As Chelsea picked up an impressive point at Old Trafford yesterday, to keep hopes of a top four finish alive and dent United’s hopes, I look at the five key talking points from this Premier League encounter yesterday.
- Alonso and Kepa both contenders for MOTM- Before the game, when we saw Alonso on the teamsheet, most people panicked about that decision.
But as the game grew on- The Spaniard looked the most stable of defenders in the back four. Rudiger and Luiz started off very shaky, and Azpilicueta was getting done constantly by the likes of Lukaku and Rashford down the right hand side.
And Alonso was the quickest to react to De Gea’s mistake in the 43d minute, after a long shot from Rudiger was fumbled by De Gea, and the Spaniard was there to finish it off, and punish United’s out of form keeper, and at the same time draw Chelsea level in a first half in which they played poorly on the whole.
Here was Alonso’s goal for anyone who missed it yesterday;
As the second half grew on, Alonso was doing better in the defensive phase which is very surprising in itself. But the only criticism of the Spaniard today was the fact that he still couldn’t deliver any good crosses into the box in the attacking phase.
The second contender for MOTM was Kepa. You could see the difference in confidence today between the two keepers. Every shot Manchester United fired at Kepa’s goal except from the Mata goal was held very well by the most expensive keeper in the world.
The only criticism of his game today was that some of his distribution was poor, but that was only a minor criticism.
Overall I will give my man of the match (MOTM) to Marcos Alonso, after he scored the vital goal which has put top four in our hands now!
2. Yesterday showed why Higuain is worse than Morata- Surprisingly Sarri decided not to opt for the false nine formation yesterday, and as a result played Higuain as the main striker. Personally I wouldn’t have done that as I had a feeling before the match that this game didn’t suit him.
And I was right!
The Argentinian’s work rate and effort yesterday was simply awful. He couldn’t out muscle any United defenders in aerial battles yesterday. And he failed to link up sufficiently with Eden Hazard. And as a result of that the Belgian couldn’t have the impact that he would have wanted on this game.
But when a chance fell Higuain’s way in the 97th minute… He bottled it!
There have been recent reports that Chelsea aren’t willing to extend Higuain’s loan deal at the end of the season, and I can understand why. He’s made Morata look decent!
3. Key injury blows for key players- Yesterday’s point at Old Trafford came at a cost of two Chelsea players sustaining injuries. After Hudson-Odoi’s injury against West Ham- Maurizio Sarri would have wanted no injuries to his players before the key Europa League semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, but that didn’t happen unfortunately…
Half of the reason it didn’t happen was due to poor refereeing and officiating, and half of the reason was just bad luck. The bad luck explanation applied to Rudiger, and the poor refereeing explanation applied to Willian.
Rudiger was the first to sustain an injury in the 65th minute, which looked very similar to the one he sustained against Liverpool a few weeks ago. It looked like a knee injury, and as a result he is highly unlikely to feature in the Europa League on Thursday. But will he feature again this season?
The second injury came to Willian in the 84th minute when Rojo slid in and and caught the Brazilian on the lower knee with his studs up. The referee should have branded the red card, but instead he missed it, and Willian had to limp off and be replaced by Pedro.
Sarri gave an injury update on both players after the game;
4. Martin Atkinson was a disgrace yesterday- And it wasn’t just decisions that went against us. Manchester United had a few decisions that went against them due to poor refereeing.
Here’s a breakdown of the referee’s mistakes yesterday;
Decisions that went against Manchester United;
Kovacic should have been sent off for a second yellow card after a reckless challenge on Herrera.
Azpilicueta could have been sent off for a crunching tackle near the end of the game.
Decisions that went against Chelsea;
Matic should have been sent off for an elbow on Azpilicueta in the first half.
Rojo should have been sent off for a dangerous challenge on Willian in the 84th minute, which injured the Brazilian winger.
Hazard constantly being fouled, but the referee failed to give a right amount of yellow cards to Manchester United players.
Here was how a few CFC fans reacted to the performance of Martin Atkinson’s yesterday;
5. Pedro’s cameo performance saved Chelsea a point- Pedro came on for Willian in the 84th minute, and despite not having alot of time to impact the game- he did produce the most important moment to preserve Chelsea a vital point at Old Trafford to keep their top four hopes in their hands.
A corner was given to United in the 93rd minute, and from the Alexis Sanchez corner- Rojo rose the highest and nodded his header goal bound, but Pedro was there to clear it off the line!
Chelsea next game is in the Europa League on Thursday night away in Germany, when they take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final. The game kicks off at 8pm (UK time).
Then both sides are back in action next weekend in the Premier League. Chelsea take on Watford at 2pm (UK time) on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United take on Huddersfield away next Sunday at 2pm (UK time).
Comment down below- Do you agree with my five key talking points?
The only other talking point I would add is the fact that Kovacic yet again offered us nothing in the attacking third, and as a result showed why we shouldn’t sign him on a permanent deal.
Also do you think Chelsea will get top four now, with their destiny being in their own hands?
By Danyal Khan