Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United – as it happened
Manchester United staged an incredible comeback from 3-0 down, including two penalties, to claim a point at Stamford Bridge.
Image courtesy of WellOffside.com
FULL-TIME: Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United. The corner is dealt with and it ends with the scores level. That was a wonderful game, but a very strange one – United were 3-0 down having been the better side, and they didn’t exactly have to storm Chelsea to make the comeback. It’s been a while since they’ve emerged from what looked like certain defeat unscathed or scored a last-minute winner, for which they’ve built up a considerable reputation, and although today’s was certainly a remarkable escape, there wasn’t quite the sense that United simply willed it to happen. Both penalties were rather fortunate, as were two of the goals that they trailed to. All in all though, it was highly enjoyable fare. Our thoughts in full will be up shortly. Thanks for reading, and goodbye.
90+4 min: Hernandez is ruled offside and Chelsea attack. They have the ball in the United half as we enter Fergie time, when Gary Cahill suddenly directs a header right into the corner of the goal! De Gea is at full-stretch to deny him, but Chelsea have a corner…
90+3 min: Ooooh, that was close. It finds Jonny Evans on the penalty spot, but he can’t connect with a diving header. He protests at being held back. United soon have the ball again, but Carrick opts to drive it and it makes for a fairly comfortable save from Cech. But United attack again…
92 min: Now United thrust clear once more, and Evra earns a corner from a deflection…
90+1 min: So close from Mata! The Spaniard couldn’t have placed it any better, right into the top corner, but De Gea scurries over and manages to parry it away. It’s Chelsea doing all the pressing in the dying minutes…
90 min: David Luiz bursts forwards and falls over in the presence of Paul Scholes. Very, very soft, but Chelsea have a free-kick in a dangerous position…
89 min: Scholes has tried three or four balls over the top in this game and they’ve all been rubbish. This one is no exception. We’ve got four minutes to go.
88 min: Chelsea have a corner, which poses minor problems, but Valencia gets it away. United pile forwards, but can’t quite get a direct enough approach to execute a proper counter-attack. We don’t know how much time we’ve got…
86 min: Bosingwa pumps in a cross for Raul Meireles, but Evra’s presence is enough to put him off, as he sends his header miles over the bar. Meireles was recently voted most attractive Chelsea player by Fernando Torres. I think he might actually be ill.
GOAL! INCREDIBLE! Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United (Javier Hernandez) My internet connection is falling apart and so are Chelsea. David Luiz is caught ball-watching as the ball is flighted out to Giggs, who arcs in a perfect cross to find Hernandez all alone in the six-yard box. You present him with a free header from that range, and it’s a goal every single time. There’s still plenty of time for either side to win this.
80 min: United have Chelsea well and truly pinned down now, but the writhing beast is still putting up a fight, courtesy of a couple of Gary Cahill clearances. This is going to be an unbelievable tense finale.
79 min: Chelsea are in hull-down mode now. Luiz intercepts and plays the ball into the United half, where we see not a single blue shirt. I’d be doubtful as to whether such a strategy is a wise one.
78 min: Ma fingers are aflame. United press and probe with a calmer tone, and then Scholes oddly sends an arcing ball out of play when he was rich in options.
76 min: Torres with a chance! This is breathless stuff now. Torres finds himself alone and with space, but he makes a right Torres of it, tries to turn, take another touch, but swivels right into Jonny Evans. Seconds later, Malouda has a fine effort at goal. A veritable flurry of chances for Chelsea, but now United are on the attack again…
75 min: Essien goes close! I was going to ruminate on how sad it was to see a player of his former majesty plod his way around the pitch in such a workmanlike fashion, but he gets on the end of a knock-down on the edge of the area to let fly with a ferocious drive at goal. De Gea sees it late, but it’s close enough to him that he can make a reaction save to tip it over the bar. The ensuing corner is easily dealt with.
74 min: Rooney marauds through the centre, and is presented with two options – the easy one, to continue the move by passing to Hernandez, and the difficult one, slipping it past three Chelsea players to put Welbeck clean through. He opts for the latter, but the pass it cut out. Chelsea might not be on the ropes, but there’s certainly a glazed look in their eyes and a certain stagger in their gait.
73 min: The corner is poor. Chelsea attempt a counter-attack, but can’t quite make it. They’re not exactly on the ropes, though, the action still very much to-and-fro.
72 min: A corner to Manchester United. This is tense and frantic at the same time.
GOAL! Chelsea 3-2 Manchester United (Rooney) Ivanovic trips Welbeck – again, there’s not a huge amount of contact but by the letter of the law it’s a penalty. Rooney steps up, and it’s another fantastic penalty – the other side of the net, sending Cech the wrong way once again. The next 25 minutes could be of considerable importance.
