Premier League
Chelsea3Man Utd1

Chelsea 3-1 Manchester United

A hat-trick by Samuel Eto'o ensured Chelsea maintained the pressure on the Premier League pacesetters and surely ended Manchester United's chances of retaining their title.

The veteran striker scored twice in the first half and completed his treble just after the interval to leave Chelsea only two points behind leaders Arsenal and one adrift of Manchester City.

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Chelsea deserved Man Utd win - Mourinho

United manager David Moyes cut a dejected figure at the final whistle as he surveyed a 14-point gap to Arsenal at the top of the table - with matters made worse by the late red card for Nemanja Vidic following his needless lunge at Eden Hazard.

Javier Hernandez's goal hardly qualified as consolation and United must now try to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Old Trafford on Wednesday without their suspended captain, who starts a three-match ban.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has played down his side's title credentials but there is a real sense of momentum building around Stamford Bridge that will have only increased with this victory, the Portuguese's 100th in the Premier League. His first also came against United, back in 2004.

In Moyes's defence, he was without his injured world-class strike pair of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie - but even those mitigating circumstances cannot disguise the brutal truth that United's current squad is simply not in shape to mount a title challenge and is inferior to that at Arsenal, let alone Chelsea and Manchester City.

The visitors were bound to lack a cutting edge with Rooney and Van Persie out, whereas Mourinho felt confident enough to leave out Fernando Torres, despite his goal in the win at Hull City, and restore Eto'o.

And how Mourinho was rewarded by Eto'o as the Cameroonian provided the finishing touches that Moyes's men were unable to apply to some good work of their own, particularly early on.

United's brisk start pinned the hosts back and Petr Cech had to plunge down sharply to save from Ashley Young in the opening moments, while Adnan Januzaj did much to confirm his rich promise.

But for all the visitors' early impetus, it was Chelsea who took the lead after 18 minutes when a left-foot shot from Eto'o took a vital touch off Michael Carrick's outstretched leg and looped over United keeper David de Gea.

The champions were still showing some ambition and almost equalised when Januzaj's cross evaded the Blues' defence and landed at the feet of Welbeck. He could only shoot straight at Cech, however, appealing in vain for a penalty as Cesar Azpilicueta appeared to catch his leg just as he shot.

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Man Utd must improve - Moyes

It was to prove a decisive moment as Eto'o doubled Chelsea's lead seconds before half-time, Cahill squaring for the striker to sweep home a finish that De Gea touched but could not keep out.

United's hopes of getting something from the game took a final blow four minutes after the break when they were let down by dreadful marking at a corner. De Gea scrambled out Gary Cahill's header but the poacher supreme Eto'o pounced to turn home the loose ball.

All the optimism created by a promising opening had long since disappeared and it was simply a question of damage control.

Hernandez put something of a gloss on the scoreline when he turned in from almost on the line after Phil Jones fired a scuffed shot across the face of goal with 14 minutes left.

The visitors applied some belated pressure but Mourinho was able to shore Chelsea up with the introduction of John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic, the £21m signing from Benfica who has returned for a second spell at Stamford Bridge.

And just as United hoped to escape from west London without any further damage, Vidic lunged in on Hazard when there was no danger and received a red card.

United's frustration was now in danger of boiling over and Rafael was fortunate to receive only a yellow card for a flying two-footed challenge on Cahill.

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Line-ups

Chelsea

  • 1Cech
  • 2Ivanovic
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 4David LuizBooked at 19mins
  • 24Cahill
  • 26Terry
  • 22WillianSubstituted forMaticat 86'minutes
  • 7Ramires
  • 29Eto'oSubstituted forTorresat 79'minutes
  • 11OscarSubstituted forMikelat 68'minutes
  • 17Hazard

Substitutes

  • 3Cole
  • 8Lampard
  • 9Torres
  • 10Mata
  • 12Mikel
  • 21Matic
  • 23Schwarzer

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 2RafaelBooked at 90mins
  • 3EvraSubstituted forSmallingat 51'minutes
  • 16Carrick
  • 15VidicBooked at 90mins
  • 6Evans
  • 25A ValenciaBooked at 55mins
  • 4Jones
  • 19Welbeck
  • 44Januzaj
  • 18YoungBooked at 35minsSubstituted forHernándezat 56'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Giggs
  • 12Smalling
  • 13Lindegaard
  • 14Hernández
  • 23Cleverley
  • 24Fletcher
  • 26Kagawa
Referee:
Phil Dowd
Attendance:
41,615

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home13
Away10
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home15
Away21

Live Text

Match ends, Chelsea 3, Manchester United 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Chelsea 3, Manchester United 1.

Booking

Rafael (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Rafael (Manchester United).
Gary Cahill (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rafael (Manchester United).
Ramires (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Dismissal

Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United) is shown the red card.
Foul by Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United).
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Javier Hernández (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Chris Smalling with a headed pass.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Fernando Torres (Chelsea) because of an injury.
Rafael (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by John Obi Mikel (Chelsea).

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Nemanja Matic replaces Willian.
Foul by Luis Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Phil Jones (Manchester United).
David Luiz (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United).
Ramires (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Michael Carrick (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Willian (Chelsea).
Foul by Luis Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).
César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Chelsea. John Terry tries a through ball, but Fernando Torres is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Fernando Torres replaces Samuel Eto'o.

Goal!

Goal! Chelsea 3, Manchester United 1. Javier Hernández (Manchester United) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Phil Jones.
Attempt missed. Phil Jones (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Danny Welbeck.
Foul by Javier Hernández (Manchester United).
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Phil Jones (Manchester United).
John Obi Mikel (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rafael (Manchester United).
Ramires (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) header from very close range misses to the right. Assisted by Adnan Januzaj with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Petr Cech.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. John Obi Mikel replaces Oscar.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Michael Carrick.
goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Arsenal2216332451
2Man City2216243850
3Chelsea2215432349
4Liverpool2213452543
5Tottenham221345343
6Everton2111821541
7Man Utd221147937
8Newcastle221138436
9Southampton22877431
10Aston Villa226610-724
11Hull226511-623
12Norwich226511-1723
13Stoke225710-1422
14West Brom21498-521
15Swansea225611-621
16Crystal Palace226214-1720
17Fulham226115-2619
18West Ham224612-1118
19Sunderland224612-1518
20Cardiff224612-2118
View full Premier League table

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