Chelsea had to rely on a 96th minute effort from substitute Ross Barkley to preserve their unbeaten record in the Premier League after Martial brace seemed to be taking Manchester United on the brink of a famous victory.
The Blues despite their overall dominance in the game had to rely on a scrappy close range finish to ensure the grabbed a draw in a game which they could have easily won.
The game began in a feisty manner with both sides trying to gain control in the early exchanges. Mourinho’s decision to field an open game came as a surprise as Manchester United committed four attacking minded players in his tactical setup with Pogba and Matic pairing at the middle of park. Matic’s concession of yellow card early on in the first interval meant that the Red Devils had to play the second fiddle as Chelsea showed their dominance in the game. Chelsea eventual drew first blood in the encounter from Rudiger. The German international connected to a Willian cross from Corner Kick. The Blues dominated the encounter for large spells of the first interval but failed to double their as Manchester United kept creeping back to the game. Chelsea in the second interval became too overconfident in themselves in the second interval, with Morata a chance to double Chelsea’s lead. The Spanish forward was released on goal by Kovacic, but failed to convert as his effort went straight to the hands of De Gea. Chelsea buoyed by their impressive possession began to lose the ball at the middle of the park. The Blues eventually surrendered the lead to the Manchester club thanks to Martial, who capitalized from series of errors at the back. Chelsea still failed to grasp the changes in the tide of the game due to the long spell of possession, and this lead to Manchester United’s second goal. David Luiz was unable to clear the ball when Juan Mata charged for the ball, and this turned to eventual counter that ended up with Martial netting again. Chelsea despite their large spell of possession were now almost on the way to a defeat with less than 15 minutes to go, but Ross Barkley was able to salvage a draw for the London side.
The major question remains how did a club who netted first and control the game in the first interval become the club to struggle for a draw at full-time. Chelsea began to lose the essence of the game towards the closing stages of the first interval. The Blues began to impress supporters with the passing of the ball, when they ought to be going for the second goal. The possession style of football has always had always negative consequences on teams particularly the concentration of defense as they tend to relax more at the back. Martial’s first goal was a clear example of frailties at the back as Chelsea defenders failed to clear the ball. The Red Devils second goal came as a surprise as slow Juan Mata was able to win the ball from David Luiz and in an instant turning the move to counter which saw the Blues outnumbered. Chelsea throughout the encounter failed to push for goals, instead were after beautiful football to impress their supporters and it almost caused them. This is not the first time the London club have surrendered victory as they did so against Liverpool and Arsenal.
Chelsea must learn how to finish off their opponents before impressing their supporters. The Blues must try to avoid the errors made against Manchester United to preserve their unbeaten run. The first time the error was made, Liverpool snatched a point at the Bridge, the second time it was made, and Chelsea managed to grind out a draw. Certainly the third time could result in defeat.