Chelsea overcame a one-goal deficit to rally against Manchester United in dramatic fashion, opening up the EPL title race to Arsenal. United came into Stanford Bridge looking to extend their lead to seven, but they came away empty-handed. The game was surprisingly very open and did not disappoint. Both sides displayed brilliant passing and defending. It was like watching a basketball match, as both sides countered each other on numerous occasions. It was definitely more thrilling than the last Manchester match.
- The Blues came out of the gates early, putting pressure on United. Torres had a goal disallowed in the 1st min due to a foul in the penalty-box during the preceding corner. In the 5th min, Malouda received a cross from Essien right on the penalty-spot, but shot it straight at van der Sar. It should have been one-nil; a wasted opportunity. Chelsea moved the ball fluidly, bombarding the United penalty-box with crosses in the opening ten-minutes.
- As the game progressed, United began to settle in, controlling the midfield. Midfielders, Scholes and Carrick dictated the flow of the game. Finally, in the 30th min, Chelsea makes an error, giving Rooney space on the top of the box, allowing him to smash in a low shot right inside the left post. Not even a stretched Cech could stop that one.
- Chelsea began to make a surge late in the first. They had a pin-point chance to equalize off a Lampard free-kick rebound. Van der sar made a brilliant save, as Essien made a run right in front of the goal, but he was unable to gather it in cleanly. The rebound then bounced right into Ivanovic’s lap, who was unable to shoot it with control. Instead, van der Sar made another amazing save, while laying on the ground. This keep is set to retire at the end of the season, but is still playing at a high-level. He can play another ten years if he wanted.
- Chelsea brings the pressure once again to open the second-half, and this time it pays off. Essien curled in a cross where Ivanovic flicked it to Luiz, who blasted a volley into the left corner. They finally convert on one of the many delivered crosses.
- The Blues dictated most of the second-half, playing into the open space. United had their number of chances from counter-attacks, but those were short-lasted. Chelsea looked rejuvenated compared to United.
- There was controversy late in the second-half, as Luiz deliberately trips Rooney, who is making a run off the ball. Luiz already having a yellow-card should have been sent off. The ref clearly missed that one.
- In the 79th min, United defender Smalling takes down Zhirkov in the box, awarding the Blues a crucial penalty. Lampard calmly converts, completing the Chelsea comeback.
- United’s final opportunity came in the 87th min when Rooney served a pass into the box to Fabio with open space, but he was unable to get a clean touch onto the ball to finish
- The Red Devils suffer a major blow as Vidic received his second yellow late in stoppage time, suspending him for Sundays pivotal match-up against Liverpool.
- I am sick and tired of Nani. He is brokeman’s Cristiano Ronaldo. This kid is too busy trying to do step-overs instead of looking for his teammates. Every time he touched the ball, he lost it to his opposition. He is such a huge waste of talent. Ship him out asap.
- Props to Ryan Giggs, who made his 606th appearance for Manchester United, tying a record set by legend Sir Bobby Charlton. This will be Giggs’ 20th year with the club, which is nothing less than remarkable.
- Blues defender Luiz has instantly become a fan-favorite. This signing by Chelsea has already paid off, as he was everywhere on the pitch, tonight. He was like a brick wall; finishing tackles and deflecting shots. Luiz’s very aggressive nature made it difficult for the United attackers to turn.
- Torres is still yet to net his first goal in a blue uniform. Luiz was able to tally his first goal, and he is a defender. Torres is not looking worth 50 mil pounds right now.
- Chelsea’s coaching staff should be safe for now. It was a much needed victory, if Chelsea has any hopes of finishing in the top four.
- I thought it was a very impressive win for the Blues, as they showed resiliency in the second-half. It is never easy to overcome a deficit against Manchester United. They showed heart tonight.
- The EPL title race is back open, with United having to travel to Anfield this weekend. Perhaps, Liverpool can take advantage of the suspension of Vidic.
Man of the Match: David Luiz, Chelsea, Defender
Final: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United.
Photo Courtesy of ESPNsoccernet.