Chelsea back in the title race?
Chelsea have severely dented Manchester United’s title hopes and perhaps revived their own with an impressive 1-0 win over the Red Devils this afternoon.
The Blues were defensively solid to grind out a hard-fought victory, with Alvaro Morata heading in the winner in the second half.
The result leaves United eight points behind league leaders Manchester City, while Chelsea are now just a point off Jose Mourinho’s side despite their contrasting starts.
Here’s a closer look at the major talking points from Stamford Bridge…
Man of the match
The youngster called in to replace the controversially axed David Luiz, Andreas Christensen was rock solid for Chelsea at the back in this crucially important win.
Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford endured a highly frustrating afternoon, with Christensen trusted with that all-important central role in Chelsea’s back three and performing it to perfection.
The Dane was also one of the positives even as Chelsea suffered defeat to Manchester City back in September, and it’s looking increasingly clear that he needs to be given more playing time by Antonio Conte.
Flop of the match
It might be a tad harsh for one poor piece of play, but those are the kind of margins on which big games like this are decided.
We’ve therefore gone for Nemanja Matic, who completely went to sleep for United as Chelsea broke forward to score a simple winner through Alvaro Morata.
We go into more detail on the Serbian’s slack effort at defending here, with Matic jogging back and watching from a position where he could neither close down Cesar Azpilicueta and prevent the assist, or mark Morata and prevent the goal. Not good enough from a top defensive midfielder.
Stat of the match
An unlikely partnership is born…it’s also Azpilicueta’s fifth assist of the season – not bad for a player shifting between centre-back and wing-back….
Cesar Azpilicueta to Álvaro Morata is the most prolific assist to goalscorer combination in the Premier League this season, yielding 5 goals
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 5, 2017
Chelsea: Courtois 8, Christensen 8, Azpilicueta 8, Cahill 7, Zappacosta 7, Alonso 6, Kante 7, Bakayoko 7, Fabregas 8, Hazard 7, Morata 8 / Subs: Drinkwater 6, Rudiger 6, Willian 6
Manchester United: De Gea 7, Valencia 6, Young 6, Bailly 6, Jones 6, Smalling 6, Herrera 6, Matic 5, Mkhitaryan 6, Rashford 6, Lukaku 6 / Subs: Lingard 6, Fellaini 7, Martial 6
What better image to sum it up than this from Antonio Conte? A man under pressure with the perfect response…
— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) November 5, 2017
There was also a lot of love for Christensen for his mature and assured performance…
Christensen was basically flawless for 93 minutes, then made two minor errors. Huge call from Conte and it paid off hugely.
— Chelsea News App (@CFCNewsApp) November 5, 2017
Whatever beef Conte has with Luiz may continue for godsake. Need Christensen to start in the middle of the defense
— Vinod (@GayanVinod) November 5, 2017
Kante was the difference. Baka was decent using half of his brain. And massive respect to Christensen who pocketed Lukaku for 90mins. #CFC
— J.O.J (@Mide_Yosef) November 5, 2017
Christensen was so so on his game today facing a stronger, faster opponent in Lukaku. The boy keeps improving
— chepe (@brackstrider) November 5, 2017
While this Chelsea fan couldn’t resist twisting the knife into Jose Mourinho…
Jose Mourinho’s record at Stamford Bridge with Manchester United:
Scored 0. #CFC
— SimplyConte (@SimplyConte) November 5, 2017