Juan Mata’s deflected goal in the 87th minute gave Chelsea a vital three points in the race for Champions League football next season. The 1-0 win at Old Trafford means Chelsea have now beaten Man United more than they have lost to them, and ended United’s run of scoring in 66 consecutive home matches.
Chances were few and far between for the majority of the match – Oscar’s effort hitting the post after 14 minutes was the highlight in an encounter that had that end of season feel about it. Mata, Oscar, Moses and Ba all found themselves with plenty of time on the ball but couldn’t make the possession count.
But the game burst into life when Ramires dispossessed Rooney on the edge of the Chelsea box. The Blues countered in numbers and it seemed as though we had played one too many passes again. But Ramires stopped it for Oscar who played it to Mata on the left of the edge of the box. The Spaniard drove the ball low, but a deflection off Phil Jones steered it into the bottom corner.
Manchester United’s miseries were compounded as Rafael saw red for a wild kick on David Luiz in the 89th minute. The defender (who was immense all game) was spotted smiling on the floor after the foul was given.
The victory puts Chelsea in a fantastic position to qualify for the Champions League. With a superior goal difference, The Blues have a three point lead over Wednesday’s opponents Spurs and a one point advantage and a game in hand over Arsenal.
Interim boss, Rafa Benitez said Chelsea deserved the victory: “They didn’t have the tempo but I think we were in control, they had some chances, we had some chances.”
“I think we deserved to win”
Man of the match, Juan Mata said: “(It was a) very, very important victory for us. It was like a final. Everything I want is to keep scoring and keep assisting.”
“We have three more games to play in the Premier League and we want to win as many as we can. If we play together like we did today, we can do it”
Petr Cech didn’t have his busiest afternoon at Old Trafford. After the game he stressed how important the victory was: “It was a massive moment. We knew we would have to win. We have a massive game against Tottenham. If we win the game, we can leave them behind.”