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Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United player ratings, stats & reaction: Surprise hero for Antonio Conte as ex-Blue gifts old side victory

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.

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Exposed: Former Chelsea man at fault for lazily jogging back as Manchester United go 1-0 down to Alvaro Morata goal

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.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23: Andreas Christensen of Chelsea in action during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Bet365 Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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.

matic

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….

Player ratings

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

Reaction

What better image to sum it up than this from Antonio Conte? A man under pressure with the perfect response…

There was also a lot of love for Christensen for his mature and assured performance…

While this Chelsea fan couldn’t resist twisting the knife into Jose Mourinho…

More Stories Alvaro Morata Antonio Conte Cesar Azpilicueta jose mourinho