1. At the start of the day I’d have taken a point at Stamford Bridge. We never win there, regardless of which team goes in to the game in better form, so a draw is a decent enough result. Don’t forget that City lost there a few weeks ago, so despite some of their drab performances this season, Chelsea are still the 4th best team in the country. If someone had offered us a point on 57 minutes when we were 3-0 down we would have bitten their hand off. Despite us being the better team for most of the game, today is certainly a case of one point gained rather than two dropped.
2. With just eight minutes played, the first decision typical of those that are made when we play at Stamford Bridge was made. Jose Bosingwa pulled Ashley Young’s shirt in the box in clear view of Howard Webb. Unlike Welbeck, who stayed on his feet at Arsenal the other week when he was fouled in the box which meant nothing was given, Young went to the ground. Two minutes later, Danny Welbeck was racing clear of Gary Cahill on his début, who stuck out a leg, got nothing on the ball, and brought our man down. Whilst the challenge started outside the box, it wasn’t until Welbeck was in the box that their legs tangled and he was tripped. At the very least, it was a straight red card for Cahill, but again, Webb waved it on. Every year Ferguson talks about our bad luck at Stamford Bridge but we’d barely even got started with it yet.
3. Chelsea’s first and third goals were scored by United players. Nice feet from Sturridge saw Evra beaten before the ball rifled off Jonny Evans in to the net. The third goal came as Rio got in the way of an off shot attempt from Luiz, deflecting it past David de Gea. There was nothing unlucky about Chelsea’s 2nd goal though, with Evra not getting tight enough to Fernando Torres to stop the cross and Rafael/Valencia leaving Juan Mata unmarked. His finish was excellent though, with him blasting the ball past de Gea on the volley.
4. “Rio, what’s the score, Rio, Rio, what’s the score?” the Chelsea fans chanted at 3-0, after booing his every touch. His crime? Being the brother of the player who John Terry has been charged with racially abusing. Honestly, is there no limit to the depths some fans will sink? Proper little scousers, aren’t they.
5. After a shaky period of ten minutes or so, having to shrug off the shock of conceding two goals in the first five minutes of the second half, United started to get some momentum going again. Sturridge had been berated by Andre Villas-Boas for not getting back to defend after going on the attack, so he sprinted in to the box to try and stop Evra. Unfortunately for him, he ended up taking our captain’s legs from under him and conceding a penalty. About time! Wayne Rooney then dispatched maybe the best penalty I’ve ever seen a United player score, smashing it in to the top corner. Game on.
6. Against Stoke in the week we were awarded two penalties and sensibly opted to let two different players take them, with Chicharito putting away the first and Dimitar Berbatov the second. Rooney, who isn’t exactly renowned for his penalty taking, wasn’t going to let anyone else take the penalty that Welbeck won after he was tripped by Ivanovic. This penalty was a softer one although he did stick a foot out and didn’t get the ball. Welbeck fell and Webb had no hesitation. This penalty wasn’t as good but he calmly sent the goalie the long way. We had twenty minutes to get something out of the game.
7. Ferguson got his substitutions wrong at Anfield and alarm bells were ringing today when he replaced Young with Chicharito and then Rafael with Scholes. How was Chicharito going to get a touch when we weren’t really putting any crosses in to the box? Valencia has been our best attacking outlet for months and now he was being forced to right back, replacing our young Brazilian who’d had a great game. Giggs moved out to the left in Young’s absence and with six minutes left to play floated in a perfect ball for Chicharito to put away. Now, only David Silva has more Premier League assists than Giggsy and Hernandez put away his 8th goal of the season, in 19 appearances, just 12 of those starts. His movement for the goal was spot on as he yet again shows he’s a player for the big games.
8. David de Gea had a good game and pulled off one of the best saves of the season as Mata threatened to win it for Chelsea in the dying moments. A ludicrously awarded freekick was heading straight for the top corner before de Gea somehow managed to get his finger tips to it. It was good too see Evra protect him at the corners better than any player did at Anfield too. The press have their agenda, making a fuss over every tiny incident, but we can’t have too many complaints with how the Spaniard has performed against the better teams in the league this season.
9. You have to wonder how much longer it will be before Fabio is given a start at left back, given how out of his depth Evra is and has been for some time now. He just isn’t at the races and you have to wonder if it’s the captain’s armband that is keeping him in the squad. I like him and want him to do well. The fact that he’s never given a break surely can’t help him. He played 48 games in 07-08, 08-09 and 10-11, playing 51 games in 09-10. Is he just knackered?
10. Rooney, who Man of the Match, claimed this might be the point that wins us the title. Chelsea were there for the taking today but when the referee is having a mare and you score two own goals, you can be grateful for anything you get. City go two points clear again but we’ve got some players coming back. If we can get this far with a depleted squad, let’s see how we we’ve got a fuller squad to choose from.