Yesterday, Chelsea continued in their stride towards being crowned Champions of England with a controlled 1-0 victory over an in-form Manchester United side. The win takes us to a 14 game unbeaten run in all competitions and our 4th win on the spin.
Saturday also saw the return of two time, Chelsea player of the year, Juan Mata. It’s safe to say he handled his return to Stamford Bridge with alot more dignity and respect than David Luiz did. Mata embraced every Chelsea player at the end of the game and received a fantastic reception from the home support when he was subbed off.
Mourinho was without both 1st and 2nd choice strikers, Diego Costa and Loic Remy; meaning Didier Drogba started up top. There were two changes from the side who beat QPR last week, with Ramires being replaced by Zouma and Oscar starting ahead of Willian.
During the opening stages of the game Manchester United looked like a side who wanted it more and had control of the game. The first real chance of the game fell to Rooney after an excellent pull back from Luke Shaw, but he curled his shot wide rustling the back of the net with some sections of the ground celebrating, thinking they had scored. It was from this chance I feel Chelsea got into gear and began to execute the game plan given by Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea continued to sit back and wait for the perfect opportunity to attack. This happened in the 38th minute when a slightly under-weight pass into Falcao was pounced onto by John Terry. Terry then found Oscar who done extremely well to hold off a defender long enough to give Hazard time to make a run in behind him. Oscar then played a great back heel for Hazard to push into space and calmly finish placing the ball between De Gea’s legs. It was a perfect time to get the goal, with only about 10 minutes left to play in the half, Mourinho and his men knew they would have time to regroup, rest and focus on the next 45.
After the break Chelsea nearly scored again from a quick break away, Drogba going through on goal having his shot deflected over De Gea, it was going just wide, and Hazard tried his best to divert the bouncing ball into the back of the net, but could only hit the post.
The entire second half was Manchester United trying to break Chelsea down, with Chelsea occasionally finding an opportunity to break away and attack. United’s only chances were when their centre back found some space about 25 yards out and making Courtois make a routine, but good save. Their other chance came from Falcao pulling away from Zouma and having a shot at goal which hit the outside of the post.
Although Manchester United had around 70% of the ball, they only managed to have two shots on target. This just underpins Mourinho’s post match comments about controlling the game in the manner that we did. Allow them to have the ball, stop certain players doing certain movements and wait for mistakes.
The win puts Chelsea just two wins away from the title. So, a win at both Arsenal and Leicester and we will be crowned Champions. I don’t know what l’d prefer more; winning the title at Leicester and have Liverpool give us a guard of honour or actually win it against Liverpool. Either way I think it’s a case of when we win the title and not if.
Contribution by Stuart Machin