Manchester United produced a near perfect performance against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Old Trafford, defeating Antonio Conte’s men 2-0 on Sunday.
A sensational performance by the Red Devils at Old Trafford meant the top four has become a now realistic aim for Jose Mourinho. As far as Chelsea is concerned, they are only four points clear at the top of the table from second place Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea had to start without their regular goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, after the Belgian picked up an ankle injury while filming a basketball commercial. Marcos Alonso had to pull out just before the game due to illness. United went into the game with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench, a decision that raised more than a few eyebrows.
The home side started in fantastic fashion as an excellent through ball by Ander Herera was calmly finished by teenage sensation Marcus Rashford. Asmir Begovic came off the line to cut the angle, but the 19-year-old calmly placed it past the advancing goalkeeper to put United ahead in the 7th minute. Herera doubled United’s score post half-time. Ashley Young capitalised on a poor touch by N’Golo Kante, and laid it off for the Spaniard to strike the ball goal-wards. A big deflection off Kurt Zouma took it away from Begovic and into the net.
Chelsea never made an impression in the game and were second best by miles on the night. Hazard was man-marked by Hazard, rendering him unfruitful for the duration of the game. The Blues failed to register a single shot on target and did not manage to create a clear-cut chance against a well-organised United defence.
The London side can take solace in the fact that the fate of title still remains in their hands. As for United, they can certainly take enormous satisfaction from the way they out‑thought, out-ran and out-fought the opposition, a performance with which they can kick-start a strong finish in the league, and possibly win silverware in Europe.
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