Chelsea’s indifferent form at Stamford Bridge continued on Monday evening as they lost 2-0 to Manchester United.
Anthony Martial gave the Red Devils the lead just before the break as he escaped from marker Andreas Christensen to score with a brilliant header. The Danish international was replaced at half-time through injury and his substitute Kurt Zouma equalised, only for VAR to rule out the goal.
Insult was added to injury for Chelsea as Harry Maguire, who may have been unfortunate to escape a red card in the first-half, headed in a 66th minute corner. Substitute Olivier Giroud thought he had got the Blues back into the clash but VAR intervened again to disallow the strike for offside and hand United a great victory in the chase for Champions League football.
Chelsea waste early chances
Chelsea looked dangerous in the early stages as Willian and Reece James sent efforts marginally wide of the Manchester United goal. The hosts were handed a significant blow though as N’Golo Kante was forced to be withdrawn through injury.
The frustration built even further for the hosts as following a coming together at the touchline, Maguire appeared to kick out at Michy Batshuayi but escaped a red card from both the referee and VAR.
Lampard’s men continued to enjoy the majority of play though and a great move saw Andreas Christensen nod the ball down to the advancing Willian, who in turn attempted to pick out Michy Batshuayi with a low cross. The Belgian could not quite react quick enough to turn it home. He then wasted another glorious chance as he scythed substitute Mason Mount’s centre wide.
Red Devils score on half-time
Those chances came back to bite Frank Lampard’s men as the visitors scored the opener on the stroke of half-time. Aaron Wan-Bissaka did excellently to whip in a stunning cross and that quality was replicated in Martial’s header as he delightfully placed the ball into the far corner.
Chelsea thought they had got an equaliser from a corner as half-time substitute Kurt Zouma volleyed home. A brief VAR check chalked off the Frenchman’s strike for Cesar Azpilicueta’s push on Brandon Williams.
Maguire rises highest to double the lead
The Red Devils started to control the game following that let-off. January signing, Bruno Fernandes, went so close to notching his first goal for the club as he smacked a free-kick off of the base of the post.
Maguire, who Chelsea supporters were still perplexed at still being on the field, then did eventually double the lead as he connected powerfully with a corner for his debut goal in the Premier League for the Red Devils.
VAR halts Chelsea once again
Lampard and Chelsea thought they had hauled themselves into the clash as Giroud dispatched a brilliant header into the back of the net from Reece James’ cross but once again VAR intervened – this time for offside.
There was enough time right at the end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to introduce Odion Ighalo and the Nigerian could have opened his United career with a goal but his shot from close range was smothered by Willy Caballero. Two were enough though as United cut the gap to the top four to just three points.
On the balance of play, Manchester United probably did deserve the win. In the key moments, the Red Devils were far more clinical. Chelsea will bemoan VAR for allowing Maguire to remain on the field and for their two disallowed goals but they cannot begrudge the result which has seen the Blues fall to another loss on home soil.
Chelsea: Caballero (6); Azpilicueta (6), Rudiger (6), Christensen (6) (Zouma (6), 45′), James (6); Kante (N/A) (Mount (5), 11′), Jorginho (6), Kovacic (6); Pedro (5), Willian (5), Batshuayi (4) (Giroud (5), 68′).
Manchester United: De Gea (6); Wan-Bissaka (7), Maguire (8), Bailly (7), Williams (6), Shaw (7); Fred (6), Matic (6), Fernandes (7) (Dalot (N/A), 90+3′); James (6) (Pereira (N/A), 80′), Martial (7) (Ighalo (N/A), 90′).
Goals: Martial (45′), Maguire (66′)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Yellow Cards: Willian (36′), Rudiger (48′), Fred (59′) Pedro (64′), Williams (76′), Wan-Bissaka (79′)
Red Cards: N/A