5 games vs the Blues in London and Solskjaer hasn’t lost one yet. Two good uses of the noggins from Martial and Maguire helped United to three points that closed the gap to the top four. It was a feisty affair and VAR contributed to the ill-will between the teams, particularly in the second half of proceedings
Keeping Our Heads
Given the standards things have fallen to at United, small things will make you smile. The one small thing today was seeing some quality crosses, one from open play and some others from set pieces. The first was some quality wing back play from Wan Bissaka, where in a 1v1 situation he managed to fashioned the space needed for a cross, a part of his game he does far too little and when he does it’s poor. Not only was he able to manoeuvre the ball past his opponent, but he delivered in a delightful ball into the box for which Martial got across the man he recently injured to glance into the far post. Up until that point, both of these players were a far cry from the standards expected of either of them. That goal, against the run of play I might add, at the time that it came propped United up for a spirited performance in the second. The other crosses came from the new signing, Bruno Fernandes. He was on the periphery for much of the game but after he struck the post with a free kick, he put in a peach of a cross from the corner, which Maguire placed into the bottom corner away from Caballero. Even afterwards, a free kick on the wide right corner was once again placed right onto Maguire’s head, which the intervention of Azpilicueta stopped Martial from putting home. A lot has been made of crossing quality this season in other teams but it is something the Red Devils have not done well for years but at the Bridge tonight, it served us very well.
The last time the Ivorian came into a big game off the back of a long layoff, he was such a star of the show, that despite Rashford putting two past Liverpool and Bailly scoring an own goal, he was awarded man of the match. The last time was 4 months off. The one today was 10 months and he was coming into a back three that he would have never played with before. The opening five minutes were sloppy on his part, the other 85 were sensational. Another mistake was littered in there that led to the corner for the first disallowed goal for Chelsea but outside of that, he was back to his mercurial best. It’s a quality in a defender that can scare as much as it inspires and you sit on the edge as he tries things like a reverse step over in his box under immense but he came out with it and passed it as if it were nothing. These moments are just icings on the cake on the fact that he is a brilliant defender when he is on it. The block for Kovacic was reminiscent of something similar with Lukaku in 2016/17 season. It’s the same all or nothing nature that he displayed in those two last ditch attempts that can get him into trouble but him steering clear of injury in the future and a manager getting it out of him in the right ways is needed because he is too good to watch to be a player to only be remembered as one ravaged with injury.