A game of two halves.
The Premier League returned with a bang after the International break as Chelsea entertained United at the Bridge. The lineup was fairly straight forward from Sarri although he did choose Willian and Morata ahead of Pedro and Giroud. Mourinho started with Mata, Martial, Rashford, and Lukaku in what seemed to have been a very attacking lineup on the face of it.
The game started off with Chelsea dominating the play but chances were hard to come by as United had 10 men behind the ball with only Lukaku left up front. Chelsea’s breakthrough came from a set piece in the 21st minute as Rudiger thumped in a header from a Willian cross to make it one nil. Chelsea saw out their lead until half time but United returned for the second half with new found vigor in similar fashion to the Newcastle game. Chelsea still had the upper hand for about 20 minutes but Martial turned in a loose ball in the 55th minute to restore parity for United. Martial then got the lead as United were beginning to dominate with a brilliant finish in the 73rd minute. Mourinho turned to parking the bus for the final quarter of an hour and his time wasting led to six added minutes. Chelsea were not giving up and a powerful header from David Luiz ricocheted off the post into Barkley’s path who equalised in the 96th minute to steal the victory from United. The goal had led to wild celebrations from the backroom staff and Ianni Sarri’s second in hand celebrated in front of Mourinho which led to a scrap between the two. Sarri and Ianni later apologised to Mourinho and the situation was resolved.
If one is to be optimistic then Chelsea still maintained their unbeaten start to the season but are now firmly third in the league and tied with Tottenham who are fourth. While the first half was great a harsh tackle to Hazard combined with Chelsea resorting to long ball tactics in the second half led to us losing the lead. Sarri stated that he was not happy with the sudden change in tactics during the second half. Player wise Kepa made some brilliant saves while the defence was decent. Luiz, Azplicueta, and Alonso all had shaky moments while Rudiger was probably the standout performer in defence. Jorginho was great in the first half but lost impact in the second while Kante did what he does best. Kovacic was good but not great and he possessed no real goal threat. Hazard was great in the first half but a harsh tackle in the second led to him underperforming in the latter stages of the game. Morata tried hard but failed to have any real impact and while he should be afforded time, Chelsea might soon look at the market for a solution. Willian was poor and Martial proved why we should have gone after a replacement during the window. Giroud was good at linking up play when he came on while Pedro added pace. Barkley scored the equaliser as he continues to build confidence this season.
As far as United are concerned Mourinho got another life line and might still be here come New Year although it is anyone’s guess who the United players are playing for. Mourinho has a tough set of fixtures with Juventus to come mid week. Chelsea will now play Bate at home in the Europa League and hopefully we might get a chance to see our youth players.