking positions or were playing deep.

    Just a note on Chelsea's midfield, it was interesting that Lampard was taken off and I don't dispute that. However, I think although Meireless was purposely played where he was, I don't think he did that well.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ kanchelskis_legend

    Thank you, mate, for your quick and logic response. Have a nice day :)

  • Comment number 75.

    Rooney's matured beyond the 50 years his new hairstlye makes him look.

  • Comment number 76.

    Great game from start to finish.

    Anderson (who has been brilliant this season) and Fletcher didn't look like they ever had control of the game, good job our defenders don't mind stepping up further upfield, Jones created another goal, how many CB's do that!?

    Big tick in AVB's box.. how many managers would have hauled off Lampard at halftime, not many i bet, and Anelka was probably Chelsea's best player in the 2nd half.

  • Comment number 77.

    #72 Gothic Lamas

    Playing Chelsea everyone said was a big deal but I don't think it is anymore. They have lost their sparkle and bite. Torres is £50m statue, by any stretch of the imagination he is still a poor player you could see it at Liverpool just before he was sold and now at Chelsea. I would have been more worried if AVB had played Drogba.

    In short United lacked a midfield edge but Chelsea are not the challenging team that they once were.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think you're analysis really does highlight the difference between following on the radio and watching a highlights package, as opposed to watching the game yourself.

    Chelsea, with a new manager and still new personnel, created 20 chances, missed a couple of sitters, had ten corners and 50% of the ball, and you say they have lost sparkle and bite?

  • Comment number 78.

    I believe the fourt Champions League position will be there for the taking for any of Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal. Top three positions, if they are different than shared by United, City and Chelsea would be a major surprise to me at least.

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

    I think fourth i sup for grabs by Stoke, Newcastle, Everton and Spurs at the moment. The way Arsenal are going they will be lucky to not be in the bottom 3 next weekend

  • Comment number 79.

    Whats all this from chelsea fans we were unlucky/offside and so on.

    Goals win games. Man U scored 3 and you 1.

    Get over it.

    Stop crying. Stop making excuses. You did not deserve to win.

    You could and should have beaten Man U but did not.

    3-1 the final score. Weep Weep

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    I'm surprised no one mentioned yet how much Modric would have improve the Chelsea midfield. Having been brilliant yesterday in the Liverpool match for Spurs and with Mata looking so good for Chelsea already, if he was bought, he'd do wonders for the Chelsea cause and for the Torres cause in particular.

    I think both United and Chelsea would be better teams had they acquired Sneijder and Modric each of them. Manchester City's midfield has improved vividly after the arrival of Nasri and linking with David Silva, providing the ammunition to the City attack.

    The positive thing, in my opinion, is that both United and Chelsea are one player away from being "should I say" complete?

  • Comment number 82.

    #79 bobsy123

    Don't be ridiculous. Some Man U fans still bleat about the Drogba offside goal in April 2010 even though it was not decisive when weighed against the Macheda handball!

    Yesterday, by the minutest of margins, they were offside. On a technicality, it is true. However, I for one will not go on about them because it's not like the margin of offside made that much difference to the goals in each case.

  • Comment number 83.

    60.At 09:46 19th Sep 2011, murry1975 wrote:
    Laws of the Game
    Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct
    "A penalty kick is awarded if any of the above ten offences is committed by a player inside his own penalty area , irrespective of the position of the ball, provided it is in play."
    By the letter of the law , no penalty
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Murry - I guess strictly speaking the ball is not in play when contact is made - but it is certainly in play when he jumps into the tackle.
    Anyway my point was more about the Cole and Terry pathetic reaction.

  • Comment number 84.

    #81. The positive thing, in my opinion, is that both United and Chelsea are one player away from being "should I say" complete?


    Please. Stop. Chelsea are many players short of being complete. They need a new right back, central defender, need 2 creative midfielders and another goalkeeper.

  • Comment number 85.

