Chelsea brushed aside a Manchester team that looked anything but United. A vintage Jose Mourinho inspired victory piled on the misery for David Moyes. More alarming than the result was the ill discipline shown by the Reds in the latter stages of the game.
The end of the match couldn’t come quick enough for the Manchester United manager. Already down to 10 men due to Vidic being dismissed on 90 minutes after a scissor sister tackle on Hazard, Rafael, only a matter of seconds later, lunged two footed at Cahill. It was the type of tackle that had he connected with the Chelsea defender a mass brawl would surely have ensued. Phil Dowd wrongly brandished only a Yellow card at the Brazilian, and simultaneously blew the final whistle before things could get further out of hand.
The Man of the Match award goes to Mourinho , yet again. I will be first to admit that when I saw Samuel Eto’o’s name on the team sheet ahead of Torres, I questioned that rationale. The Cameroonian’s hatrick performance shows you why Jose is The Chosen One. Also electing to use Ivanovich , returning from injury, in such a big game was another calculated risk. Ashley Cole being left out of side also raising a few eyebrows.
Juan Mata stood more chance of playing for the away side than being called upon from the subs bench. Mourinho made him wear red lipstick and fishnet stockings in case Moyes was doing any window shopping ahead of the January sales. United could certainly use him right now. If I was them I would cut my losses on Rooney, taking Mata, Ashley Cole and a kilo of Beluga back up North.
There was no surprise in today’s result as the bookies made the right call. It should also be noted than Man.Utd started very strongly with the Blues not able to get out of their own half for the first 10 minutes. United looked like the home team. Although once the storm had been weathered without conceding a goal, it felt like it would be Chelsea’s day. Sure enough in what seemed like Chelsea’s first attack Eto’o with the aid of Carrick’s boot laces scored his first of three on 17 minutes. From that point on the home side took control of the game. Eto’o scoring his second in first half injury time, with a classic poacher effort, pretty much put paid to this transitional United team.
Eto’s third soon after the break after a goalline scrap from a corner must have had Manchester hearts fluttering in preparation for a rout. In fairness United kept going and Chelsea took the kettle off the boil. It felt like a mis-matched FA cup tie half way through the second half and the crowd began to lose a little interest. Hernandez coming on for Ashley Young, livened up the proceedings , he looked sharp and got his reward on 78 minutes.
This woke the Blues from their slumber, Mourinho had sealed the middle of the park up with appearances from Mikel and the re-debutant Matic. He also let Torres run around for 10 minutes. It never really felt like they would give up another goal and Chelsea eased across the finish line.
Another noteworthy performance from Willian as he continues to ready himself for Super Frank’s number 8 shirt next season.
Also David Luis played 3 games in succession in midfield, obviously under instruction from Jose to “rough ’em up a bit” and also if he found himself anywhere near the ball in his own third was to ” put the ball out the ground”, he didn’t disappoint. He had the look in his eye of an extra from One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, using arms and elbow’s to generally make a nuisance of himself. He did well to stay on the pitch after an early card.
Hazard continued his rich vein of form, buzzing around the box, creator as opposed to scorer today. Oscar was probably the only one of our maestro’s who had an off day. His passing lacked its usual accuracy and any goal efforts were wayward too.
This weekend has seen Arsenal, Citeh and us start to pull away from the pack. It may be too early to call it a three-horse race but having seen the top 2 win yesterday it was of huge importance to win today to keep with the pace. Having achieved that will please Mourinho greatly and should continue to build confidence.
For United the season of change is providing exactly that. “Where were you when we were good” will soon be heard in the Old Trafford rafters. Luckily for David Moyes they have seen this all before – the last time they changed manager. Both the board and the fans will keep faith. The first sign that he is stamping his authority on the club was finally shipping Anderson off to pastaland to pack on a few more pounds , how long did it take to figure he was not worthy of the Red jersey!….
Ashley Young and Tom Cleverly should only be squad players going forward and both Evra and Vidic have both seen their best days at the club.
The one criticism I feel can be levelled at David Moyes is in relation to his choice of backroom staff. Seeing Phil Neville on his right hand side does not cut the mustard for me. The ex-United player is not experienced enough for that role. He should go earn his stripes at a lesser Premier league club in order to inherit such a lofty chair. Moyes asked all of Sir Alex’s backroom team to move on. Maybe he should reconsider. Brian Kidd is still at City under the new man Pelligrini, that continuity has meant they have managed a more settled start than their local rivals!