Chelsea fights back with Alvaro Morata’s 55th-minute header to beat Manchester United 1-0. This is Manchester United’s second loss on the trot away from home, falling 9 points behind league leaders Manchester City.
Chelsea v Manchester United match review
In a much anticipated Premier League fixture, we saw The Blues beat The Red Devils. After what appeared to be a shock defeat to Roma in the Champions League, Antonio Conte’s men needed to get back to winnings ways. Manchester United beat Benfica comfortably at Old Trafford in their last Champions League fixture. It was all on Chelsea to recover after their loss to Roma.
Both teams started with the same formation, matching the playing style and attacking threat of the opposition. The return of N’Golo Kante was brilliantly timed to help control the busy midfield for Chelsea. This was increasingly vital during the match as Chelsea had no David Luiz for this fixture after the Brazillian had a falling out with Conte.
Early on it was clear that Chelsea would take the fight to Man United as they pressed from kick-off. José Mourinho, famous for his defensive team tactics, did not set up ‘The Bus’ and seemed to set up his side to grab the victory. Phil Jones put the ball into his own net after he struggled to deal with a Marcos Alonso cross. He was seemingly infringed by Alvaro Morata for what seemed to be very minimal contact.
The rest of the first half played out quite evenly, with each side having half chances. However, Chelsea was certainly on the front foot for most of the first half and had most of the possession. Each no. 9 had their chances but could not convert these half chances. It was pretty even until the half-time break with either side not playing as fluently as they are known for.
That goal changed everything
Just 10 minutes into the 2nd half Chelsea broke the deadlock. Morata connected from a César Azpilicueta cross, went up to head the ball unchallenged and scored. Conte was pretty clear with his instructions for Tiemoué Bakayoko as the Frenchman was further forward than previously seen. This was due to the return of Kante, freeing up Bakayoko to carry the ball and go on power runs. Man United did try to fight back in search of an equalizer but lacked the quality and wit to get back into the match.
Mourinho rolled the dice and made two substitutions – Marouane Fellaini on for Phil Jones and Anthony Martial on for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. This gamble didn’t seem to pay off as the pressure mounted even further. The absence of Jones in the defense was visible and The Blues went in search of their second of the night. The play opened much more in the second half with legs tiring and minds fatiguing. Man United’s attack prowess was almost powerless as they only managed 2 shots on target out of 10 total shots.
Where to from here?
We go into the international break with Chelsea in 4th spot on the Premier League table, 9 points behind leaders Man City. Manchester United in 2nd spot on the Premier League table, only 1 point ahead of Chelsea and level on points with Tottenham. It will be the goal of both teams to survive the international break with minimal to no injuries to key players. Chelsea next faces West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, while Manchester United host Newcastle at Old Trafford on 18th November
Both these fixtures should be easily won by the English giants, however, this is the Premier League. We could easily see an upset and both West Brom and Newcastle will look to fight back and get 3 points after losing their previous fixtures.
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