Manchester United vs Chelsea – Initial Reaction and Analysis

It was time for some Super Sunday action in the Premier League, when Jose Mourinho’s top-seeded and in-form Chelsea visited Old Trafford to line up against Louis Van Gaal’s struggling Manchester United, in what was the 9th league game for both the teams.

Mourinho made three changes to his team that thrashed Maribor 6-0 in the midweek with Courtois, Cahill and Drogba replacing Cech, Zouma and Remy respectively while, Diego Costa didn’t feature in the line-up.

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Here’s the initial reaction to the game:

  • It was a tentative start from the red devils with their obvious vulnerability in the defence already apparent in the first few minutes, but blues too were guilty of giving away the ball in dangerous positions, thus being susceptible to few quick counter attacks from United.The game did seem to settle down a bit after some shaky start by both the teams, with both the sides content on keeping the possession in the midfield without any real urgency in the final third.
  • The first real chance fell for Man United in the 23rd minute, when a quick counter attack saw Persie with a great chance to take the lead, but Thibaut Courtois denied the dutchman with a brilliant save. Top quality goal-keeping from the Belgian!
  • It wasn’t the sort of start Mourinho had expected from his team, with United piling up a bit of pressure on Chelsea while the blues were unable to replicate the sort of form we have come to expect from this side.The first real chance for Chelsea came in 40th minute after a cutback pass from Oscar found Drogba, but the striker was unable to put his shot past De Gea.
  • The first half ended with a 0-0 scoreline but the blues left a lot to be desired with their wasteful play on the attacking front and the unfamiliar vulnerability on the counter attacks.None of the teams dominated the play, but it was United who had the best of the chances in the first half while, blues surely missed a more competent force on the striking front. Perhaps something to think for Mourinho at half-time!
  • The second half started with no changes from either manager.
    The blues pressed forward with more intent, creating a couple of half chances in the process but were unable to get the shot away in the final third.United, meanwhile looked to sit deep and catch us on the break, which they did so well in the first half.
  • Hazard had a brilliant chance to get on the score-sheet in the 53rd minute after he rounded off couple of red shirts, playing a brilliant one-two with Drogba, but his tame shot was saved by De Gea.The miss didn’t prove costly for the blues though as the resulting corner was converted by Didier Drogba into the far post after a bit of help from Van Persie. Chelsea 1 United 0.
  • Chelsea looked in firm control of the game after that goal but picked up several clumsy bookings as Phil Dowd was too lenient with his cards.Mourinho made his first change in the 67th minute, with Mikel introduced in place of Oscar, thus changing the formation into a 4-3-3, with Mikel, Fabregas and Matic as the CM in the middle.
  • With the introduction of Mikel, Chelsea had no problem controlling the ball in the middle of the pitch, as the blues looked quite content on keeping the possession, without allowing United any real chance in the final third.Whatever half chances United did managed, they were denied by some brilliant goalkeeping from Courtois.
  • There was some twist in the final few minutes as Ivanovic was sent off with second booking and the resulting free kick helped United salvage a point after Van Persie fired the shot past Courtois from close range.The match ended with a scoreline of 1-1 which was unfair, to say the least, as blues dominated the game for the major part of the second half.

The draw see Chelsea 6 points clear of the current champions and their possible competition Manchester City and still top of the league, though the major problem for the blues will be the unavailability of both the right-backs in the next two league matches!

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  1. I wanted to see Schurrle start in the fale9 position.. and that wouldve made a huge difference. We needed him to keep making the runs at the defence and stretching the CBs..
    That would have opened up the midfield for us and Oscar Hazard and Fabregas would’ve been more effective
    Drogs has lost his pace.. which meant the mifield just got packed up and fellaini was able to nullify fabregas for the most part..

    Appart from that it was a good game.. Drogs header was wonderful to watch.. a few decisions went against us but that can happen to anyone on any day..Heartbroken on conceeding two points in the last attack of the game.. but a point at OT is worth complacency !! Not to forget we still gained a point over our only title rivals City..
    Hopefully Costa will be back for the Derby this saturday..

    Carefree & KTBFFH !!

    • Having Schurrle leading the lines didn’t help the Blues last season at OT. Drogba certainly has lost a yard of pace, but he was still a better option against that packed United defence yesterday.
      If it was City or some other bigger team, I would certainly be fine with Schurrle because he excels in the counter-attacking game, as he has some space to work in. But against a packed side, Mourinho would rather see Drogba linking up play with his team-mates rather than losing the ball at dangerous positions.
      But I agree with you, Schurrle should have been introduced after the 60-minute mark as Drogba was exhausted and we could have done really well with Schurrle running at the tired defence.
      Subbing Willian for Zouma wasn’t a great decision either as it allowed Di Maria to run freely on the wings, winning that free kick.

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