LONDON — Three factors on Chelsea 1-Zero Manchester United within the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
1. United problem falls flat at Stamford Bridge
Alvaro Morata ended his six-game aim drought with a surprising second half header as Chelsea responded to their midweek Champions League humiliation at Roma with a 1-Zero win towards Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
The defeat, United’s second within the league this season, leaves Jose Mourinho’s crew eight factors adrift of leaders Manchester City in second place with hopes of a title problem fading quick.
And the consequence additionally prolonged United’s dismal run in entrance of aim towards final season’s prime six. Since the beginning of final season, United have scored simply as soon as in 630 minutes away from house within the Premier League towards Chelsea, Tottenham, City, Liverpool and Arsenal — the solitary aim a comfort strike by Wayne Rooney throughout a 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane.
United not often regarded like scoring on this event both, with Marcus Rashford heading over within the first half after Romelu Lukaku compelled a save from Thibaut Courtois with a flip and shot on 16 minutes.
Lukaku has now gone seven video games with out a aim for United and his lacklustre efficiency was in stark distinction to that of Morata — the participant United rejected in favour of the Belgian.
Morata’s aim, his first since September, will do wonders for the Spaniard’s confidence, however the victory might be extra necessary for his supervisor, Antonio Conte. The Italian is working beneath fixed stress as a result of champions’ gradual begin to the season, however a win towards United and Mourinho will all the time work in a Chelsea supervisor’s favour and this consequence will badist to regular the ship.
It will do the alternative for Mourinho and United, although. Their brilliant begin to the season has been forgotten with a collection of poor shows and outcomes. This newest failure to win, and rating, towards a prime six rival is not going to badist Mourinho’s temper both.
2. Eden Hazard sprinkles stardust
There had been instances on this recreation when it was just about the Eden Hazard Show.
Chelsea’s No.10 can blow cold and warm, each throughout 90 minutes and a season as an entire, however the Belgian midfielder showcased his clbad and rising maturity with an distinctive efficiency towards United.
Whenever Hazard had the ball, Chelsea regarded able to choosing a gap within the United defence and he picked a cross on multiple event to unlock the door.
He compelled a tremendous one-handed save from David De Gea within the first half earlier than aiming a tamer shot on the United keeper from Cesc Fabregas’ cross early within the second half.
There was additionally the second after the break when Phil Jones was booked for a crude problem on Hazard, which was a type of tackles designed to knock Chelsea’s inventive drive off his stride.
But Hazard is nothing if not courageous, each with the ball and with out it, and he was capable of experience off the tough challenges to stay a continuing risk to United.
His potential to dictate the tempo of a recreation and create openings additionally uncovered United’s shortcomings, with Mourinho’s crew depressingly gentle on comparable qualities.
The former Chelsea supervisor has constructed a crew in his personal picture at United — dour and stubborn — however it’s now determined for an injection of aptitude.
With Hazard of their crew, United could be a formidable drive, however with out him, they’re flat-footed and predictable.
three. Rashford being wasted
There is a hazard that Mourinho may inadvertently harm Rashford’s confidence and halt his improvement if he continues to pick the younger ahead to play out huge whereas Lukaku searches for type.
Mourinho has made it clear that Lukaku, with out a aim for the reason that finish of September, is “untouchable” in his beginning lineup, however the Belgian is struggling to justify his place.
Yet with Lukaku battling for targets and confidence, Rashford has been left to play off the previous Everton ahead on the left flank, reducing in when he can and utilizing his tempo to get in behind opponents.
But Rashford is being requested to do a thankless activity, largely with out service, and the frustration in his play is turning into evident.
At 20, he could also be younger, however he’s now not inexperienced and he has already proved his potential to carry out and rating whereas taking part in by means of the centre.
He can also be extra ready to work the channels and stress his opponents than Lukaku, so the time might have come for Mourinho to drop Lukaku and play Rashford by means of the center.
If he does not, he’ll threat losing Rashford’s expertise ready the place he can not have an effect on the sport as a lot as if he was the centre-forward.
Mark Ogden is a senior soccer author for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_