Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United. Credit to both sides.

What a great game of football that was last night. It reiterates for me why our league is the best league in the world. It had everything y...

What a great game of football that was last night. It reiterates for me why our league is the best league in the world. It had everything you could ask for, commitment, passion, pace, power, goals, drama and two sides really set out to take the game to the other.

We have seen time and time again tight and cagey affairs between us two in recent seasons but not this one last night. Credit to both managers and forgive me for saying it, Alex Ferguson. You see, United could have quite easily come to the Bridge, packed the midfield and played for a draw. Instead, Fergie saw an opportunity to come and attack Chelsea to try and win the game and let's be honest here, at half time United were the better side.

Chelsea started off well enough and had an early chance to score as Nico Anelka broke down the right hand side and pulled the ball back square towards the penalty spot. Florent Malouda unmarked side footed the ball straight into the grateful arms of Van Der Sar. Both sides then were able to break and flash crosses across the box that could have been dangerous but came to nothing.

United looked much more comfortable in the 4-4-2 formation and once they got their foot on the ball and started to dictate possession. Chelsea looked as though they were struggling to settle into their shape. Chelsea's midfield were being over-run by United and were struggling to get players into the game. Every time Chelsea tried to move the ball forward it didn't stick and United found it easier than expected to win the ball back and counter attack Chelsea.

Wayne Rooney then missed what looked like an easier header as a cross came over and in between two defenders he somehow headed the ball well clear of the goal from 12 yards. United were turning the screw. Chelsea were being forced back and our midfield were playing mostly on the back foot. Rooney made up for his miss with a goal from outside the box soon after.

Picking up the ball 25 yards out and with space to turn, set himself and then strike the ball under no pressure, the ball flew into Cech's bottom left hand corner to make it 1-0. It was disappointing to see he had time and space to turn and shoot and also it was the only thing I thought Cech could have maybe done better with after being beaten. United were ahead and well deserved.

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Chelsea then reacted to being a goal down and began to get their foot on the ball with United looking dangerous every time they broke away. Chelsea were awarded a free kick outside the box right of centre. Lampard drilled it low towards the far post, Van Der Sar managed to parry the ball but it rebounded into the mid rift of Ivanovic, rebounding off him and as he was about to stick a leg out and prod the ball into the net from 2 yards, the big glove of Van Der Sar reached out and pulled the ball away from danger!. United cleared their lines after a lucky escape. It was the closest we had come to scoring in the first half.

Half time 1-0 United.

The second half started with both sides the same as kicking off the game. Both sides continued sparring with each other in possession but nothing of any real note was created until the 54th minute. A corner was half cleared and then the resultant cross back into the box was thumped clear. Essien picked up the ball 40 yards from goal and under no pressure crossed the ball into the box. Ivanovic beat Vidic to the ball and flicked it on to the back post. David Luiz calmly waited for the ball to drop as Evra looked to be making a challenge for the ball. Luiz swivelled his hips and struck a volley into the bottom corner as Evra made a half hearted attempt to challenge him. The ball flew into the net with Van Der Sar beaten. Great strike, great goal and it's game on 1-1.

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Chelsea had upped the tempo and where United were well on top and forcing Chelsea backwards, Chelsea had reversed the nature of the game. Nani, Scholes, Fletcher and Carrick, so involved in the game in the attacking phase of United's game in the first half struggling to cope with Chelsea's counter attack. Michael Essien, Frank Lampard and Ramires in particular were beginning to find that they had the legs on United and were well on top.

What followed in the game is controversy. Luiz shoulder barged Hernandez and got away with it. Rooney had earlier done the same on Ramires and he got away with his. Luiz was then booked for a tackle on Rooney high up the pitch which was needless as he didn't need to make that tackle at that part of the pitch. Soon afterwards Rooney laid the ball off and turned to make a run into the box, Luiz stuck his leg out with the intention of blocking off Rooney and caught him. Rooney went down holding his knee and straight away I thought "Oh No!, He's off!" BUT, he got away with it.

I can offer United fans and Alex Ferguson no explanation as to why he didn't get another yellow card followed by a red, but he did. There is no argument, he should have been sent off.

The disappointing Anelka was then replaced by Drogba as Carlo knew he had to do something to win the game. United responded as Berbatov and Giggs came on for Scholes and Hernandez. Zhirkov for Malouda soon followed.

