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[Player Ratings] Manchester United 0-1 Chelsea: Juan’s the man to keep top 4 hopes alive

A dramatic finish at Old Trafford saw Chelsea beat Man Utd, with a solitary Juan Mata effort enough to decide the teams. Here are ratings for the Blues players

Chelsea gave their Champions League qualification hopes a major boost after beating Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Here, Blues fan Joe Carroll gives his player ratings for the game:

Juan Mata

A dramatic finish at Old Trafford saw Chelsea beat newly crowned champions Manchester United, with a solitary Juan Mata effort enough to decide the teams.

Despite winning the title two weeks ago, Sir Alex Ferguson insisted his team would remain focussed till the end, however both teams initially failed to live up to the pre-game hype. Chelsea too started tamely, but the game improved as time ticked on and it was Chelsea’s player of the season, Mata, who ensured the visitors took all three points back to Stamford Bridge to boost their pursuit of Champions League qualification. The 87th minute goal did owe to a slice of fortune as the Spaniard’s (who was excellent for Chelsea) effort deflected of United’s Phil Jones. The game then ended on a very sour note as Rafael was dismissed with just minutes to go for kicking Chelsea’s David Luiz.

While the result has no bearing on United’s league position, the win was much needed for Rafael Benitez and his men who move into third place with three games to go. Should they pick up another win against Tottenham in mid-week, they will all but confirm their place in next seasons Champions League, whilst a potential European trophy remains on the horizon.

Chelsea

Cech- 6- had very little to do but saved well when called upon, especially from a Robin van Persie effort just before the break.

Cole- 6- should have been a game that the England international relishes, but the full-back appeared sluggish at times. Decent performance, but we expect more

Luiz- 6- enjoyed a relatively comfortable game at the back, forming a good partnership with Ivanovic as Benitez again shuffled defensively. Hardly covered himself in glory after Rafael’s sending-off but otherwise played well.

Ivanovic- 7- robust in defence and led the line with maturity against an experienced and dangerous United forward line.

Azpilicueta- 7- goes without saying that the Spaniard loves to attack and he continued to offer his services in the final third once again. Linked up well and did what he had to defensively.

Lampard- 5- like Cole, the England veteran appeared jaded and struggled to influence a game that was tepid for large parts. We expect more from the midfielder in these big games.

Ramires- 8- was busy about the pitch, not just in the middle of the park; the Brazilian was sure to pop up in both boxes. Pick-pocketed Rooney on the edge of his own box before driving forward to help lay on the goal.

Mata- 8- MOM- probably the best player on the pitch. Recently awarded Chelsea player of the year and there’s no doubt he deserved it. Consistent as always; he was at the centre of Chelsea’s play and his deflected shot earned his team 3 vital points.

Moses- 5- appeared tired having played 90 minutes in mid-week in which he impressed. Was out of the game for large parts and missed a glorious chance to open the scoring in the first half.

Oscar- 6- in big games such as this you hope quality players stand up and make themselves counted. Whilst the Brazilian let nobody down with a decent showing, you felt this was a chance not taken to really influence the game. He did come close with a shot that Lindegaard saved well.

Ba- 6- had little in the way of chances which was partly down to the lack of creativity from his fellow team mates. Looked lethargic at times and it never seemed like he was going to score.

Subs

Torres- 5- ran the line but not enough time to influence the game.

Ake- 4- through no fault of his own, didn’t have a chance to make an impact as a 90th minute, time-wasting ploy.

Whilst the performance from both sides will not be remembered, the three points gained may prove vital in Chelsea’s bid for Champions League qualification. The Blues cannot afford to miss out on the elite European football competition next season, and Wednesday’s clash with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge is a huge game for both sides in deciding who will qualify.

Do you think the Blues will get in that top 4? Will they beat Spurs on the way? Are you happy at this stage of the season to simply get the points on the board while playing poorly? Do you class top 4 as success? Please leave your comments below…

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