POST MATCH REACTION: Chelsea 2 - 3 Manchester United

Shaun Botterill

Manchester United beat Chelsea at the Bridge in the League for the first time in ten years in a game that had everything. Goals, Red cards, woeful defending and clinical finishing

I have no idea where to start.

Shall I go with the result, that means Manchester United have won at Stamford Bridge for the first time in the Premier League for ten years? The woeful refereeing of Mark Clattenburg, after sending off Fernando Torres for a dive that was not, meaning Chelsea were down to nine (Yes 9) men. The defending of United which at times was shambolic...... So much to talk about with this game!

It all started off so well for United.It couldn't have been a more perfect start. Two up inside twenty minutes. The first was a shot that came off of the post from Robin Van Persie. David Luiz really couldn't do much as the ball bounced off him and into the net.

Mere minutes later and the lead was doubled. Antonio Valencia cut the ball back for the Dutchman to slide home once more after wonderful incisive movement from the United attackers. Yet Chelsea were still in the game and looked increasingly threatening as the game wore on. David De Gea had to be at his very best on a number of occasions to keep Chelsea out. Yet there was nothing he could do for when Chelsea scored their first.

Juan Mata is having a sensational season. There was no repeat of De Gea's wonder save in the same fixture last season when Mata stepped up to take a free kick that Wayne Rooney had given away. Wonderful execution as the Spaniard placed it with power on the left hand side of the goal. The keeper, expecting it to go over the wall, took a step to his left, and thus had no chance of stopping it.

Into the second half and Chelsea were level soon after the break. The United defence looked shaky all day, and it looked only a matter of time before they conceded a second. And so it proved as the man with the everlasting engine snuck in to head home. Ramires out jumped the poor Tom Cleverley and again gave the keeper no chance as his header was aimed downwards with power.

It looked as though United would have to withstand a Chelsea onslaught, but then the game changed. RVP twisted well and fed Ashley Young who made a wonderful run inside of the right back. One on one with the keeper, yet outside of the box, he was brought down by Branislav Ivanovic and the only decision that could have been made was a red card. The free kick was just over by the industrious Wayne Rooney.

With ten men there was still a chance that Chelsea could take all three points. But with nine men, that really was mission impossible. Fernando Torres was wrongly sent off for simulation under a challenge from Jonny Evans. The contact was minimal, and in my opinion, there was no need for Torres to go down, yet due to the rules of the game, the contact means there was no dive and a free kick should have been awarded to Chelsea. Mark Clattenburg really imposed himself on the game in the way that referee's should not. He made the game all about him when the quality of football on offer should be centre stage. What really baffled me, was when he then booked Antonio Valencia for simulation, when he was clearly body checked...... Referees need help from technology on this evidence....

The game went on however. Sir Alex brought on his Mexican assassin for Tom Cleverely, and brought off Wayne Rooney, who was on a yellow, for Ryan Giggs. Good moves. Saved Rooney from a second yellow from an incompetent ref, and let Javier Hernandez cause havoc in the six yard box.

And how he did. Robin Van Persie's shot was saved brilliantly by Petr Cech. The ball trickled to the goal line and was cleared to Rafael in the penalty area. His shot was deflected home from the best poacher in the land. To add to Chelsea's misery, he was offside. (A lesser writer would say who cares.......)

Chelsea were there for the taking and United could have scored more. Hernandez could have doubled his tally, yet powered his left footed half volley over. Valencia should have scored after breaking down the right in injury time. Yet his effort was pulled awfully wide when 10 yards out and only the keeper to beat.

On the positive side, and it is a big positive, we have won at Stamford Bridge for the first time in a long while. We are a point behind Chelsea in second place, ahead of the Champions on GD. We look lethal when going forward and are capable of scoring against every team it seems.

But we are still a disaster at the back. Silly little errors. Not clearing the ball when given a chance. Pussyfooting about instead of killing an attack at the soonest possible opportunity. We are making defending corners look as hard as climbing mount Everest with two hands tied behind your back. It needs to be sorted now!

Tom Cleverley is a fantastic young midfielder. Yet he gave the ball to Chelsea in the most dangerous of positions a number of times. Is he ready to play as part of a two man midfield at this stage of his career in a game of this importance?

Anyway. We now have to do this all over again in midweek, as we play at the Bridge in the Carling Cup. If it is anywhere near as exciting as this game, with as many momentum shifts, call me a doctor! Join us on Wednesday night!

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