Jose Mourinho backs his words with performances, and last afternoon was one of the prime examples of this. Having been involved in a war of words with Antonio Conte in the month-long build-up to the big clash, Mourinho meticulously planned how to bring his former employers down at Old Trafford.
The fans were back to their electric best as they made it even more difficult for Chelsea to break down United’s defence on more than one occasion. It was a game in which Jose again displayed his tactical nous of the highest order and a victory over Chelsea cannot be sweeter than this, eh?
David de Gea: 5/10
An unusually shaky performance from the Spaniard as he struggled to keep hold of crosses coming into the box and was saved by Antonio Valencia on more than one occasion. Was visibly disgruntled for having let Willian’s shot go in.
Antonio Valencia: 6/10
The captain had a tough task facing Marcos Alonso on the flank and was guilty of letting the wingback run into the box a couple of times. However, he displayed his grit, determination, and strength afterwards by thoroughly blocking his flank with command.
Victor Lindelof: 6/10
The Swede was strong while defending but really should have dealt with Hazard in the build-up to Chelsea’s goal. Otherwise, he was concentrated throughout the game and gave one of his better performances.
Chris Smalling: 8/10
A surprisingly assured day for Smalling as he was commanding in defence and led the backline with confidence. He neatly challenged many times and delivered his best outing in recent times.
Ashley Young: 6/10
Had a mixed battle with Victor Moses as both the players were successful in getting the better of each other on a couple of occasions. However, it should be argued that Young settled better in the second half when Manchester United shifted their attacking focus to the left side of the pitch.
Nemanja Matic: 8/10
Nemanja Matic was alert, well-conditioned and quick on his feet as he effectively marked Willian and Eden Hazard during major portions of the game. He broke down attacks with some neat positioning and was a calming influence as usual.
Scott McTominay: 8/10
Lad’s 21. McTominay certainly did not allow Hazard to influence the game, as he would have liked to. The Scot was right up to the task and did the job that was assigned to Ander Herrera last time around. Though, there was a moment in the build-up to the first goal where he could have followed Hazard in a better way. However, he gradually reduced the Belgian’s impact and hence Hazard was subbed off for Giroud in the second half.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
Looked comfortable in the three-man midfield as Pogba stuck to the left channel and made inroads into the opposition box while dominating N’golo Kante entirely in the game.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
Martial was rather ineffective except for his part in the build-up to Lukaku’s goal. Azpilicueta read his crosses inside the box quite early and hence Martial was eventually brought off for Jesse Lingard.
Alexis Sanchez: 5.5/10
Sanchez looked a bit pre-occupied in marking Drinkwater and hence was relieved when he was shifted to the left side of the pitch for a short time after Martial left the field.
Romelu Lukaku: 9/10
This was Lukaku’s best performance in the United shirt and what a time to bring it on. Lukaku displayed some sheer strength in holding off Kante for the first goal, before battling with Christensen in the air and then moving into the box to finish off calmly. He assisted Lingard’s winner and could have scored two incredible goals; one with an overhead kick and the other one via a solo run in the injury time. Amazing!
Jesse Lingard: 9/10
Lingard did almost everything right since his introduction to the game as he broke down attacks, started off attacks and scored a neat header helped by a well-timed run into the box. A near perfect performance, again.
Eric Bailly: N.A
Bailly made an appearance after around four months as United shifted to a three-man defence late in the game.