Jose Mourinho’s first game at Stamford Bridge since last December’s departure turned out to be a disappointing affair as his former side Chelsea put in a commanding performance for a comfortable win over Manchester United.
Match of the weekend in English Premier League saw Red Devils extend their winless domestic run which now goes for three games and record their heaviest away defeat in 17 years.
Three is also the number of consecutive wins Antonio Conte’s side notched since their September’s loss to Arsenal.
Following a highly anticipated clash between two great rivals here are the five things we learned:
Chelsea deserved to win
Antonio Conte’s side put in a more determined display against Manchester United and were looking sharp, hungry and alert for the most part of the game entirely deserving their three points.
From the statistical point of view, the game at Stamford Bridge ended up being an equally contested affair, but unlike Chelsea, Manchester United lacked a cutting edge which ended up making all the difference.
Chelsea opened the scoring through Pedro after only 30 seconds into the game and after a terrible lack of awareness from Manchester United’s back line, while they doubled the lead after 20 minutes when Gary Cahill scored from the corner kick after the ball slipped through the box, allowing the England defender to slot it home comfortably.
Eden Hazard’s solo effort inside the box made it 3-0 on the hour mark while Chelsea sealing a comfortable win in front of their own supporters through N’Golo Kante who scored his first goal for Chelsea today.
Antonio Conte’s approach to the match was more direct and today’s win came as a worthy reward for Blues’ efforts against Manchester United.
United’s woeful defending cost them the game
With the exception of the summer’s arrival Eric Bailly who had a couple of fine moments and timely interceptions, Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind will be utterly disappointed with their performance against Chelsea.
United’s entire backline failed to win a single tackle in the first half of the clash, which is the perfect way to sum up their woeful display.
Chris Smalling’s poor awareness cost Manchester United the opening goal with Pedro cleverly using the space to snatch the ball and put it home, while the second goal also came as a result of England defender failing to cover his man and follow him through in the box.
Smalling’s terrible night was rounded off by poor marking and failure to close down Eden Hazard, allowing the Belgian to score the third goal after getting isolated and easily tricked with a nice piece of skill.
Man United’s defence was once again ran ragged as N’Golo Kante got all the space he needed to score his first for Chelsea and the final goal of this incredible game.
Where are the goals, Ibra?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came with a reputation of an influential striker, but the Red Devils are yet to witness the talents of the Swedish striker to full extent.
Former Paris Saint-Germain forward failed to score a single goal in his last five performances for Manchester United.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s little possession and few on-ball chances is even more disturbing however. The experienced striker’s influence has been severely limited, but the towering Swede is making life harder to himself with inability to get into positions to receive the ball and create goal opportunities.
With the Swede lingering idly around the rivalling penalty box, Ibra’s lack of movement is worrying at this stage in the season as the Swedish international is doing little to shut down the critics who already tend to describe him as a failure.
Pogba “MIA” once again
When you pay the amount of money Manchester United have paid for Paul Pogba, you would expect the player to make an immediate impact to your team.
Pogba’s impact has been limited to the marketing side of things, while his on-pitch influence has been largely non-existing.
Mourinho was quick to defend his player after a fine Europa League performance, but Paul Pogba appears to struggle to gain his footing in the Premier League, which is where Red Devils want him to be at his best.
A player of his quality is expected to drive the team forward, but the Frenchman has fallen into mediocrity entire team is suffering from under Mourinho, as Red Devils lack a recognisable system and identity.
Pogba was just one of the underachievers for Manchester United today, with the exception of Ander Herrera who won a great number of tackles at the middle of the park to alleviate his team’s struggles at the midfield.
To put United’s issues into perspective a number of 4 interceptions in the first half from N’Golo Kante was more which Fellaini, Herrera and Pogba made combined.
Honourable mention: Victor Moses
Jose Mourinho’s reject is enjoying life under Antonio Conte. The Italian has changed Chelsea’s system to rejuvenate his team and help them come back to winning ways following his September slip-ups.
One of the players who is thriving in his role under the Italian is Victor Moses, who deserves to be mentioned in this article despite it was N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard who earned their place under the limelight at Stamford Bridge.
Moses has enjoyed eight performances this season, scoring two goals so far. Goals have not been what impresses the most with the Nigerian, who has been outstanding with his confidence, flair and determination on the pitch.
Backed up by formidable Azpilicueta – who had another nearly perfect game for Chelsea – Moses is allowed to develop his recognisable play without thinking much about his defensive duties.
Moses is displaying great bravery when doing his take-ons on the flanks and there is no denying that the Chelsea winger has been a great presence for the Blues over the last couple of weeks.
CHELSEA: Courtois 7 – Azpilicueta 8, Luiz 7, Cahill 7.5 – Moses 7, Kante 8, Matic 7.5, Alonso 7 – Pedro 7.5 (Chalobah 6), Costa 6.5 (Batshuayi 6), Hazard 8 (Willian 6).
Unused subs: Aina, Begovic, Oscar, Terry
MAN UNITED: de Gea 6 – Valencia 5.5, Bailly 6 (Rojo 5.5), Smalling 5.5, Blind 5.5 – Fellaini 5.5 (Mata 5.5), Herrera 6.5 – Rashford 6, Pogba 5.5, Lingard 5.5 (Martial 5.5) – Ibrahimovic 5.5.
Unused subs: Carrick, Darmian, Romero, Young
Other results this season
Man City 1-1 Southampton