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As it happened: Man United vs Chelsea, Premier League

Man United welcomed Chelsea to Old Trafford knowing nothing but a win would see them back into second place in the Premier League table.

  • Manchester United R. Lukaku 39', J. Lingard 75'
    2
  • Chelsea Willian 32'
    1
Image : Nigel French
38,736 Views 54 Comments

Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

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Kick off is at 2.05pm.

So, today’s teams are:

Man United: De Gea, Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young, McTominay, Matic, Pogba, Martial, Lukaku, Sanchez.

Subs: Bailly, Mata, Lingard, Carrick, Rashford, Shaw, Joel Pereira.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Drinkwater, Alonso, Willian, Hazard, Morata.

Subs: Caballero, Fabregas, Pedro, Giroud, Zappacosta, Cahill, Emerson.

So, how do we see this one going? Following Liverpool’s 4-1 win against West Ham yesterday, the Reds inched up into second spot ahead of Manchester United.

Because of their slightly superior goal difference,  should United fail to win today Jurgen Klopp’s side will remain ahead.

United have beaten a direct rival just once this season — a 3-1 win over Arsenal back in December — with their record against the top six poor this campaign.

Chelsea have enjoyed a decent spell of form following dismal back-to-back defeats to Bournemouth and Watford, beating West Brom and Hull City before a dramatic 1-1 draw at home to Barcelona midweek.

They are just three points behind United and with a win today can go level on 56 points.

A promising early move from Chelsea right from tip-off. Eden Hazard leads the charge forward and floats the ball out wide towards Victor Moses.

He takes on Ashley Young, twisting left and right looking for an angle, but his cross comes off the player and out for the game’s first corner.

It’s a poor delivery and the move comes to nothing for the visitors. United happy now to take command of their first spell of possession, stroking the ball in and out of midfield between Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic sitting deep.

CHANCE! Ooooh what an electric start we are having here. Alvaro Morata crashes an almighty effort clanging off David De Gea’s post from just inside the box following a sweet delivery from Marcos Alonso.

United bodies looked dumbfounded and no-one bothered to track Eden Hazard on the rebound — the Belgian nicked the ball up into the air, forcing De Gea to tip it over.

Two shots in quick succession for the visitors and this game has exploded into life.

A free-kick in a promising area from the boot of Alexis Sanchez floats over everybody’s head and comfortably into the arms of Thibaut Courtois. United are yet to surface a shot on goal to test the Belgian number one after 10 minutes.

The game has slowed into a lull the last few minutes. The camera panning to pick up Wayne Rooney smiling in the Old Trafford crowd has been the most eventful occurrence of the last five minutes.

Another lively move forward for Chelsea instigated by Willian on the edge of the box.

Morata has also been lively as a sort of target-man holding the ball up in front of goal, but this time the ball comes to Hazard who curls a harmless cross into the path of De Gea, who gathers with ease.

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte aren’t the best of friends (to put it mildly) but they did stumble through a cold, brief, uncomfortable handshake before kick-off.

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: Nigel French

A foul by Matic earns Chelsea a free-kick 40 yards from goal along the wing. Willian delivers a curling cross, but once again it fails to beat the first man and is headed clear with ease.

This game started with a bang, but it has dropped in quality this past little while. We need a goal. Or at least a bit more urgency.

The ball falls to a looming Romelu Lukaku inside the box — he does well to take possession and arrow a shot on goal with two defenders either side, but it deflects off a Chelsea body and away. A first chance on goal for Jose Mourinho’s side in this game then.

CHANCE! Goodness me, Alexis Sanchez really should have done an awful lot better there. United very much in the ascendency now and with the Chilean bearing down on goal you would have bet your house on him putting it away.

The forward’s balance after dribbling into the box defied him at the very last second and all he could manage was a weak toe-poke right at Courtois, who gathered relieved the effort didn’t have a bit more power behind it.

N’Golo Kante receives the game’s first yellow card as he drags at the back of Paul Pogba as the French international ran towards goal.

Chelsea race into the lead and what a goal it was! Willian is the player that starts the move inside his own half and his lung-busting run was rewarded with a pass from Eden Hazard.

Willian sized up the chance and struck a powerful strike straight through David De Gea. The United goalkeeper should have done an awful lot better there, but take nothing away from the Brazilian winger who did superbly.

