Performance was there but finishing wasn’t. Manchester United fired out of the blocks today and threw the gauntlet down to Chelsea at the start. Our early pressure was fantastic but as has been the problem in the absence of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, we weren’t clinical enough.
Then against the run of play, almost inevitably, Samuel Eto’o scored with a deflected effort just before the 20 minute mark. It was entirely undeserved but Phil Jones should have done better.
United pushed on following the goal but were punished for some poor defending when Eto’o made it 2-0. Where was the defence? Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Chelsea made it three thanks to another shocking piece of defending from United.
Javier Hernandez got his traditional goal against Chelsea but it wasn’t enough to turn the game on its head. 3-1 loss.
Januzaj is going to keep getting better. Today was Januzaj’s biggest game as a United player – Chelsea away. It was an occasion where could have receded into his shell and been awed by the importance of the game but he did the opposite.
Just like Swansea last week, Januzaj was the one player who stood out above everybody else. He was the player who we looked towards to make a difference, to make something out of nothing. More often than not, he did but United didn’t have the attackers to finish the chances.
Until the time when we have all of our first team players back to full fitness, we won’t be able to use Januzaj’s creativity to our advantage and the sooner that happens the better.
Terrible defending. United were at fault for all three goals. They were all avoidable.
The first goal saw Eto’o leave Phil Jones left square footed before his deflected effort looped over David de Gea. Just before half time, Chelsea made it two as our defence fell asleep to let Eto’o in behind them to slot home a second and only three minutes into the second half, Antonio Valencia inexplicably let Eto’o in front of him two yards away from goal to prod home a third.
What were United doing? Defensively, we have been quite strong this season under Moyes but today we looked like a Blue Square North side. Poor.
As for Nemanja Vidic’s red card and Rafael’s lunge? They were inexcusable.
We desperately missed Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. United went down to a defeat against Chelsea but it doesn’t tell the story of the whole game. We had a plethora of fantastic crosses fizzed across the six yard box but didn’t have anybody attacking the ball ready to finish the chance.
Without our two main strikers on the pitch, we had nobody to finish for us and that was the problem as there were chances aplenty.
There’s no way that Chelsea should have won that game 3-1. We had so many good chances but just didn’t manage to convert because nobody was there to do so.
The sooner Rooney and Van Persie get back, the better. After all, we are only six points off second place and on the whole, our performance today was good.
Performance deserved better. During the game, Gary Neville said: “If you’re going to die, die trying.” That hit the nail on the head.
Nobody expected United to come to Stamford Bridge and end Mourinho’s record but as long as the team put in fight, we could leave with our heads held high. I think we can do that.
On the whole, Chelsea were defending. United controlled the majority of the game but the result didn’t reflect that simply because we didn’t have the players ready to finish the chances we created.
Still, we are only six points off fourth place with Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and Tottenham all to play each other next weekend. All is not lost.