Best match of the Premier League season so far? Probably. Manchester United, lead by a prolific Robin van Persie, enojyed a quick lead and a frantic finish that saw Chelsea left win nine men and their comeback attempts thrashed by a goal from an offside position, giving the Red Devils a 3-2 win.
Roberto Di Matteo said before the match that he was ready for the Manchester United shift back to 4-4-2, but it certainly didn’t look that way early on. A quick counter attack saw a Van Persie shot hit the post and bounce off David Luiz’ leg to give United a stunning 1-0 lead. Before Chelsea actually regrouped and understood what was happening, another quick counter attack on the right flank (where Ashely Cole was failing miserably) saw Van Persie score again. A 2-0 lead after 12 minutes.
From there United stopped playing, despite having a weak defense to lean on and a lineup that isn’t exactly suited for defending a lead; more for scoring more goals. But it was time for a bit of David de Gea magic. A goalkeeper that refuses to do anything conentional in his saves or his play, refusing to handle any cross that comes his way but on the other hand providing some remarkable saves from a Torres header and a David Luiz free kick.
Still, the Chelsea pressure was too much. First it was a foolish Rooney foul that allowed Juan Mata to score a brilliant free kick and throw Chelsea back into the match. David de Gea shared the blame on that one. United were forced to defend corner after corner during those moments, and were lucky to hear the halftime whistle give them a sort of a break from the pressure.
It didn’t change in the second half. Chelsea’s front foursome were very involved in the match and in the ball movement, unlike the early moments of the match, and United simply couldn’t keep up with the pace or find a way to create an attack of their own. But Ramires scoring the equalizer in the 53rd minute meant it was the end of Chelsea’s momentum.
United crawled back into the match through counter attacking. Branislav Ivanovic half bumbed into half tripped Ashley Young on his way to the goal on the 63rd minute. Six minutes later, and Chelsea were left with only nine men – Fernando Torres was booked for diving, although the replay showed that he was actually fouled by Jonny Evans. United got their winner six minutes later through Javier Hernandez, although there was an offside on that goal.
Manchester City remain as the only undefeated team in the Premier League, and Chelsea’s lead over the two United sides drops to only one point, although they had a lot to be disappointed and angry about regarding the outcome and the treatment from the referee on the big decisions.