Chelsea aggrieved as United sneak win
Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3:Roberto Di Matteo and Alex Ferguson had to be separated today as Manchester United ended their 10-year wait for a Premier League win at Chelsea in controversy. The Blues finished with nine men and were beaten by an offside winner as United moved to within a point of the leaders at Stamford Bridge.
Referee Mark Clattenburg wrongly sent off Fernando Torres for diving after Chelsea had fought back from a David Luiz own goal and Robin van Persie’s ninth of the season to equalise through Juan Mata and Ramires.
Branislav Ivanovic did rightly see red five minutes before Torres, whose second yellow card prompted furious exchanges between the rival managers, and that was before Javier Hernandez’s winner.
Ferguson did not need to bother with mind games against Chelsea last season, so far adrift were they of United in the league. But he did not waste any time prior to this fixture, branding the side built by Jose Mourinho seven years ago as better than the current league leaders, in defiance of the plaudits earned by Di Matteo’s men this season.
His opposite number refused to be drawn into the phoney war, knowing the worst thing to do ahead of today’s game was to stoke up any ill feeling.
Rio Ferdinand thought so too, duly wearing his ‘Kick It Out’ T-shirt during the warm-up and shaking Ashley Cole’s hand before kick-off.
Ashley Young — a surprise starter after more than two months out injured — was the only player on either side to snub the anti-racism initiative, while the home supporters jeered and taunted Ferdinand mercilessly.
It had no effect on the defender, who was celebrating a two-goal lead after 12 minutes as United became the latest top side to ruthlessly expose Chelsea’s shortcomings.
It took less than four minutes, the Blues losing possession and Van Persie crashing a shot against the post, the ball rebounding in off the luckless Luiz.
Ivanovic was fortunate to escape a booking for clattering into Young before United struck again, Ferdinand this time the architect.
The defender was predictably booed as he ambled out of defence and found Rafael, who fed Antonio Valencia, with the winger’s low cross instantly swept
home by Van Persie.
It was a goal of embarrassing ease against a Chelsea side Di Matteo had warned about the way they were starting games, but the European champions finally woke up midway through the half when Michael Carrick chopped down Ramires.
He should have been booked but Luiz almost punished him anyway with a brutal free-kick which David De Gea inexplicably elected to save with his legs, the