Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-0: Five things we learned
Manchester United beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to record a third successive victory over Frank Lampard’s side.
Here is a look at five things we learned from the win…
United are right in the race for the Champions League
A loss could have been a big setback for United’s mission to qualify for the Champions League through the Premier League.
This victory has cut Chelsea’s advantage in half from six points to three.
It is still a crowded mix with several clubs involved, especially after Manchester City’s Champions League ban.
United are right in amongst it, and now need to start producing this type of performance on a consistent basis.
Martial proved he can score strikers’ goals
So much has been said about Anthony Martial over the last fortnight, with his role as United’s central striker called into question.
Before his goal he did not have a good game. His movement was poor, he gave the ball away, and he skewed his only attempt on goal wide.
Then he did what good strikers do, and shook off his form to score a clinical goal.
It was a real striker’s goal too, burying a header from inside the penalty area after winning the aerial battle.
Heading is not his strong point so it was good to see Martial net in this manner. There’s hope for him yet.
United rode their luck
A lot in the first half went United’s way. Harry Maguire escaped a potential red card for a suspected kick out.
Michy Batshuayi had a terrible time, missing chance after chance and failing to hit the target.
Chelsea’s gameplan was also disrupted with Ngolo Kante suffering an injury after just 10 minutes.
A penalty appeal was also waved away with Willian booked for diving.
Everything seemed to go United’s way, but it still took a moment of undeniable quality from both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Anthony Martial to score the goal.
Two disallowed goals in the second half either side of Maguire’s header topped off Chelsea’s frustrations, while they hit the post in the dying stages to sum up their night.
Eric Bailly passed his test
This was a tough game for Eric Bailly to come back into for United after Victor Lindelöf was ruled out ahead of kick=off.
After looking a little nervous in the opening minutes he recovered, winning headers and making a crucially timed slide tackle in the penalty area.
Bailly will always be a risk taker, that’s part of his game, and we saw it with a little turn inside his own box before clearing the ball in the first half.
A last ditch saving tackle on Kovacic drew celebrations from his teammates. He’s the kind of player who can inspire and improve others.
It was good to see him back and he is a player who could contribute a lot in the second half of the season.
Maguire profits from Fernandes delivery
Harry Maguire was due a goal like that. He’s come close all season to scoring from corners, finally he did it.
It made it all the sweeter that Maguire’s celebrations were coupled by Chelsea moans that he should not have been on the pitch after the first half incident.
This was just Maguire’s second goal for United, with both of them coming since he was made captain.
Having Bruno Fernandes taking the corners makes a big difference.
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