Mark Clattenburg will be the talk of the week as the referee had some controversial decisions which put the final nails in Chelsea’s coffin, first by sending off two of their players to reduce them to 9 men, and secondly missing a clearly offside goal from Chicharito (although it seemed like a repayment for the handball from Luiz which went unpunished in the first half when it should have been a penalty) which gave United the win at Stamford Bridge, but it was a really hot match for both sides, which will meet each other again on Wednesday night for the Capital One Cup, and let’s hope this time the referee is more composed, along with his assistants. United were 0-2 up at one point, but were caught back by Chelsea in the beginning of the second half, until the sending off of Ivanovic (seemed a little harsh after replays), and an unfair sending off of Torres completely destabilized the game, and the icing of it all was the offside goal from Chicharito afterwards to seal Chelsea’s desperate fate and condemn them to their first loss of the season, while sparing United’s blushes when they were up against 9 men and yet failed to impress.
United took an early lead in this much awaited game, as David Luiz was unfortunate to score an own goal on the third minute, following Van Persie’s shot which rebounded off the post and onto the poor defender to end up in the net. United were not dominating but took full opportunity of the break led by Valencia, and the latter found Van Persie unmarked in the box on the 11th minute to double the score. But Chelsea were the much better side with the passing and possession, and De Gea had to make three excellent saves from Luiz, Cahill and Torres. However he was partly at fault when Chelsea got one back on the 43rd minute, as Mata’s freekick was well struck, but De Gea was at fault for putting too many players in his wall, and he could barely see the ball coming in until the last moment it was about to hit the net and revive Chelsea’s hopes. Part at fault since it was Rooney who went on an unnecessary tackle on Hazard to provoke the freekick in the first place, which owed him a booking as well, and could have well been sent off had SAF not decided to take him off following a foul where the ref did not punish him.
United’s lead was a narrow one at the break, and Chelsea’s revival was on the right track as they started the second half in the same style as they ended the first one, and were duly rewarded when Oscar’s cross was met by Ramires’ header on the 52nd minute for the equalizer. Yet, on a quick counter at the other end, Chelsea found themselves on the back foot on the 62nd minute, as Ivanovic seemed to bring down Young, although replays showed that he was instead trying to get out of the way, but the ref did not have any replays like us, and being the last defender as well, Ivanovic was shown the red card. Down to 10 men, but still valiant, Chelsea kept the pressure on United, until five minutes later Torres was unfairly sent off. He was instead brought down by Evans’ challenge, but from the ref’s point of view it was a dive, and surprise, even his assistant on the near-side did not say anything, and having been booked in the first half, Torres was shown a second yellow. Tempers flared on the bench between the two managers, but Chelsea were looking to keep the draw as they took off Mata and Hazard. However, another controversial moment followed 75th minute, as Cech put Van Persie’s shot on the post, which then fell kindly to Rafael, and the latter sent in a cross across goal, which was met by Chicharito. However, Chicharito was coming back from an offside position, since he went into the net from the initial effort with no defenders on the same line as him, but the goal stood and from there United tried to keep possession to kill off any chance of a Chelsea comeback.
However it was not an impressive display by United, although they opted for a “block” defending style as from kickoff, which paid off rather well until Chelsea scored one back, and even when up with 11 men against 9, United still looked a frail side, and had Chelsea not taken off Mata and Hazard, it could have well ended a draw or a win for the Blues, given that United did not really trouble Chelsea even at that time, and the game showed that still more work is to be done to get back the old United which used to put pressure on the opposition. Or may be SAF is sensing he’s losing the plot as well, that’s why talks are already going on about his successor, namely one Pep Guardiola being brought about but only SAF and the management know who’s really coming when he hangs up.