Red Devils hand Blues a Defeat
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea were the last team to win at Old Trafford towards the end of the 2009/10 campaign, two seasons on the Blues travelled to Manchester United again with the Blues new manager Andre Villas-Boas facing his club’s first big test against the league leaders and reigning champions. David De Gea’s outstretched legs frantically kept our Ramires’s volley from Ashley Cole’s left wing cross in the second minute as the Blues laid down an early marker. But it was the Red Devils that got the breakthrough on seven minutes after Ashley Young was pulled down by Jose Bosingwa and from the resulting free kick the ball was pinged in by Young and met perfectly by the head of Chris Smalling who got the decision, after directing his effort into the right side of the net. On eleven minutes Anderson’s stray pass fell into the path of Fernando Torres but the Blues striker steered the ball wide of the left post. Ten minutes later, Frank Lampard lashed the ball wide after being put in a good position by Raul Meireles as the Blues created another opening. A point blank save by De Gea stopped Ramires from scoring on twenty six minutes after a run through by Juan Mata and ball forward by Torres had given Ramires a wonderful opportunity to level the score. Five minutes later, Chelsea pushed up front again after Cole’s cross was knocked on by Torres but Daniel Sturridge struck his shot directly at De Gea. United struck again on thirty six minutes with a goal fitting of the theatre of dreams as Nani strolled past Mata and then bent the ball around Blues captain John Terry, into the left corner leaving Petr Cech no chance to react as the Red Devils doubled their lead. United were in dreamland on forty four minutes after Phil Jones spearheaded the attack with a soaring run and from the ball in Terry go into a tangle with Nani and when the ball broke loose to Wayne Rooney, he had the easy task of rolling the ball into an empty net to give the Red Devils a three goal cushion at half time. An inspired substitution gave Chelsea a lifeline thirty seconds into the re-start when Nicolas Anelka who had just replaced Lampard, threaded the ball through to Torres whose delicate chip over De Gea found the back of the net. The Blues tested De Gea’s resolve again on fifty four minutes when Mata’s low drive was turned away for a corner. But the Red Devils surged forward again when a rasping strike by Nani crashed against the crossbar and from the rebound Bosignwa pulled down Nani in the penalty box and United were awarded a penalty by referee Phil Dowd but the Blues were let off the hook as Rooney spurned the spot kick when he slipped after the run up and miss timed his strike wide of the target, a minute later. Another low block by De Gea stopped Torres’s drive from outside the box and when Torres followed up the rebound he blasted the ball over on seventy one minutes. Rooney could have wrapped the game up five minutes later as his tamely struck shot hit the foot of the right post, after Terry had missed the ball from Patrice Evra’s low cross and as the ball came back from the woodwork, Javier Hernandez smashed his effort against the side netting before retiring injured from Cole’s challenge. Chelsea’s best chance of the match was squandered by Torres in the eighty second minute, when Ramires’s through ball found Torres unmarked and as he rounded De Gea, Torres ballooned the ball wide of an empty net. The Red Devils were close to adding a fourth at the end of normal time when Young put Rooney clean through, who squared a pass to Dimitar Berbatov but his low strike was hooked off the line by Cole but it was job done by United, who opened up a five points gap over Chelsea and two points better than local rivals Manchester City to stay top of the Premier League table.