Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United - A Big Win

I said in my preview post posted earlier today that it was a big game and a chance for us to establish a 5-point gap at the top of the t...

I said in my preview post posted earlier today that it was a big game and a chance for us to establish a 5-point gap at the top of the table, and after a scrappy, hard fought and closer than expected game, we managed it through a great Barcelona at home header from JT.

Chelsea lined up as expected with Ivanovic at right back, JT, Carvalho and Ashley Cole at the back, Cech in goal of course.

Lampard, Ballack, Essien and Deco in midfield. Anelka and Drogba up front. I had hoped that Joe Cole would get the nod over Deco but it wasn't to be and if Carlo Ancelotti had known the kind of performance Deco was going to put into the game then it surely wouldn't of been him starting and Joe Cole in his place!

United with their makeshift back four seemed to cope well with Drogba and Anelka and what was frustrating for me in the game was how deep Anelka was playing. At times he was dropping off the forward line and playing alongside the midfield. United lined up with the three across the midfield in Fletcher, Carrick and Anderson and to their credit hassled Chelsea so we couldn't really dictate the game. With Anelka finding himself playing deeper and deeper it played into Fergie's hands. Anelka comes deep, Drogba is more isolated and their back four had an easy time of it. An example of this came towards the end of the first half. Anelka laid the ball off in midfield, Drogba was played in down the right, looked up and no one was in the box so he shot wayward and high into the crowd.

As a result of what was happening with Anelka as I have just touched on, Drogba found himself more isolated and the frustrating side of Drogba began to show once more. At no stage that I can remember did he dominate the back four of United as he has done in so many ways.

Deco was ridiculous to me. It was only when he was playing short square balls to Essien, Ballack or Lampard that he never gave the ball away. United pressured the ball and he got found out. It was a surprise to be honest that he stayed on the pitch as long as he did. As Joe Cole started to warm up at half time and at the beginning of the second half, you could tell that the majority were thinking the same as me. But thats the frustrating side to Deco. The experience the guys has in these big big games, you would think that it would be perfect for him to show his class but today was very different.

In a game of little clear cut chances you have to hand it to United. They came with a game plan and a set up to frustrate Chelsea and it worked. Ivanovic had a tame cross shot early on saved by Van Der Saar. Rooney hit the side netting under pressure from the ever-impressive Ricardo Carvalho (now there is someone who steps up time and time again... Deco take note!). Drogba headed well off target and Anelka shot low down to the keepers left who saved from 30 yards. Carrick shot straight at Cech, Anelka denied this time with a good save from Van Der Saar and then as stated beforehand, Drogba shoots high & wide when no one was in the box.

Pretty much even steven at the break and this was where we all were calling for Joe Cole and for Chelsea to get their foot on the ball and United will eventually tire but Joe was left waiting. Fletcher shot over the bar at the start of the half and then Drogba shot wide. On 62 minutes the crap Deco was taken off and Joe came on. Rooney shoots just wide and then Cech makes another save from him.

72 mins and Drogba gets one high and into his chest from Jonny Evans and ends up getting booked for it?? You have to say I will never understand that or why he did. Drogba is poleaxed once more.. After treatment gets up, comes back on and doesn't look comfortable.

75th minute and GOAL FOR CHELSEA. Lampard swings in a free kick down our left hand side, Terry rises and heads into the far corner. Great header, very Barcelona esque!.

Drogba comes off for Kalou and Anelka for Alex and we sure things up at the back and see the game out. The whistle goes and even though it wasn't pretty its a massive win for us and for the teams confidence. United's third defeat of the season sees them slip to 3rd behind the Arsenal on goal difference who will have a big say in the Premier League title race this season as they also have a game in hand on us. But its still massive for us.

Yes I would of liked us to play better and dominate the play more but against the way they set up it was always going to be difficult. Felt we could of had alot more from Deco and more from Drogba too. Anelka play up against the back four where you belong!!

Good solid performances I thought from everyone else to be honest. Ivanovic did well at right back and Ashley was sound again. Riccy needs to stop bombing on forward when we break up play as we can get caught out one day!. Quiet-ish one for Lamps and Ballack, but again did the simple things well. Essien solid, JT good display but one dodgey moment in which if the pen was given we could understand why. Cech didnt really have a lot to do in the game but when called upon was solid too. Most importantly, its another clean sheet!

But they do say that if you were offered the 1-0 before kick off you would of taken it no matter how badly some people played. So, we will take that and move on sitting proudly at the top 5 POINTS CLEAR!!

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