PENALTY to Manchester United! (Ivanovic on Welbeck)
66 min: United go close! With Scholes added into the mix, United look a different team – a nice passing move ends with Rooney hitting a low but firm drive from the edge of the area. Unfortunately, like Mata before him, his shot lacks direction, and Cech holds, without any trouble save for a nervy regathering of the ball as Welbeck buzzed in.
65 min: The United defence has a total brain-melt and allows Malouda to wander into a criminal amount of space behind them. Fortunately, he’s too slow and indecisive to do anything worthwhile – the ball eventually rebounds out to Mata, who lets fly with a low drive which De Gea holds without too much bother.
Upon closer inspection, the David “Jeez” Luiz goal looks like a Rio Ferdinand own goal.
62 min: Scholes does indeed replace Rafael. I’m really not sure who’s playing where or in what formation now.
61 min: Now Carrick drives through the middle, attempting to slip Rooney in but seeing his pass cut out. Scholes is warming up on the touchline – his introduction could be an important one, given how much better United have looked with him in the team lately. Rafael is the one who will make way, apparently. Hmm.
59 min: Giggs leads a dangerous and astonishingly direct United counter-attack, surging through the middle and attempting to release Hernandez, who can’t quite escape his marker. United think they can still get something here.
57 min: GOAL! Chelsea 3-1 Manchester United (Rooney) Sturridge makes an awkward challenge on Evra, and Howard Webb points to the spot. It’s soft, but a penalty nonetheless – you don’t just barge into people in the area. Rooney steps up, and batters an unsaveable one into the top corner, sending Cech the wrong way for good measure. The next 30 minutes will be either unremarkable or remarkable.
56 min: Penalty to Manchester United!
55 min: United may well feel hard done-by here, as they probably edged Chelsea in the first half, and there was barely enough football played in the second half to make a judgement before Chelsea were 3-0 up. But they simply haven’t defended well for each goal.
52 min: Young, who has done nothing, goes off. Hernandez comes on.
50 min: GOAL! Chelsea 3-0 Manchester United (Luiz) And that, folks, is that. Mata whips in the free-kick from the Evra foul, and Luis meets it with a glancing header which loops off Ferdinand’s shoulder and into the net. Rio looks like he might want to have a little cry just now, and he won’t be the only one. I’d also like to point out that Evra has been at fault for all three goals.
49 min: Evra is getting worse. He really has lost all ability to defend effectively – he attempts to stop a routine Sturridge run with a pitiful tackle, and goes in the book for his trouble.
GOAL! Incredible! Chelsea 2-0 Manchester United (Mata) What a ludicrous start to the second half! Ivanovic, in an abyss of space on the right, hammers a superb cross to the back post, with the onrushing Mata meets with an unstoppable volley from hell. Manchester United are really in trouble now.
And we’re off again!
“They played Salt n Pepa”, begins Daniel Harris, “over the tannoy. Definitely not racist.”
If you’d like to review the penalty shout for yourself, why not pop over and have a sniff at it on 101 Great Goals. The goal is on there as well.
HALF-TIME: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United. Chelsea deal with the corner and go into half-time in the lead. You wouldn’t say they deserved it – they’ve probably been second-best for most of the game, but then ‘deserving’ to win or lose a game is stuff and nonsense anyway, dodgy refereeing aside. Speaking of which, United will feel aggrieved to have had a very good penalty shout turned down. All very much to play for – join us shortly for the second half.
45+2 min: Another free-kick after Mata brings Giggs down. It’s tapped to Rooney, who lets fly, and Cech tips it around the post. A corner to end the half…
45 min: Two minutes of added time will follow. Ivanovic goes in the book for absolutely clattering Young, to which Rooney reacts by hurling the ball at the ground, with cavemanesque élan.
42 min: Manchester United besiege the Chelsea goal, but can’t quite find enough of an opening to create a clear chance. The goal has really woken United up.
40 min: This is better from United. Rooney and Welbeck one-two their way into the area before the latter lets fly, with power but straight at Cech, who’s able to palm it away. The resultant corner comes to nothing.
38 min: Ashley Young attempts to give a speedy United response, cutting in from the left and hammering one at goal. Cech gets a hand to it, but can only spill it across his own goal – fortunately for him, Rooney wasn’t quite correctly positioned to take advantage.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (Jonny Evans OG.) Ivanovic is halted as he makes way down the right, but Sturridge follows – as is a common sight, he leaves Patrice Evra standing impotently, and gets to the byline, right by the post, and flashes the ball into the six-yard box. It bounces off Jonny Evans and before he has time to react, it’s in the back of the net.
Do you get Men’s blouses?
33 min: Evra takes an Ivanovic cross to the face, and goes down doing that odd face-clutching thing that footballers do. Fortunately for him, United win a free-kick elsewhere on the pitch and Chelsea can’t exploit the fact he was being a big girls’ blouse.
