Match ends, Manchester United 1, Chelsea 1.
- Drogba scores first league goal since March 2012
- It is his first league start in two and a half years
- Chelsea have won seven of nine league games
- Man Utd four unbeaten at Old Trafford
Robin van Persie's equaliser deep into injury time gave Manchester United a point and kept Chelsea within range of their Premier League title rivals after a dramatic Old Trafford finale.
Didier Drogba's header, glanced in off Van Persie early in the second half, looked to have extended Chelsea's lead at the top of the table to six points until a thunderous conclusion in front of the Stretford End.
In scenes reminiscent of days gone by at the Theatre of Dreams, Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Angel Di Maria as United applied late pressure.
|Peter Schmeichel: "Manchester United and Chelsea have excellent young goalkeepers in David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois but, in front of them, things are very different.Courtois plays behind an incredibly well-organised defence. In contrast, United's back four is full of uncertainty and insecurity, something that was particularly evident at set-pieces at Old Trafford."|
|Read more: Man Utd disorganised in defence|
Di Maria's resulting free-kick saw Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois save brilliantly from Marouane Fellaini but Van Persie was on hand to thrash home the rebound and spark wild celebrations around Old Trafford.
Blues manager Jose Mourinho turned away in disgust as Van Persie scored, frustrated that the victory his side deserved for controlling long periods had slipped away in a chaotic conclusion.
The Portuguese's side remain four points clear of second-placed Southampton - and, perhaps more significantly, six points ahead of last season's champions Manchester City - but this is a result that will almost have the after-taste of defeat, even though Chelsea's unbeaten run continues.
Without injured top scorer Diego Costa, the old warrior Drogba stepped into the breach and, when United did threaten Chelsea's defence, keeper Courtois was faultless. The Belgian was powerless to prevent Van Persie's leveller.
Despite the late concession, Chelsea looked ominously powerful and carry all the hallmarks of the team to beat this season.
|Manchester United have not lost at Old Trafford since being beaten by Swansea on the opening day.||After nine games, United have one point fewer than at this stage last term under David Moyes.|
|Chelsea remain the only undefeated team in the Premier League this season.||Chelsea have gone eight games without defeat away from home in the league (W6, D2).|
For United manager Louis van Gaal, there will be pleasure in showing the resilience and fighting spirit of old to earn a point - but also the reality that Chelsea showed him how much ground they still have to make up, despite that £150m outlay this summer.
Blues striker Diego Costa's "little chance" of playing turned out to be no chance as his lingering hamstring strain ruled him out while United, without suspended captain Wayne Rooney, were also missing the injured Radamel Falcao.
The old friends, and on this day foes, Van Gaal and Mourinho were in no mood to hold back and it was only the finishing touches that were missing in an enthralling first half that saw chances for both sides.
Courtois saved superbly from Van Persie after the Dutchman was played through, and home keeper David de Gea also excelled to save with his legs after Oscar's pass found Drogba only 12 yards out.
There was one highly contentious moment when Ivanovic was dragged to the floor by Chris Smalling as they chased Cesc Fabregas's delivery into the box but referee Phil Dowd gave nothing.
Chelsea increased the tempo and power at the start of the second half and it was only another fine save from De Gea that stopped Eden Hazard as he ran clean through and looked certain to score.
There was no let-off, though, as Drogba escaped his marker - who mystifyingly was the diminutive Rafael - and headed in off Van Persie at the near post. The striker's attempted headed clearance was flimsy at best.
Drogba will hope the goal is not taken off him after Van Persie's unwitting intervention as it will otherwise go down as his first Premier League goal for Chelsea since he scored against Stoke in March 2012.
Scenting the chance to kill their hosts off, Willian forced De Gea into an athletic save and Ivanovic's bustling run into the area ended with a shot flashed across the face of goal.
United were looking to Van Persie to create a spark but he found Courtois in his way once more after creating space inside the area.
Then came that Ivanovic red card, the scramble in front of the Stretford End and United had their point courtesy of Van Persie.
- 1de Gea
- 2da SilvaBooked at 12mins
- 7Di María
- 8MataSubstituted forWilsonat 67'minutes
- 31FellainiBooked at 77mins
- 20van PersieBooked at 90mins
- 2IvanovicBooked at 90mins
- 3Filipe Luís
- 4FàbregasBooked at 50mins
- 21MaticBooked at 39mins
- 22WillianSubstituted forZoumaat 90+3'minutes
- 8OscarBooked at 62minsSubstituted forMikelat 67'minutes
- 10E HazardBooked at 88minsSubstituted forSchürrleat 90'minutes
- 11DrogbaBooked at 22mins
- Phil Dowd
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, Chelsea 1.
Robin van Persie (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.
Goal! Manchester United 1, Chelsea 1. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal following a set piece situation.
Attempt saved. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ángel Di María with a cross.
Second yellow card to Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) for a bad foul.
Ángel Di María (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).
Substitution, Chelsea. Kurt Zouma replaces Willian.
Attempt saved. Ángel Di María (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Substitution, Chelsea. André Schürrle replaces Eden Hazard.
Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United).
Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Rafael (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Eden Hazard (Chelsea).
Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).
John Terry (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.