Manchester United produced their
best performance under Jose
Mourinho to defeat the champions-
elect Chelsea and – quite possibly –
blow open the Premier League title
race.
Chelsea’s lead remains at four points
ahead of Tottenham Hotspur – with
the two sides meeting each other in
the FA Cup semi-finals next Saturday
in which, psychologically, could prove
an important fixture – with just six
matches to play.
How the United manager will have
delighted, revelled in this victory
having been humiliated by his former
club in the league earlier this season
and been knocked out of the FA Cup
by them also.
This was classic Mourinho as United
claimed their first win over Chelsea in
13 matches and did so with Zlatan
Ibrahimovic on the bench, rested,
although he came on with 10 minutes
to go. So much for Mourinho’s
complaints of tiredness and fixture
congestion. He did a number on
Chelsea, forensically nullifying them
and probing their weaknesses.

Without Ibrahimovic there was more
pace to United’s attack with Marcus
Rashford outstanding as was Ander
Herrera – detailed to man-mark Eden
Hazard – and Marcos Rojo who
powerfully dealt with Diego Costa.
Tactically Mourinho got it spot-on as
he nullified Chelsea’s threat althougn
there was a huge slice of fortune with
his side’s opening goal. It should not
have stood.
Man Utd 1 – 0 Chelsea (Marcus
Rashford, 7 min)
Marcus Rashford 19
Dribble Pass /
Shot
Goal Home Away
Rashford’s strike was superbly
executed but there was a clear hand-
ball by Herrera in the build-up as he
blocked Nemanja Matic’s pass with his
outstretched arm. Allowed to play on
by referee Bobby Madley he then
played a precise pass behind David
Luiz for Rashford to run onto before
he clipped his shot across Asmir
Begovic and into the net.
Chelsea badly need Costa to
rediscover some form – he’s been
well off the pace since January
— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT)
April 16, 2017
Begovic was playing because of an
ankle injury to Thibaut Courtois,
bizarrely sustained during a
promotional shoot for NBA basketball,
with Chelsea also losing Marcos Alonso
in the warm-up. The left wing-back
had been suffering from illness and
was replaced by Kurt Zouma.
Maybe it was the changes but, more
evidently, it was United’s aggression
and Mourinho’s tactics that unsettled
Chelsea.
There was also a running battle
between Costa and the United centre-
halves which was sparked by the
striker after he shoved Eric Bailly
over. There was more than one tangle
between Costa and Rojo and a couple
of bright moments involving Rashford,
with Begovic cutting out one cross as
Jesse Lingard waited to pounce and
then another being intercepted by
Gary Cahill and landing on the roof of
the net.
Early in the second-half United
doubled their advantage and it was a
sloppy goal for Chelsea to concede
with Ashley Young’s cross cut out by
Luiz. The ball cannoned to Kante who
lost possession to Young who then
worked his way into the penalty area
only for Zouma to challenge. He poked
the ball to Herrera whose drive
deflected up off Kante to wrong-foot
Begovic and spin into the goal.
Strangely Cahill spent time picking
Lingard off the turf in the build-up
rather than concerning himself with
the play. It was poor all round from
Chelsea.
Man Utd 2 – 0 Chelsea (Ander Herrera,
49 min)
Ashley Young 18 Ander Herrera 21
Dribble Pass /
Shot
Goal Home Away
Their desperation grew but it was
United who went close to increasing
their advantage after another
impressive run by Rashford ended in
a fine save by Begovic. Changes were
made and Chelsea, by now, were
playing with Pedro – who poked one
chance wide on the stretch – Costa,
Hazard and substitute Willian all in
forward positions as they chased the
game without success. United had
their win; Mourinho made his point
and his name rang around Old
Trafford.

FULL TIME
Man Utd out thought and out fought
Chelsea here – Jose Mourinho got his
tactics so spot on that it almost feels
like Chelsea lost this one off the pitch
as much as they did on it.
Mourinho leaves the pitch tapping the
Man Utd badge over his heart.