    Some crazy Man U comments here... I haven't seen the highlights and only found out this morning the first goal was off-side but the reaction at OT yesterday was nobody could believe the half time scoreline. That in it self dictated Chelsea pushing on in the second and Utd creating a lot of chances on the break. The 'real' game happened before the second (admittedly brilliant) goal when Chelsea were dominating - if that were what we measured performances against then Chelsea are more than a match for United. After the wonder goal it all went mad, really.
    One United fan already told me he's never been so worried at 3-1 up... OK not the whole picture but don't try to tell me that was deserved - arf!

  • Comment number 86.

    This was a crazy game to say the least. But one thing was very clear even before the start - United were going attack the flanks to press Chelsea's full backs, who have been the main source of their attack, into submission. So Chelsea moved the ball through the centre - it was a very interesting and subtle change in tactic. If ramires had scored, who knows how the game might have ended?

    http://442footballfever.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/tactically-speaking-united-vs-chelsea-a-match-of-misses/

  • Comment number 87.

    Am I right in thinking that, as he was yellow-carded, no further action can be taken against Ashley Cole for his potential shin-buster on Hernandez ?

  • Comment number 88.

    united tottally deserved the win, rooneys miss, berbas miss, the peno missed, not to mention boswinga should of gone for denying a goal scoring oppurtunity and cole should of got red too (another peno given too).

    Dont see how uniteds midfield were 'dominated', especially seeing as we had more possession whilst playing half the game playing against 3 centre mids.

    And why people are bringing up the fact chelsea has 20 shots is bewildering, having most of the shots from distance doesnt mean they were decent chances.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 84.At 10:18 19th Sep 2011, bobsy123,

    I support United too but you're not fair.

    Chelsea have just bought Mata. You forget a certain Mr Essien. They also have at least one good youngster who hasn't been used. Modric would give a different dimension to their midfield.

    In defense, they have Terry, Alex, Ivanovic, Bosingua, Luiz, Cole and others who can cover if needed. Ivanovic and Luiz can play in more than one positions. I think they have the second more complete defense line in the Premiership after United.

  • Comment number 90.

    Many are saying Torres's miss was as bad, if not worse, as the infamous Ronnie Rosenthal's blooper. I disagree. Torres was slightly off balance, leaning to his left after rounding De gea, he was to the side of the goal and the ball was struck with his weaker (left) foot. I think he had time to take another touch to steady himself and to get the ball on to his right foot, but he was probably wary of De Gea behind him chasing after him and coupled with his lack of confidence meant he snatched at the ball. It was a poor miss for a top class player but arguably Berbatov's near the end was almost as bad.

  • Comment number 91.

    #88 someoneshouldgetdownthereandexplaintheoffsiderule

    Dont see how uniteds midfield were 'dominated', especially seeing as we had more possession whilst playing half the game playing against 3 centre mids.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So, are you saying that when Chelsea had LESS midfielders in the second half, and you had LESS of the ball in midfield, you were 'dominated' by LESS midfielders????

  • Comment number 92.

    I was at the game, I didn't think there was much between the two teams over the 90 minutes other than United took more of their chances than Chelsea did. Torres looked sharp off the ball but his finishing (apart from the goal which was the Torres of old) was woeful, he could and should have had at least 4. Lampard and Terry are starting to show their age for me now, especially Lampard.

    For United Phil Jones was immense, you wouldn't believe this was his second season of top flight football. A captain of club and country in the making for sure. Jonny Evans has looked solid this season as well (didn't think i'd be saying that!) and Nani was brilliant. De Gea is getting better and better as well. Obviously Ashley Cole should have been sent off for the hack on Hernandez and Terry was lucky not to talk his way off the way he kept on at the ref after every decision but overall I thought the ref did okay.

    Good game, United just about deserved to win and Torres hilarious miss was the cherry on the cake!

  • Comment number 93.

    So the weekly BBC United "love in" .

    We love Utd ra ra ra.

  • Comment number 94.

