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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 22 June, 2018


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CHELSEA CAN TAKE one step closer to the Premier League title today on their trip to Manchester United.

Antonio Conte’s side hold a four-point lead over second-placed Tottenham with a game in-hand. United, currently sixth, would close the gap on the top four to four points if they were to claim an unlikely victory.

The game also sees Jose Mourinho face the club he won three league trophies with during two spells.

Team news — The home side make four changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Anderlecht in the Europa League on Thursday. David de Gea, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Ashley Young come in for Sergio Romero, Michael Carrick, Henrick Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Swedish striker Ibrahimovic is named on the bench, with Mourinho admitting he’s “very tired”.

Chelsea’s one switch sees injured goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois replaced by Asmir Begovic.

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Darmian; Fellaini, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Young, Rashford.


Chelsea: Begovic; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Hazard, Costa.

Make that two changes for Chelsea. Marcos Alonso has just pulled up in the warm-up and Kurt Zouma will now play instead of the Spaniard.

Middlesbrough v Chelsea - Premier League - Riverside Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport


Ander Herrera has been given a man-marking job on Chelsea danger man Eden Hazard. The midfielder is sticking close to the Belgian during these opening minutes.


Luiz loses possession and Rashford is through on goal. The young striker scuffs his lines, however, and shoots well wide.

Flag 8Mins

GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Chelsea (Marcus Rashford) 

United take an early lead! Herrera appears to handle the ball in midfield before playing a terrific through pass to Rashford, who makes no mistake this time with a calm finish past Begovic.


Bailly is down after a shove by Costa. Rojo isn’t happy with the Chelsea striker and there’s a bit of handbags between the pair.


Young, who is captaining United today, fires a shot wide of Chelsea’s goal. The home side will be delighted with their start to the game.


United win a free-kick 30 yards out and Rashford clips a ball into the penalty area, but it’s cleared away.


Fellaini fouls Luiz but he avoids a booking. It was a clumsy challenge.


Rashford, who has been brilliant so far, links up with Pogba to create a chance for Young, but his strike from outside the box is off target.


The running battle between Costa and Rojo continues. They’ll both be lucky to avoid cards if they keep it up.


Costa drills a shot wide from distance. Down the other end, Young blasts over.

Flag 47Mins

SECOND HALF – We’re back at it. No substitutions for either side at the break, but Conte has just instructed Willian to warm up.

Flag 49Mins

GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea (Ander Herrera) 

They’ve got a second! A cross is cut out by Luiz, but Young then robs Kante. He finds Herrera and the Spaniard’s shot takes a deflection off Zouma to beat Begovic.


Substitution – Chelsea have taken off Moses for Fabregas and switched to a back four.


Another change – Mourinho reacts to that Chelsea substitution by bringing on Michael Carrick for Lingard.


Fellaini wins possession and new man Carrick plays in Rashford. He blasts a shot at goal but it crashes off the side-netting.


A bit of pressure from Chelsea ends in Pedro coming inside to shoot over. It came off a Man United player and the away side have a corner. The ball is sent into the box but eventually gets cleared after a scramble.

Chelsea have just brought on Willian for Matic as well.


What a run! Rashford takes on the Chelsea defence and manages to keep possession when it looks like Luiz has cut him out. The striker holds off his marker and sends a shot towards the bottom corner. Begovic saves.


Yellow card – Herrera goes into the book for a clip on Hazard.


Another booking… and it goes to Rojo for a foul on Costa. Inevitable.


We’re into the final 10 minutes and United still hold a two-goal cushion. Victory here would be huge for them.


Rashford gets a great reception as the board goes up to signal his substitution for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It’s hard to believe he’s still only 19.


Booking – Fabregas catches Carrick late and picks up a yellow card.


Four minutes of additional time to be played…


Final substitution – Young comes off for Timothy Fosu-Mensah.


Super win for United, who deserved the three points. It’s the first time that they’ve beaten Chelsea since Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

The Blues’ lead at the top is four points after the defeat. Title race back on?

About the author:

Ben Blake


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