It’s all Chelsea now as they come searching for a second straight away. Marcos Alonso has been surging forward all afternoon — he finds himself in possession on the edge of the box and curls a strike just over the bar.

We. Have. Goals! Man United are level and this game has finally found that bit of quality that was lacking.

It’s a brilliant assist from Anthony Martial who slides a clever pass to Romelu Lukaku inside the box — the Belgian doesn’t need an invitation and jinks the ball past Thibaut Courtois to bring his side back into this game.

An excellent finish for a player so often criticised for not performing against the top sides.

The game is finely poised now heading towards the break. Chelsea have looked the more impressive with Hazard visibly up for this game threatening on every counter-attack, but that goal conceded against the run of play will certainly dent the visitor’s confidence.

United only had a single shot on target before Lukaku equalised — but as they say the only statistic that matters in football is the one on the scoreboard at the end of 90 minutes.

There will be two minutes of additional time to come at the end of the first half.

Despite Romelu Lukaku’s late leveller, Jose Mourinho emerged from the break with a dour scowl across his face. His side have sat back in these early exchanges, as Chelsea look to wrestle back the lead after a first half in which they were largely much the better side.

A chance goes begging for Chelsea as Alvaro Morata is sent through free on goal. The pass is a little bit too wide and he must bring possession back towards goal.

By the time he does so, bodies in red jerseys have raced back in time to easily block his shot to safety.

It’s been a cagey six or seven minutes since play resumed. End-to-end, too, as both sides fancy three points may be up for grabs. United are chasing Liverpool in the table, and Chelsea are chasing United.

No matter what the result today the top four will continue to be a bunched trio jostling to overtake one another. Three points will see United re-claim second but a win for Conte’s men will see them level on points with United.

Finely balanced.

Close! Danny Drinkwater finds a pocket of space outside the box and decides to let fly. His shot doesn’t have a huge amount behind it, but it does force De Gea to spill it back into the danger zone.

Morata senses a tap-in, but the Spaniard just can’t quite get to the ball first and it’s booted into touch.

Alexis Sanchez takes possession 30 yards from goal following some neat passing play across the midfield. He sees a pocket of Thibaut Courtois’s goal unguarded and fancies a go at goal — but his effort lacks any vigour and drags sheepishly wide of the post.

WHAT A SAVE! Thibaut Courtois pulls a stop right out of the top drawer.

Romelu Lukaku tried the spectacular with a stunning scissor-kick inside the box, but the Belgian goalkeeper was on-hand to produce a fine piece of athleticism and tip the ball over the bar.

Two of the world’s best goalkeeper’s on display today.

A fine piece of skill from Paul Pogba there. The French midfielder took command of the ball 25 yards from goal before scooping an almost inch-perfect ball over the top into the path of Alexis Sanchez.

There was just too much on it through, and it peters wide.

United have taken the lead! Two goals without reply has Jose Mourinho’s side on course for a massive three points which will see them back into second place.

Romelu Luakaku has his name all over this game and it is he who provides the cross which substitute Jesse Lingard heads home from close range.

An excellent cross and an even better finish from Lingard, who is only on the pitch a little over 10 minutes.

Substitution for Man United: Eric Bailly replaces Alexis Sanchez.

Substitution for Chelsea: Cesc Fabregas replaces Danny Drinkwater.

Five minutes to go as Chelsea continue to haul forward in search of an equaliser. Matic goes in the referees book for a yellow card, as Mourinho’s men put their backs up against the wall and try to see this one out by any means possible.

It’s still tense but United don’t look too panicked as the seconds tick away.

Antonio Conte has introduced Pedro and Olivier Giroud but they have had little real impact. Cesc Fabregas has a killer pass in his armoury but there is no flow about Chelsea right now and the fight looks out of them.

Will there be late drama?

There will be four minutes of additional time to come at the end of the second half.

An outstanding individual run from Romelu Lukaku sees him chest the ball down inside his own half as United were under pressure and then power through the entire Chelsea defence on his own.

Incredible tenacity to get his side out of danger there.

Premier League
Manchester United 291 Fans
2 - 1
Full Time
Chelsea 157 Fans
Sunday, 25 February, 14:05
Goals
R. Lukaku 39'
J. Lingard 75'
Willian 32'
Yellow Cards
A. Valencia 68'
N. Matić 85'
N. Kanté 30'
Álvaro Morata 88'
Red Cards

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