Blues lock horns with Red Devils
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea were unbeaten in nine games with Manchester United but on eighteen minutes, from a neat touch by Juan Mata, the ball was met with a long range curling strike by Anthony Martial, which required a vital touch by Thibaut Courtois, to tip the ball over the top corner. On twenty six minutes from a Willian corner, a flicked header by Diego Costa, went over the bar, before protesting that Daley Blind was holding his right arm. Three minutes later from another Willian corner, a header off the top side of Nemanja Matic’s forehead was collected by David De Gea. On thirty two minutes, from a through ball by Oscar, a diagonal low strike by Costa, drifted wide of the far left post. Within a minute, a cross from the left side by Matic, resulted in a one two combination with Cesar Azpilicueta and Oscar, who drove the ball over the top left side of the crossbar. Then within sixty seconds, after Willian shrugged off the challenge of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, the ball was just too far for Oscar. Another cross from the left side by Matic, landed on the outside roof of the net on thirty six minutes. Then four minutes later, from a Blind corner, a header by Marouane Fellaini, went over as he pushed Kurt Zouma, to one side. On forty three minutes, as Jesse Lingard put the ball out to the right, Matteo Darmian’s low cross went past the advancing Red Devils captain, Wayne Rooney. Before the break, from a shot by Blues captain, John Terry, the arms of Blind went up, as Chelsea had a penalty appeal turned down. United were the quickest out of the blocks for the second half, with a floating cross by Mata, which was connected with by a soft Rooney header that was picked up by Courtois. Then on forty nine minutes, from an incisive pass by Blind, a low strike by Rooney, produced a full length save by Courtois, as he dived to his right and turned the ball behind. A minute later, Rooney spread the ball out to the left and the advancing Martial, put his strike into the outside netting of the left post. In the fifty third minute, from a Rooney cross on the right and a pull back by Martial, a strong connection by Lingard, required Courtois to spring to his left, and push the strike away. The Blues then replaced Oscar with Eden Hazard and immediately as Zouma fell awkwardly in an aerial challenge with Fellaini, Gary Cahill took over. In a cruel twist of fate, the Red Devils struck in the sixty first minute, as Mata started the move and as a low left wing cross by Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, was touched back by Rooney, on the turn with an exquisite finish, Lingard bent the ball into the right side of the net. Four minutes later from a Borthwick-Jackson throw in, a dipping volley from Lingard went narrowly over. Chelsea made a final change of Pedro for Matic. But on sixty eight minutes, De Gea made a theatrical save in reaction to Branislav Ivanovic’s volley, as the ball was brought back to him from a nod on by Azpilicueta, off a cross by Fabregas, on the right side. In the seventy second minute, an intricate pass by Hazard, was left for Fabregas, who from a tight angle, delivered a high shot which required De Gea to produce a double handed block. But within two minutes, from a delivery by Darmian on the far right, an over the head scissors kick by Rooney, went fractions past the right post. Man U took off Fellaini for Morgan Schneiderlin and later Lingard was replaced by Memphis Depay. In the eighty ninth minute, after a foul by Darmian on Hazard, as Willian put the free kick over to the back stick, Costa could not keep his header down. But Costa was not to be denied in stoppage time, when from a through ball by Fabregas, as Borthwick-Jackson fell while missing a challenge, Costa rounded De Gea, to tuck the ball in. There was a late scare for Chelsea as Rooney cut past Ivanovic on the left but put the ball on the roof of the net. Former Blues player Mata was then replaced by Ander Herrera. In the last piece of action, from a Hazard pass, a crucial save by De Gea kept out Costa’s effort, before Blind hooked the ball away as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.