Manchester United somehow managed a lucky escape from a defeat at Stamford Bridge, as despite being led 3-0 after only 50 minutes, the Red Devils, courtesy of two penalties (second one being rather controversial but oh! so vital and an equalizer by Chicharito, made it 3-3, and managed to hold on the last minutes as Chelsea came close twice to take the lead again, but thwarted by De Gea’s heroics, he who was somewhat at fault for Chelsea’s opener in the first half.
The match had a high importance for both teams, as Chelsea saw Arsenal coming 2 points behind them following the latter’s win last night, while United saw City won easily at home to take a 3 points cushion. Both teams settled in rather quickly, but United were caught off guard on the 36th minute, as Sturridge drifted on United’s left flank, played off Evra, and his resulting strong cross was met by De Gea with his right foot (in a handball keeper style), but the deflected ball only went on to hit Evans and into the net. United looked for a quick reply, with Young curling a shot towards goal, but Cech tipped it away, and then stopped Welbeck’s shot. Chelsea held on to their one goal lead at half time.
While I was hoping to see United come out all guns blazing, it was instead Chelsea which took the game to their ease, as only 30 seconds in the second half, and Torres whipped in a cross from his right flank, and Mata was totally unmarked to hit a rasping volley into the roof of the net, leaving no chance whatever for De Gea to stop this one. And Chelsea scored again on the 50th minute, as Mata delivered a free kick right onto Luiz’s head, and with a fortunate deflection off Ferdinand, the ball flew in past the stranded De Gea, again deceived by the deflected path of the ball. It looked like game over for United, but 8 minutes later, Evra was caught from behind by Sturridge, although not a severe tackle, but enough to make the United man lose his balance in the box, and Rooney dispatched the penalty hard and high, wrong-footing Cech in the process. United got a lifeline, and it was extended rather graciously by referee Webb, when Welbeck went down rather softly over Ivanovic’s stretched leg. Rooney again stepped up and again wrong footed Cech to score the second, reducing the margin to only one goal. Chelsea however were not yet done, as Essien’s long range effort was punched into corner by De Gea, but United were back on level terms on the 84th minute, as Rooney’s shot from the edge of the box was parried by Cech, only for Giggs to collect the rebound, and send in one of his trademark crosses, and the clever Chicharito gave Luiz’s marking the slip and rose unchallenged to head home the equalizer. Chelsea again tried to take the game away, first Mata saw his brilliantly struck freekick met in an equal manner by the so far critisized De Gea, and the latter again was called in action as Cahill sent in a long range effort, which De Gea tipped over the bar to hold on for a 3-3 draw, and a precious point.
However, despite scoring twice today, Rooney was disappointment personified, as his touches let him down very often, and took some bad decisions when passing or crossing to his team mates. Valencia was providential yet again, with his powerful runs and crosses, but same cannot be said for Young on the other wing, but it is true that both he and Rooney only returned from injury, and they are not ready for such games. Evra also seems to be on the downward slope this days, as Sturridge got past him too easily, and most of Chelsea’s attacks were in fact made from his flank, time for the man to up his game, or else ask for a good rest and let someone in better condition play for some time. After this draw, City are now 2 points clear, and could well be on the way to run away with the title, given United will face Liverpool next weekend, where anything can happen in that game as well.