Manchester United 0-1 Chelsea: Five lessons we learned

by Sam Peoples

Expectedly flat. Last week at Arsenal, Manchester United were torn apart in the first half and turned it around in the second but against an in-form Chelsea, I expected us to struggle – and we did.

Despite Ferguson claiming that the team will be putting as much into these games as possible, the team has plateaued since securing the title against Aston Villa and the desire to win games has left us.

It’s a shame really because the prospect of stopping Chelsea getting a top four spot was a tantalising one from my point of view given the history between the clubs over the past eight years – but it wasn’t to be.

We never got out of the blocks. There was no penetration going forward and despite playing awfully, the ball kept getting sent wide to Valencia who couldn’t hit a barn door yesterday.

Hopefully next week will be different. With the trophy presentation scheduled for after the game against Swansea, the team won’t want to knock the atmosphere by putting in as dull a performance as yesterday.

Well done Anderson. He has had his doubters this season (myself included) after once again struggling with injuries and fitness but in an overall poor team performance, I thought Anderson did well.

Anderson drove forward with the ball at any opportunity and was the only one who provided a threat through the middle. He was the main (only) creative spark for United and could of even got himself on the score sheet if he was a couple of inches closer to a whipped Valencia cross.

His traditional substitution as the game went on was unsurprising given how much effort he had put in but we’re used to that by now.

He hasn’t been given much game time since January and will have to grab any opportunity to show Ferguson why he should keep him, so he did himself proud yesterday.

Don’t relapse Rafael. None of that Rafael! After what has been a fantastic year of progress for the young Brazilian, he relapsed yesterday.

Provoked by a swinging David Luiz elbow, Rafael reacted and kicked out at his Brazilian compatriot. It was a red card, there is no question about that, but Luiz’ reaction was downright disgusting and the polar opposite of sportsmanship.

But Luiz’ reaction aside, it was a red mist moment for Rafael that he should of ignored. He’s had plenty of opportunities to react this season but has ignored them all. Something obviously clicked yesterday. He knew what he had done straight away so he jogged back down the line but there is no hiding on a football pitch.

Let’s just hope it was a one off. Ever since he played for Brazil in the Olympics and had a baby, he has settled down.

The real is that he will be banned for the Swansea game given how much he has contributed to the title.

A slap in the face for Hernandez. Javier Hernandez loves Chelsea. He finds scoring against them easy with five in his last seven appearances. So, why in the world did he not play yesterday?

He hasn’t seen many minutes on the pitch this season but for Ferguson to not play him yesterday was extremely harsh, especially given how lacklustre we were up front.

Despite Hernandez’ happy-go-lucky attitude, I think yesterday would have got to him mentally. What else could he possibly do to get game time?

Ferguson has to be careful with Hernandez now I feel. While he has remained humble in his rise to one of the most lethal finishers on the planet, there will be a voice in his head telling him that first team football will be more available away from Old Trafford.

And with strong talks from Ferguson of United making a marquee signing and heavy links to Lewandowski and Falcao already touted, there are even more question marks raised about the future of Hernandez. I’d hate to see him leave.

Valencia woes. It is hard to pinpoint Valencia’s worst performance of the season but yesterday has to be up there. I’m not sure he made one right decision all game.

Every cross was atrocious. Most were over hit, played behind the target or simply kicked off for a goal kick. He planted his face in his hands a lot, and so did every fan.

He has been a worrying shadow of the Player of the Year that tore teams apart last season.

I do think he has got time on his hands given how poor Nani and Young have been as well so he is not the only winger out of form but next season, he will have to return to his best.

I know that the nature of a wingers game is that they will have some bad performances but you could count the good performances of Valencia on one hand this season. He has to use the pre-season to regain his full fitness and confidence or face a potential exit.

You may also like