John Terry’s header saw us go five points clear at the top of the league, as Ancelotti maintained his 100% home record for us, ensuring our eleventh straight home win in all competitions.
Prior to Kick Off there was a heartfelt tribute to those who have served for our country, with the players of both sides forming a guard of honour for our army personnel, from current all the way back to our Chelsea Pensioners. After a minute of silence in Remembrance, The Matthew Harding stand lead an extremely vociferous rendition of Rule Brittania.
The match started quite averagely, Ivanovic had the first shot but it was never likely to beat Van Der Sar. The next chance fell to Rooney, who cut in from the West stand, rifled a shot into the side netting, but Atkinson, who from his position couldn’t have even seen if it touched Carvalho wrongly gave a corner.
Valencia went down in the box when John Terry admittedly did grab his shirt somewhat, although Valencia did look to make the most of it, it was ‘one of those’ where if outside the box it’d probably have been given.
The linesman set the tone for his incompetence early on, Ashley Cole stepped up late from the offside trap to play Rooney onside, but the lino put his flag up. It was about the only time that the little chav didn’t turn to remonstrate with ref or lino with that little scrunched up look of sheer disgust he does.
Edwin Van Der Sar was timewasting from the first opportunity, an overhit and unthreatening Lampard free kick resulted in a delay from the Dutchman where he stood half way between his six and eighteen yard box for some time, before picking up the ball and taking it to the other side. This lackadaisical stroll became the norm for him all match (even when we scored his protest seemed to muster up a quick jog turned power walk towards the ref – before getting nowhere near the ref and giving up).
As the half wore on there wasn’t much of note to report, Drogba had two chances, heading the first wide, and just before half time blasting a shot from an acute angle when Lampard had a bit of space. Anelka’s long ranger was comfortably saved by Van Der Sar, and his shot minutes later was again saved by Van Der Sar. Lampard saw his effort from a free kick go straight into the wall. Deco was misfiring passes and crosses and we weren’t attacking with pace down the wings.
Carrick in particular enjoyed too much time on the ball outside the goal and we were slow in closing down. Someone like Scholes may have punished us from range, but out of Carrick’s three first half long rangers, the only one that went on target had little power, even Massimo Taibi would feel he could have saved it.
The second half started with some half chances for Drogba, and Fletcher’s first effort of the match found it’s way into the Shed Upper, his shot later on from outside the box was blocked by Carvalho.
Just after the hour mark Deco was replaced by Joey Cole, a change much needed to help change the game, Deco has been in good form lately, but it just wasn’t his day.
Rooney had a good effort from just inside the box which whistled past the post. Soon after Rooney got some space from Carvalho and saw a thunderous curling shot saved by Cech.
Neither the ref nor lino spotted a Johnny Evans Ninja Kick on Drogba. Evans got the ball, it wasn’t a foul and Evan’s didn’t deserve a booking, it was complete accident that wouldn’t have even be worthy of stopping play had Drogba not had a near seizure on the floor, incredibly though after a few minutes in genuine agony, Drogba received a caution. Van Der Sar ironically (yet correctly) was unhappy that Drogba wouldn’t walk off behind the goal, and instead chose to walk over to the touchline.
Fletcher then positioned himself right where Cole was running to obstruct him, resulting in Cole having to slow down to avoid being clattered. Fletcher did get the ball but only due to the obstruction. Fergie does seem to forget that earlier in the half Ivanovic had won the ball with a tackle on Giggs right in front of the dugout, but we conceded the free kick AND the Serbian received a booking.
The resulting free kick was fizzed in by Lampard and although there was contact from Drogba on Brown it didn’t look anywhere near enough to go down, without a shadow of doubt it is the kind of thing Drogba would have been crucified for falling under had it been roles reversed. Terry flicked the header and Anelka got a touch too, the lino should have spotted that when The England Captain and Anelka both helped steer the ball goalbound it made Drogba was then in an offside position, and his attempt at kicking the ball was clearly interfering with play. Both Jt and Nico ran off in separate directions to celebrate the goal, which has since been credited to John Terry.
Riccy then gave away a foul, and the got clattered by Evans, bizarrely Riccy as well as Evan’s got booked.
With just under ten minutes remaining Kalou replaced Drogba, who looked to be still be suffering. Owen and Oberton came on a couple of minutes later for Giggs and Anderson. Alex replaced Anelka during the five minutes of stoppage time before the game was drawn to a close.
It was a game where United felt they deserved to win, their two shots on target were a whimsical Carrick effort from outside the box and a thunderous Rooney effort that wasn’t top corner and Cech is expected to save. United failed to break down our defence and how they can feel hard done by is beyond me. I’m not saying we were the better team or anything but it was very even, they closed us well, worked hard for each other, but we had five shots on target, no real classics but we made one of them count, which as we know is all that matters.
Ferguson is still as bitter as ever, sparing the Burnley game he has criticized the ref on all three occasions they have failed to win.
The coverage John Terry used to get for talking to refs in the same manner Rooney, Gerrard et al was always disproportionate, and him try and snatch Mike Dean’s red card at Old Trafford two years ago can’t be forgiven. Yet Terry has grown up since then and doesn’t get involved in needless and petty disputes with refs. Ryan Giggs however – seven years Terry’s senior, was an embarrassment yesterday, every decision was met with him having a word with the ref. You’d think after the amount of time he’s been in the game (he is after all United’s highest appearance maker) that he’d set an example. Also, when did Darren f***ing Fletcher decide that people would take his opinions seriously? The little gobsh*te should have been booked for constant dissent if not for a challenge.
I was proud of the conduct of every one of our players yesterday, there was not one incident where we went whining to the ref, not even the joke bookings Drogba or Ivanovic received. From our managers comments after the match, it seems that it isn’t the sort of thing he will stand for either.
‘The United players protested a lot,’ observed Ancelotti, ‘I don’t know why. I don’t like this, but at the end of the match that was very difficult, where all the players have worked very hard it can sometimes happen.’
So Chelsea remain with the 100% record in tact, home games against Spurs, United and Liverpool cost us dearly last season, but there have been no repeat this season.