So our eleven-game unbeaten run comes to an end and I have to spend the rest of the day listening to ManUre “fans” going on and on about how they are going to win the quadruple (which has ridiculously low odds of 66–1).
I thought that the game was excellent in the first half, with both teams really going for it. On a different day we would have scored a couple, but we just could not take our chances. In the second half both teams looked like they did not want to lose the game as it became more and more obvious that it was next goal wins.
We sat back a little and took an age getting forward and never in numbers. We still had our chances to score, but again, it just was not our night. The goal came from a mistake by Zola who got caught on the ball and Forlan hit it through Carlo’s legs. This proved that the gods were against us as how many times does Zola get caught in possession and Carlo let in a goal through his legs?
With only ten minutes to go, I thought that it was all over, but Eidur was given a lovely pass and was through on the ’keeper only to be ruled offside. On second viewing he was onside, and as West Ham know, you get nothing at Old Trafford. Overall, we played well with a lot of steel and could have won it. Roll on 18th January.
JFH — A pretty rotten game. First touch was appalling and seemed to lack the predatory instincts of last season. Got into a couple of scoring positions but never looked like getting a goal — 5.
Zola — Great run to beat Wes Brown. A 36-year-old out pacing a 20-year-old England defender. Also had some other good chances to score — 7.
Gudjohnsen — Again did not get much time to prove himself, but got in a good position for the goal that was not offside.
Lampard — Not one of his better games. Some nice touches but quite a few passes went astray — 6.
Morris — Started well but faded towards the end — 6.
Zenden — Looked good and should start on Saturday in my opinion. Had a wicked shot that was well saved by Barthez — 7.
Stanic — Fairly anonymous. Cannot remember him doing too much that was positive or negative — 6.
de Lucas — After impressing me in his first few games for Chelsea, he seems to have gone back a couple of steps.
Terry, Melchiot, Gallas, Le Saux — All played very well as a unit and pretty much nullified all of Man U’s attacking play. Some good movement forward in the first half. Is there a better back-four unit in the country? I think not. All get a 7.
Chelsea line up: Cudicini — Melchiot, Gallas, Terry, Le Saux — de Lucas (Zenden, 66), Lampard, Morris, Stanic — Hasselbaink (Gudjohnsen, 78), Zola
Subs not used: de Goey, Ferrer, Desailly