[VIDEO] Man Utd 3-1 Chelsea: United show their class while Chelsea rue missed chances
There was plenty of drama at both ends of the Old Trafford pitch yesterday as Chelsea fell victim to a 3-1 defeat by champions Manchester United. Chelsea were ultimately let down by a mixture of misfortune and poor finishing, going in 3-0 down at half time before giving the scoreline a more respectful look in the second half.
Chris Smalling got the goal-fest underway inside eight minutes with a cool header from an Ashley Young cross. Nani then found space to double the lead on 37-minutes; a thunderbolt effort that left Petr Cech with no chance while Wayne Rooney tucked away his ninth goal in the opening five games moments before the break. Fernando Torres, having his best game in a Chelsea shirt to date, cut the deficit with a tidy finish within minutes of the re-start and could have led the comeback further had he not missed an open goal after Rooney’s comical penalty miss.
Whilst the 8-2 drubbing that United handed out to Arsenal last month was indeed a comedy of errors for the visitors, this game was made all the more entertaining by the bizarre fashions that both teams employed, seemingly trying not to score. Indeed this could not be said of the hosts in the opening exchanges as they wasted little time in their attempts to attack. A free-kick was awarded outside the Chelsea area and Young’s delivery was perfect for the run, albeit the unmarked run of United defender Smalling whose well placed header raised the roof inside Old Trafford.
It was a case of poor marking from the visitors, however they failed to sulk in their own shortcomings and sought to find an equaliser almost instantly. Anderson surrendered possession needlessly only for Torres to scuff an unconvincing effort while Ramires, with an empty goal beckoning, found only David De Gea when it looked easier to find the back of the net.
David Jones continued his impressive start to life at United, this time demonstrating his attacking affinity with a powerful run, linking up with Nani who nearly found the youngster with a return back heel. Their was more than a hint of fortune that followed as John Terry looked to hoof the ball clear only for it to rebound off Nani and fall kindly to Rooney. The England star was left free to score the easiest of his nine goals so far this season, piling more misery on Chelsea just before half time.
But Chelsea had not played badly-in fact Juan Mata, Raul Meireles and Torres were singing harmoniously from the same song sheet, but to no end- and Andres Villas-Boas clearly assured them of this during the interval. They made the perfect start to the half as the introduced Nicolas Anelka had the vision and the execution to offer Torres a second bite at the proverbial cherry. This time the Spaniard did not pass up the offer, and his smart finish and only second goal in Blue had the visitors believing they were still in the game.
However, just when the Blues looked like snatching something the tables began to turn in that topsy-turvy way that is so characteristic of this brilliant game, and once they started to turn it seemed that they would not stop. Barely 10 minutes after Torres’ goal, United were awarded a penalty only for Rooney- who was two goals short of three consecutive hat-tricks- to quite literally slip-up. At the moment of impact, Rooney’s foot went from underneath him and his attempt went harmlessly wide.
Now the ascendancy was with Chelsea, and Torres again found he had sprung the United offside trap. His display was reminiscent of the 4-1 hammering dealt to United by bitter rivals Liverpool in 2009 where he terrorised Nemanja Vidic for an entire 90 minutes. At the time, the Spaniard was more than renowned for his clinical finishing, and now he was off the mark for the season you felt another one-on-one opportunity could only end with one outcome.
With only De Gea to beat the pacy striker performed a majestic step over to wrong foot the keeper leaving himself with the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net. Unfortunately, the resulting attempt was more in line with his laboured and lacklustre start to Chelsea life. As the ball sailed wide into the Stretford End, a despairing Torres sank to floor wishing the 75,000 jeering United fans would disappear as quickly as that very opportunity had come and gone.
At the other end (do try and keep up) Rooney hit the post and substitute Dimitar Berbatov was denied late on by a sliding Ashley Cole. Despite an impressive performance from Villas-Boas’ side, basic errors and a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal ultimately condemned Chelsea to their first defeat of the season and Villas-Boas’ first league defeat (including Chelsea, Porto and Academica) since April 2010. If the Portuguese boss is to go another 17 months without defeat, his strikers must find their clinical edge whilst their defence have to find that championship winning resilience that was once their trademark in the Premier League.
Watch all the goals here
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