People will remember this game for the missed chances rather than the ones taken as Manchester United were eventual 3-1 winners in a highly enthralling game at Old Trafford.
Three first-half goals from Smalling, Nani and Rooney saw Andre Villas Boas lose his first league game since taking charge of the Blues as Chelsea were made to pay for some sloppy defending as well as errors from the linesman.
Both sets of fans were in good voice as Chelsea were dominant in the first few minutes, but things rapidly changes as United went ahead courtesy an offside goal from Chris Smalling who scored a header from an Ashley Young free kick.
The goal didn’t dent Chelsea’s attack as they came close to scoring when Anderson’s misplaced pass fell straight to Torres who missed the target after a scuffle with Evans.
Chelsea had another chance in the 14th minute when Mata’s corner was neatly headed by Ivanovic only to be saved by United’s goalkeeper.
It was all Chelsea in the first 20 minutes of the game as Chelsea had six attempts at goal compared to United’s one – But the scoreline suggested something totally different.
United looked to break Chelsea on the counter, and in the 26th minute as Rooney had a poor shot after the ball was well-worked into the box.
A minute later, De Gea made a heroic save as Ramires who looked certain to score from a brilliant low cross from Torres who was fed the ball after some nice work from Mata, had he left it Sturridge would have buried it – United managed to hang onto their lead as Chelsea continued to pile on the pressure.
Chelsea had half a chance to equalize in the 31st minute again when Torres, who had a bright 30 minutes, looked to score off a bicycle kick via a Sturridge cross but it missed the target.
Chelsea’s ten goal attempts in the first 30-odd minutes of the game proved futile as Nani scored a screamer from just outside the box after cutting in and getting past Mata – Cech was just a spectator as the Blues went 2-0 down.
Wayne Rooney added to Chelsea’s misery as he scored a sitter after receiving a ball that ricocheted off Nani and fell straight into his path – United ended the half three goals up.
While talks of Chelsea doing an Arsenal were still on, Chelsea scored within 60 seconds of the second half after a brilliant through ball from Anelka (who was substituted in place of Lampard at half-time), which found Torres who neatly flicked the ball over De Gea. Torres got his much needed goal and Chelsea were right back in the clash.
A dominant Chelsea looked for a second goal and came close when Mata’s shot was intercepted by United’s goalkeeper after Sturridge found him.
There was more drama to follow as Nani’s shot from just outside the box hit the bar and got deflected straight at him and he made the most of Bosingwa’s minimal contact and went to the ground as Manchester United were awarded a penalty. Rooney, who had scored earlier in the match, did a repeat of John Terry in the Champions League final and slipped as he took the penalty – Chelsea were awarded a lifeline.
Torres showed his class again in the 71st minute when he created a chance for himself inside the box and shot directly at De Gea who saved, but the ball was deflected back to him and his resulting shot went over the bar. Little did he know that what was to follow a few minutes later was the biggest embarrassment of his Chelsea career, as he failed to hit the target from with an open net in front of him, he had been excellently played through by Ramires.
The missed chances were to continue as Berbatov missed an opportunity in the dying stages of the game to pile more misery on the Blues but his weak shot was blocked as Cole slid in. It was an easy chance to score after an unselfish pass from Rooney – He missed and Chelsea avoided further embarrassment.
And as the final whistle blew a few minutes later, United were victorious in a mouth watering clash and maintained their 100% start to their Premier League Campaign.
By Abhishek Easwaran
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