Manchester United vs Chelsea Match Analysis


Manchester United picked up arguably their biggest win of their 2018 Premier League slate when they came from a goal down to down Chelsea at Old Trafford, by a final scoreline of 2-1.

United came out in what was called a 4-3-3, but looked more like a 4-4-2 when United had the ball. Victor Lindelof got the surprising start at CB despite Bailly being available for selection.  He was joined by Chris Smalling in the middle.

Pogba, Matic and McTominay manned the middle of the park, while Alexis, Martial and Lukaku played up front.

For much of the first half, Martial was joined up front by Martial in forward roles.

Unsurprisingly, Chelsea came out with an attacking mindedness and Jose Mourinho's men had to withstand an early barrage to David de Gea's goal.

Early on de Gea was up to the challenge.  After being saved by the cross bar, the ball fell to Morata in the center of de Gea's 6-yard box, and the Chelsea man fired at goal.  de Gea dealt with the attempt, tipping it over the bar.

Chelsea dominated possession, 58%-42% in the first half, and attempted 7 shots to United's 3.

In the 32nd minute, United would concede.

After a promising attack was thwarted when Paul Pogba found himself on the ground after challenging for a header, Chelsea launched a counter attack.   Eden Hazard held up the ball at midfield, and then sprung Willian with a through ball and Willian started his run at goal.  Scott McTominay, who otherwise had a strong match, appeared to lose track of Willian, and acres of space opened for the Chelsea attack.  Valencia withdrew to the center of the box keeping the play onside, and Willian beat de Gea near post and Chelsea had the advantage.

There was a discernible, here we ho again feel among the Man United supporters as Chelsea celebrated its lead.

Despite being badly outplayed in the first half, United had the answer just 7 minutes later.

Lukaku, who turned in a MOTM performance, won a header just outside the box and dropped it off to Alexis.  The Chilean winger calmly slotted to Martial who did well to hold up play in the box.  He setup Lukaku who maneuvered through a wave of Chelsea defenders with his strength and quick dribbles, and fired home past Courtois.

All in all, United had to feel pretty good about itself headed to the locker room even at 1, despite Chelsea taking the play to United for much of the first half.

The second half was  a much different story.

Despite possessing the ball just 46% of the time, United was dangerous in attacking and finally broke through in the 75th minute.

Jesse Lingard, who subbed on for what appeared to be a tiring Martial, headed home the go-ahead goal off beautiful buildup play.

Scott McTominay played a beautifully weighted over the top ball to the right wing for Lukaku who held up play.  After creating space with the dribble, he drifted to the top right corner of the attacking box, and curled in a left-footed cross.  Lingard timed his run perfectly and played the glancing header into the corner of Courtois' goal, and United was in position to win after trailing 0-1.

Moments later, Mourinho made a tactical defensive sub taking off Sanchez for Eric Bertrand Bailly in the 81st minute to help close out the match.

United suffered a scare  in the 87th minute when Chelsea appeared to equalize.  A through ball in the box had Morata open, but it appeared he was a fraction offside and it was spotted by the linesman.

United rode out the game with a decent spell of possession, and some key blocks and in the end, it was all three points for the home side.

With the win, United vaults Liverpool and regains 2nd place in the league table, 2 points ahead of LFC.

Next, United travels to Crystal Palace on Monday, March 3 where they will hope for another three points!

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