    It was a poor miss for a top class player but arguably Berbatov's near the end was almost as bad.

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

    No it wasn't, not even close.

  • Comment number 95.

    Good match yesterday & i have the following points to make:
    1. United played with 19, 21, 23yrs old defenders & a 20yrs old g.keeper, guess that explains chelsea getting 21 chances albeit mostly off targets at old trafford.
    2. When a team is 3goals up at half time, you do yourself a lot of good sitting back and counter esp when you have such ruthless attackers like the ones in Utd's possesion. We don't need to b deceived, utd could have scored 7 yesterday, says much abt a mature Chelsea defence.

    3. My pick of the bunch yesterday: Peter Schmeichel in the stands applauding one of David de Gea's lovely saves.
    4. Good to finally see Chelsea play some football anyway, & i think Ashley Cole should be in New Zealand to join England's rugby team.

  • Comment number 96.

    @62 - Didnt say he wasnt good, didnt bash him at all. I just think if he keeps pushing forward so far he will get caught out on a counter attack. He responded well to torres scoring by getting a lot tighter and closer. Sorry if i upset you, just giving my opinion, ill not do that next time.

  • Comment number 97.

    In fairness to Cole, he did go for the ball, no card needed but yellow a bit harsh.

  • Comment number 98.

    #79 Bobsy

    I disagree. They should not have beaten United - there was only ever one winner, no matter what Chelsea fans think.

    I like the way Chelsea are clinging to the offside goals as evidence they should not have lost. In real time, i bet noone could even tell if these goals were offside or not, only through the benefit of Sky super-slow motion replays did they even realise this. Also, Nani's goal meant he had to run through the Chelsea defence to score it anyway, making the whole offside argument for that redundant anyway.

    Then there are all those chances Chelsea had. Well the real chances they had were the Ramires one and the Torres sitter - both not taken. United in contrast had the Berbatov sitter, the missed penalty, should have had another penalty and Cole sent off, Rooney hit the post, Nani hit the bar. I am not counting anything fired by Daniel Sturridge from outside the box as a chance, which halves the number of attempts Chelsea had.

    In terms of possession, the stats showed it was 56-44 in favour of United, and most of the action was in the Chelsea half too, so i dont know where the Blues are getting their numbers from.

    No serious person would argue the best team won. What is worrying for the others is that they did not even have to be at their best to beat one of the main challengers for the title.

  • Comment number 99.

    Even though Chelsea lost i think AVB would be satisfied with the performance. Had Torres buried the second chance who knows what the end result might be but he had a very good game as well. Sturridge was poor by his standards and is not yet ready for the big stage. Anelka made a big difference when he came on. Ramires, who slipped through Torres for that miss had a good game as well but we saw two sides of his game. He has a fantastic engine with explosive pace, can tackle as well but just lacks that Brazilian flair. Maybe people can see now why he was a DM for Brazil, he lacks that flair to be an attacking player for a team like Brazil. I thought Mata was the best Chelsea player especially in the first half, was involved in most of the chances created, his corners were very good as well. Cracking little player. Lampard was anonymous..

    For United Phil Jones i thought was excellent. Reads the game well and did well whenever he was up against Torres. Smalling is going to be a beast, his future is as a CB and ill say he'll be better than Ferdinand one day. Rooney i thought did OK, good game but i wouldn't say "showed a finesse beyond mere mortals" lol. Nani was unreal and i was surprised how strong he was against challenges. When he's on form he looks unstoppable. Anderson made a couple of surreal crossfield balls but this wasn't one of his better performances this season. De Dea was very good. For a 20 year old he seems so calm. Good saves from Ramires and Torres. Prefers to catch the ball as well which shows the last thing he's lacking is confidence. Bright future ahead. I think the future of United will be Phil Jones and Smalling in the centre of defense, not Evans. Evans is a decent player but just lacks that "X-factor" as Simon would say. He'll be a good back up.

  • Comment number 100.

    Just a pity WeaveHeads slip wasnt costly.

 

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