Chelsea Steal Point From United in Stamford Bridge Thriller

Chelsea Steal Point From United in Stamford Bridge Thriller

On Saturday, Chelsea FC hosted the Red Devils in Stamford Bridge to kick off an important match-up not only for the teams, but also the managers. In dramatic fashion, the match ended in a four-goal tie that saw neither team as winners, but reflected several important developments for this year’s Premier League.

Right from the beginning of the match, both teams made it clear that they wanted to finish match-day nine with a win. Until the 21st minute, the match kept a fast tempo which saw United’s Nemanja Matić booked with a yellow card in the 13th minute.

Indeed, Chelsea sought after a goal by exercising rigorous pressure on the away team before Manchester United could, with Mateo Kovačić, , Willian, and N’Golo Kanté setting up close chances within the first 11 minutes. The hosts’ efforts paid off in the 21st when Manchester United’s defense fell apart when center-back Antonio Rudiger was able to find the net before any attackers could.

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Antonio Rudiger’s header which was converted into a goal for Chelsea (on the left, in blue)

Frustrations took hold afterwards, when both teams exhibited true grit by defending without fear from the referee’s markings. While many players’ interventions would be deemed as dangerous, they were overlooked by Mike Dean. However, United’s Ashley Young and Chelsea’s Rudiger and Hazard were all booked with yellow cards before the end of the first half.

The second half started with United having clearly recollected their efforts to balance the scoreboard. Mourinho’s choice to include Martial in the match as a starter paid off early in the half, when the Frenchman was able to land a convincing shot that set the equilibrium of the game.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/67/590x/secondary/Man-Utd-goal-Marcos-Alonso-Chelsea-1563078.jpg?resize=590%2C350&ssl=1
Martial’s equalizer

Mourinho’s directions were clearer as the match developed, since United continued to push Chelsea towards their half of the pitch, forcing them to defend more than attack. Despite the rare chances that the hosts exhibited with Hazard’s and David Luiz’s close encounters with De Gea, United were able to create and score, with Martial repeating, this time with a laser shot from outside the penalty box.

In typical Mourinho fashion, the game was loosened from his half of the court, choosing for his team to defend more than attack. Three times were his players booked while trying to not allow any of Chelsea’s players to score, but their efforts were in vain once the extra time was about to expire.

Taking advantage of United’s apathetic judgement of the end of the game, Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley was able to tap in a goal that seemed to not want to happen. After David Luiz’s shot that shook the left bar of the goal, and Rudiger’s attempt to land his second for the match, Barkey was able to push the ball in De Gea’s distraught efforts.

Amid celebrations that seemed to shake up the whole stadium, Mourinho lost his temper when one of Sarri’s assistants (Marco Ianni) mockingly celebrated in the Portuguese’s bench. In a post-match interview, Mourinho dismissed any further comments about the incident by waving them off by mentioning an apologetic resolve from the Italians.

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Marco Ianni celebrating seconds before the conflict with Mourinho watching

Takeaway

Lately, Mourinho’s reputation has been smudged with commentary from the media due to his inability to concentrate Manchester United’s efforts towards a convincing win in either the Champions League or domestic match-ups. The situation has reached talks of sacking, which at first were seen to be taken lightly by United’s manager.

Today’s match, however, proved that Mourinho has found a way to make Manchester United dangerous to any opponent’s efforts. Forcing Chelsea to have to score in order to get a tie at the Bridge should be seen as an accomplishment for Mourinho, more than a failure. Although Europa League competitors, Chelsea has shown maturity since their acquisition of Maurizio Sarri, who was appointed amid a could of smoke to lead The Blues, but has proven to know how to read the opponent and appropriately react to them.

The tie does bring up weaker points for Chelsea, as their offensive line did not put out the expected results. Hazard was rarely able to escape any of United’s center-backs, and barely placed any shots on goal against a greatly criticized defense. His midfield work did however please with the Belgian’s typical creativity and skill. Others like Morata and Kovačić, draw doubtful looks due to their incompetence to create any chances in front of the goal, leaving it up to the defensive line to do the work of the attackers.

This week the Champions and Europa Leagues return, with Manchester United hosting Juventus, and Chelsea competing at home against BATE Borisov. While it will be an easy matchup for Chelsea (add to that the fact that they play at home), Manchester United will have a difficult assignment when facing their goal-hungry, ex-wunderkind Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford.

Cover photo: sbisoccer.com
Rudiger header: metro.co.uk
Martial goal: express.co.uk
Ianni celebration: dnaindia.com

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