Manchester United secured a convincing 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as the Red Devils got back to winning ways. The electric result was engineered by two resounding headers – the first from Anthony Martial in the dying minutes of the first-half and the second from the captain Harry Maguire. At the point of scoring those goals, United had only those shots on target to their name.
Chelsea did get close to equalizing on two painstaking occasions when the ball did end up in the back of the net, but VAR ruled them both out – the first due to a foul in the build-up and then again with Olivier Giroud’s sensational header, due to being in an offside position.
1. Numbers Game
The win set into precedent an incredible run of feats for the Red Devils, the biggest being that this is the first time that they’ve done the League double over Chelsea in the Premier League era, the last one coming in the 1987/88 season, over thirty years ago. This was also United’s first win at Stamford Bridge in the League since October of 2012.
Further still, Frank Lampard London Blues have been thumped thrice this campaign by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, with the Norwegian gaffer himself remaining undefeated against Chelsea at United. The goals of the game also put an end to a three-game long drought that the Old Trafford outfit were facing.
2. Bruno Fernandes-Fred Link Up
Fred was an absolute work-horse throughout the game and his game stats are there to prove it.
Paired with Bruno Fernandes the dynamics were even more impeccable. In fact, the return of Nemanja Matic may have a role to play here, as the Brazilian was given more freedom and was immensely impactful. In fact, the first half saw a picturesque moment when the two midfielders linked up in a manner that almost ended in a goal.
As such, fans got to see the full impact of Fernandes and needless to say, this is a partnership to keep an eye on for the near future. Along the same lines, Odion Ighalo was also handed his United debut and the striker nearly made the most of his few minutes on the pitch and could have scored during a 1v1 with the keeper.
3. Tony Martial Scores…At Last
It was fitting that Anthony Martial was the one to break both the game’s deadlock and United’s dry spell, given how critical fans have been of his performances, as of late. Particularly after Marcus Rashford’s injury, the onus was on the Frenchman to take up the mantle of scoring goals and that hadn’t been the case on a regular basis.
The smooth header shows that clinical ability is still within the skillset of the former Monaco man and fans will now be desperately hoping that his regular scoring days are back.
4. Maguire’s Premier League Debut Goal
Harry Maguire finally got his debut Premier League goal for Manchester United and the captain couldn’t have achieved it in a better fashion. The corner kick was taken brilliantly by Bruno Fernandes, notching up his first United assist on the way as Maguire stayed true to his ‘Slabhead’ nickname.
His celebration with the away fans following the goal also highlights his passion for the club and there is a chance that United will be a renewed threat from set-pieces once again, given how effective Fernandes’ corners were and then again how his free-kick attempt hit the woodwork.
5. Chelsea Plagued By Injuries
It was certainly a frustrating night for Chelsea who had to sub-off N’Golo Kante within the opening 12 minutes itself. The French midfielder is immensely impactful for the Blues and now fans will be hoping that the injury is just a slight niggle and not one that is a cause of great worry.
On the cusp of half-time, it was Andreas Christensen’s injury concern that forced the second substitution of the game. This greatly limited Lampard’s option in the dying minutes of the game and further injury concerns also plagued them. Interestingly, a change that was necessitated by injury was the starting spot given to Wilfredo Caballero while Kepa Arrizabalaga was restricted to the bench.
With the rest of the top-eight teams slowly coming nearer and nearer in points, the warning bells are certainly ringing for Chelsea and can potentially be furthered by the full impact of the ongoing Manchester City ban discussions.