It promised to be a thriller and it did not disappoint as Chelsea and Manchester United put up one of the most exciting games of the 2015/16 Premier League season.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw with goals coming from Jesse Lingard on 61st min and Diego Costa’s 91st minute equalizing goal. The result was a bigger blow to Manchester United’s aspirations of finishing in the top 4 this season.
They were on course to close the gap on Manchester City after the Citizens had lost against Leicester, but the extra-time goal was a big kick to the teeth for Louis Van Gaal and his side.
The game at the Bridge was often played in fractions, where one team dominated the play for the other team to come back stronger only minutes later.
Chelsea 1 Manchester United 1 Tactical Analysis
In the initial going, Manchester United had enjoyed almost 70% of the possession in the first 20 minutes, forcing 7 corners in the proceedings. However, United could not make their pressure count as Chelsea managed to come away unharmed.
As expected, Anthony Martial was a real thorn in Chelsea’s shoes as the Frenchman ran riot from the left hand side going hard at Branislav Ivanovic. Martial made a mockery of Ivanovic’s languid movements and looked dangerous all night.
Martial was denied by Thibaut Courtois’ stretched right arm. If not for the lanky Belgian, United would have had the lead inside the half-hour mark.
As for Chelsea, it took them well beyond 25 minute mark to come back to life when Willian lead the first brisk counter attack. Since that moment, Blues looked the better side and ended the first half strongly.
By then, David De Gea had made one of his customary special saves to deny the home side any advantage. Guus Hiddink chose to operate with Oscar from the left hand side and play Cesc Fabregas in the number 10 role, which did not seem to be work until the second half.
Second half started in the similar fashion as the first 45 minutes. United came out hungrier of the two sides and looked to be walking away with the game. However, the only thing stopping them was a goal.
The goal eventually came from Lingard’s sensational turn and strike after a peach of a cross from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. Lingard did not give Courtois any chance to save the shot, rather it went pass him before he could even react.
What followed from that moment on was Chelsea’s desperate attempt to save Hiddink’s unbeaten reign since taking over. Shots were fired with a degree of consistency but De Gea stood firm.
He made three outstanding save to keep the game in United’s favor. The Spaniard may have thought that his work was done for the day when 6 extra minutes were shown. All United had to do, was play out the time.
However, it was not to be. A sloppy moment from Memphis Depay allowed Diego Costa to have a shot at goal. While United’s defense crumbled, De Gea could not do a thing to save the goal and surrender 2 crucial points in their bid to finish in top4 this season.
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