The game was still being played at a frantic pace as both sides went for it. Rooney broke down the left and into the box and drilled a shot wide when he could have done better, then he turned Luiz in the box but fired his shot straight at Cech.

Chelsea were still attacking United at pace and with Zhirkov up and down our left hand side, Drogba up top next to Torres, we had fresh impetus in the game. United were being sucked towards their own goal as the game went on and Chelsea got their reward for their pressure on United.

A scuffed back heel from Drogba found it's way to Lampard wide left on the corner of United's box. He brought the ball inside and tried to flick the ball to a Chelsea player. Smalling managed to get his foot to the ball and looked to deflect the ball clear, he deflected it straight to Zhirkov and the Russian's quick feet went past Smalling, he stuck his leg out, Zhirkov went over and the penalty was given. Frank Lampard smacked the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 and the fight back was complete. You have to say, it was nothing more than our second half performance deserved.

szólj hozzá: ---

Chelsea then had another chance as another half cleared corner found it's way to Zhirkov outside the box. His volley looked like heading into the corner but Vidic managed to deflect the ball through his legs onto the post and it went for a corner.

United then took the game to Chelsea, Fletcher struck high wide and handsome from outside the box before Fabio burst into the box and looked in on goal but credit to Cech who had been mopping up anything in the box all game (apart from the goal) came off his line and blocked bravely at his feet just before Fabio could flick the ball goal wards.

We were now into four minutes of stoppage time and Didier Drogba who came on and looked up for it, took the ball into the corner and with Ramires, virtually ran the clock down. Giggs kicked out at Drogba in frustration as Didier used his power and strength to hold of challenges and force either a throw in or corner.

Under pressure from three United players, Drogba out wide right, flicked the ball inside to Ramires, he pushed the ball passed Vidic who grabbed his shirt as he realised Ramires had him beaten. Ramires went down and Vidic was given his second yellow card and was sent off. Chelsea saw out the game. The final whistle blew and Chelsea had beaten United and have blown this title race wide open.

It was a great night and a great game. United have to be given alot of credit for the way they were set up, the way they played especially in the first half and the way they continued to have a go. The difference for me was the substitutions. Berbatov came on and didn't even have a touch did he?. Giggs didn't do alot apart from give Drogba a whack and Fabio had the one chance that Cech saved. All the players in red shirts who were heavily involved in the first half drifted out of it in the second half. What did Nani do all game?.

The difference for Chelsea is the impact that Drogba and Zhirkov had from the bench. All our big players who were having OK-ish kinds of games in the first half stepped up and took their games to another level. The changes Carlo made were at the right times and proved to be decisive. Taking Luiz off when he did saved Luiz as it looked as though any other miss-timed tackles would have been punished the same way Vidic was.

I admit we were lucky to have kept Luiz on the pitch and we will continue to hear United moan and groan once again. I would like you all to refer to Wigan last weekend. You got away with Rooney's elbow and we got away with Luiz. I guess it just wasn't "your referee" yesterday now was it!.

As for Chelsea, it was great to see our fight and determination. Great to see the hunger is still there and as Carlo said we are "still alive". We have a long long way to go to catch United but listen, If United lose to Liverpool, we have two games in hand and would remain 12 points behind. If we can win both games we take it down to 6 points knowing we still have to play them and they still have to play Arsenal.

I just wonder if last night's result is the turning point in this title race!?.

Chelsea (4-4-2): Cech, Ivanovic, David Luiz (Bosingwa 80), Terry (c), Cole; Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Malouda (Zhirkov 70); Anelka (Drogba 60), Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, McEachran, Kalou.
Scorers David Luiz 54, Lampard pen 80.
Booked Ramires 12, David Luiz 59, Essien 74.

Man United (4-4-1-1): Van der Sar; O'Shea, Smalling, Vidic (c), Evra (Fabio 80); Fletcher, Carrick, Scholes (Giggs 70), Nani; Rooney; Hernandez (Berbatov 70).
Unused subs Kuszczak, Rafael, Brown, Gibson.
Scorer Rooney 29.
Sent off Vidic 90+2.
Booked Vidic 44, Giggs 90+1,

Referee Martin Atkinson
Crowd 41,825.


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