30 min: Torres goes in the book for bumping into Jonny Evans as the two of them chased a long ball. Evans went down clutching the small of his back, but there wasn’t much in it.
28 min: Very close for United. Valencia hits an early ball for Wayne Rooney, who completely eludes Luiz. He’s got plenty of space himself, but tries to slot it through to Welbeck in support – it’s not quite hard enough, and Ivanovic manages to cut the pass out and prevent a certain goal.
26 min: After a lively opening, it’s getting very stop-and-start now. Both teams look a wee bit short of ideas.
24 min: ‘Making a Florent Malouda biopic – “The Man Who Wasn’t There”‘, tweets Stephen Sillars. Haw.
23 min: The predictions were that Bosingwa would have trouble containing Valencia and Rafael down the right, but Chelsea are simply crowding United out every time they move down that flank. Even with Welbeck joining in, they can’t do anything – Valencia tries to release him with a clever scooped pass, but he doesn’t read it.
20 min: He’s got a decent record against United, but the portents do not point to glory for Fernando Torres so far. He lets fly from 20 yards here when he should play Malouda in, but gets it badly wrong and sends it well wide.
19 min: Meireles takes it, and it comes to nothing. Afterwards, Torres flies back to halt Valencia’s progress down the right, but he’s judged to have got the man first, much to the consternation of the Chelsea fans and players.
17 min: Young – who’s been strangely dirty – hauls down Torres 30 yards out and Chelsea have a free-kick in a decent position.
15 min: Chelsea try to calm things down with a spell of possession. Manchester United don’t press particularly hard, and eventually, after a couple of minutes going nowhere, Chelsea pass the ball into touch. Seconds later, United are massing outside the Chelsea area – Young lets fly, but it’s deflected and makes an easy catch for Cech.
11 min: “Everyone has been useless so far, scrappy doesn’t even cover it. But let’s focus on De Gea,” states Tom Britten. I think it’s fair enough to have a pop at De Gea for that – it should’ve been a very easy catch but he put his goal under considerable and needless danger.
10 min: Another penalty shout for Manchester United! This one has far more legs, and they belong to Danny Welbeck, swiped away from him by Cahill as he burst into the Chelsea area. It could’ve been a red card too, but Cahill gets away without a foul. Lucky escape for Chelsea.
8 min: Ashley Young tricks his way past Meireles in the Chelsea area, before he falls under pressure from Bosingwa and appeals to Webb. He was being bustled, so perhaps ‘dive’ would be harsh, but it certainly wasn’t a penalty.
6 min: Chelsea have a corner, which is mishit and comes to Malouda, who smashes it. It’s going into the stratosphere, but a slight deflection means another Chelsea corner, which causes far more problems – De Gea makes a very dodgy punch when he should catch, and allows Meireles to shoot, but the Portuguese midfielder only finds the side-netting.
4 min: Without Scholes, United appear to be having trouble playing it out from the back. They’re enjoying the majority of possession, and are buzzing around the Chelsea penalty area, but just can’t get it out of their own half with any conviction.
2 min: It’s not a great angle for a shot, but Rooney has a go regardless, and it drops wide of the near post. Not a great effort.
1 min: Evra goes on a solo run and is tripped outside the Chelsea area. The free-kick is belatedly awarded by Webb. An early opportunity for United…
Right, we’re off! Hold onto your rubbish furry hats.
With thanks to @beardedgenius: Ferguson’s choice of attire for the day. http://thefcf.co.uk/2012/02/05/sir-alex-ferguson-manchester-united-chelsea/12330/
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Bosingwa, Essien, Meireles, Malouda, Sturridge, Torres, Mata. Bench: Turnbull, Romeu, Lukaku, Ferreira, Hutchinson, Bertrand, Piazon.
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Young, Rooney, Welbeck. Bench: Amos, Berbatov, Park, Hernandez, Fabio Da Silva, Scholes, Pogba.
Referee: Howard Webb
Preamble: Chelsea-United is obviously a big game – as you’ll all know, the most famous match between the two being the former’s 3-0 victory to win the title in 2006. That’s according to the official Chelsea website, anyway – it definitely wasn’t the 2008 Champions League Final. There wasn’t even a final that year so shut up. Anyway, today’s matchup has been made even more crucial for both teams, as Manchester City, Newcastle and Arsenal all won.
Chelsea find themselves in a right old state, with Terry and Cole notable absentees – Malouda starts in midfield, and an out-of-position Jose Bosingwa at left-back must contend with the terrifying form of Antonio Valencia. Schadenfreude fans will await another Lennon-Sylvinho, or Lennon-Edman. Chelsea fans will hope their ten-year hoodoo over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge holds firm. Join us to find out whether it does.