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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 20 October, 2018


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Hello and welcome to The42‘s live minute-by-minute coverage of the second part of what has already been a hugely entertaining Super Sunday.

We’re just minutes away from kick-off in Stamford Bridge where Chelsea host a familiar face in Jose Mourinho and familiar foe in Manchester United.

We’ll get straight to the team news.

TEAM NEWS: And the big news for Chelsea is that N’Golo Kante is fit to start. No David Luiz or Antonio Rudiger though for the hosts; Andreas Christensen and Davide Zappacosta start in their place.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Bakayoko, Kante, Fabregas, Hazard, Morata.

TEAM NEWS: Six changes to the United team that beat Benfica in midweek, but that’s no massive surprise.

Man United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Jones, Young, Matic, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku.

Here’s a quick reminder of how the top six looks after Manchester City’s comprehensive 3-1 win over Arsenal earlier today.

Pep’s men are eight clear at the top as things stand, and United can hardly afford to do their neighbours any favours.

A Chelsea win today would see them move just a point behind United and Spurs; lose though, and they’re 12 points off the top already.



3 mins – Both sides just feeling each other out in the opening few minutes. Ashley Young wins a corner, which is taken short, but the cross barely tests Courtois.


4 mins – The Sky cameras have just given the first shot of David Luiz sitting up in the stands, bundled up from the cold. Not injured, insists Antonio Conte; a purely tactical decision following the defeat to Roma in midweek.


6 mins – Phil Jones, you lucky lad. He’s volleyed a peach of an own goal past David de Gea from about eight yards out but it won’t stand – Morata ruled to have nudged him in the back as they both went for the cross.

It wouldn’t have made the all-time top 20 anyway, Phil, don’t worry.


8 mins — CHANCE! Marcus Rashford has passed up a glorious opportunity to head United into the league. He drifts unmarked towards the back post to meet Ashley Young’s cross, but closes his eyes as he heads it and nods it harmlessly over the crossbar. Very disappointing.


11 mins – Really positive start from United who certainly haven’t come to park the bus. They’re pressing Chelsea from the front and have certainly imposed themselves on this first 10 minutes.


12 mins — SITTER! Bakayoko has a glorious chance to give Chelsea the lead and instead of keeping his head down and striking through the ball, he does the one thing every U8s coach teaches their youngsters not to do?

He leans back.

Big let-off for United.


13 mins – Bakayoko again! This time he flashes his shot just wide. Plenty of incident in these opening exchanges, that’s for sure.


15 mins – Great effort from Lukaku. He rolls Christensen and cracks a shot from the edge of the box. It’s low but Courtois is well-placed to get down and parry it away.


18 mins – Hazard cuts in from the right and stings de Gea’s palms with a rasper which the Spanish keeper does well to parry. It wouldn’t have counted anyway – Morata was standing in an offside position and in de Gea’s line of sight.


20 mins – Bakayoko follows through in the tackle, catches Phil Jones late, and goes into the book for his trouble. First yellow card of the afternoon.


24 mins – Fabregas dinks a cross in towards Morata which he’s just a whisker away from making contact with. Bailly got a crucial, clever nudge in at just the right time. Risky business though.


30 mins – Great battling by Young who persists against Zappacosta and wins the corner. Unfortunately, for United, it comes to nothing.


34 mins – A promising Chelsea break comes to nothing as Zappacosta wastefully squibs his pull back to nobody in particular. Still, the hosts have grown into it after United’s stronger start.


37 mins – Zappacosta is taking every opportunity to push on and join the Chelsea attack, but so far, his end product has been a little hit and miss. This time he comes back in and shoots with his left, but it’s tame enough and easy for de Gea.


38 mins – Chelsea injecting plenty of pace to their attacks. Just one Fabregas pass away from cutting United open but the visitors are wise to the danger.


40 mins — GREAT CHANCE! Christensen is unmarked with a free header but can’t keep it down. If he hits the target from there, it would have taken a special stop from de Gea to deny him. Let-off for United.


As 0-0s go, that was quite an entertaining first half. Good chances for both sides.

I’m off to make a cup of tea and rewatch the clip of that Phil Jones’ OG. Was that really a foul by Morata?


SECOND HALF: We’re back underway.


48 mins – Half-chance for Morata who swivels and shoots from the edge of the box. It’s a yard or two off the mark though.


50 mins – Great combination of strength and control by Hazard who holds off the attention for Matic and draws the free. Fabregas clips the free in, but it’s cleared easily.


51 mins – Hazard is chopped down again, this time by Herrera. The United players seem to be on a mission to disrupt – by any means necessary.


There’s been a goal in the game at Everton… and it’s not for Everton. Richarlison has put Watford 1-0 up.

Oh dear.

Flag 54Mins

GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (Morata, 54′)

This has been coming! A minute ago, Hazard very nearly opened the scoring with a crisp volley that de Gea saved.

Now it’s some poor marking that proves to be United’s undoing. Azpilicueta crosses, United’s marking is all over the shop, Morata gets up and steers a magnificent header past de Gea.

Quality finish.


Substitutions: Hardly a shock as Mkhitaryan — who’s barely been at the races — goes off as does Jones; Martial and Fellaini on in their place.


64 mins – Fellaini’s had an instant impact, and not in the way he would have hoped. A loose touch on the edge of his own box gifts Morata a chance, and only for a timely intervention by Smalling, that could have been embarrassing.


Substitution: Conte responds with a change of his own – Rudiger on to replace Zappacosta.


71 mins – Fellaini sticks the point of his elbow into Morata’s face as they tussle for the ball — with no real venom, mind — but it’s a clear yellow card.


75 mins — FELLAINI’S HAVING A SHOCKER! He’s only on a few minutes and he’s made more than one bad mistake. This time, he dawdles as he tries to bring his back four into play and loses possession very cheaply. Bakayoko pounces but his shot is right and wide.


Ten minutes to play. Chelsea have been the better side but United haven’t gone away you know…


81 mins – Herrera clips Hazard again and, considering he’s already on a yellow card, he’d be well advised to give that sort of messing a rest.


I’m not telling you to switch off Sky and switch on RTÉ2, but if you’re that way inclined, the FAI Cup final between Cork City and Dundalk has just gone to penalties.


86 mins — OOOOOH! The ball breaks to Rashford on the edge of the box and he fires it goalwards – but it’s just wide. It might have taken a nick off Martial going through, too.


88 mins – Courtois has to come through traffic and Lukaku to claim the ball as Rashford’s header drops on the edge of the six-yard box. He does, although it’s only at the second attempt he gets it cleanly.


89 mins — SAVE! Courtois might just have guaranteed all three points for Chelsea! For all of his mistakes, Fellaini does brilliantly here, taking the ball on his chest, turning and volleying. Smart save though.


90 mins – Four added minutes to be played… United are knocking.


90+2 mins – Valencia is hobbling but still clips the cross into the box. Chelsea clear. Two minutes left…


90+3 mins – Chelsea break… Morata… oh dear. He gets his legs all in a muddle and United breathe. He really should have put the game to bed there!


90+4 mins – United have one last free. 25 yards out. Rashford…


Clips the top of the wall and goes over. Corner.


All over! Chelsea close the gap on United – they’re only a point behind them now and the battle for second/third/fourth is as tight as they come.

City stay eight clear at the top of the table. Not a bad Sunday for them.

It doesn’t look like Conte and Mourinho shook hands at the end there. Prepare for 48 hours of forensic analysis.

That’s all from us for this evening. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

About the author:

Niall Kelly


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