Chelsea 4 - 0 United
Valencia Bailly(Rojo) Smalling Shaw
Lingard(Martial) Pogba Rashford
I must admit, I had high hopes for this game. I liked the discipline I saw vs. Liverpool and the intent vs. Fenerbache. I believed Mourinho had a plan that would be good enough to get at least a draw vs. Chelsea. However, our plan was quickly thrown out the window as Chelsea managed to score a goal after just 20 seconds. In such situations you either crumble or show a lot of character and get back in the game. We did the former.
Some of our defending was absolutely atrocious. The first goal featured some defensive mistakes that I wouldn’t even expect to see in a juniors game let alone a Premier League match. It all started with Blind keeping Hazard (they were probably 2 metres behind where our backline was) onside and then Smalling and De Gea not communicating together. Comical.
What followed in the actions that led to Chelsea’s other three goals were also instances of bad defending. This was probably Smalling’s worst game since he was sent off vs. City two years ago. Blind also had a nightmare. Bailly could have been stronger in his tackling and Valencia was the best out of the bad bunch. To make matters worse Bailly had to be subbed off and who comes in to replace him? The not so dependable Marcos Rojo. We definitely need to bolster our defensive options. Hopefully Shaw will be back to full fitness soon.
I was really disappointed with our defensive midfielders. Herrera failed to stamp his authorithy on the game and Fellaini was inexistent. Our Belgian looked uninspired and lazy and was subbed off at halftime. Luiz’s knee-high tackle just before the break might have caused that substitution but Fellaini’s performance was really poor. Why Carrick isn’t involved in these games I just don’t know. He’s our best passer.
Rashford and Lingard tried hard but they didn’t really do much. Jesse did create a chance or two from outside the box but that was just about it. Rashford was too wasteful when in possession which is very much not like him. But out of the advanced midfield of three, Pogba was the most disappointing. For the amount of money we paid you’d expect to have a player who can make his presence felt in such big games. Ok, every player is a human being and can have off days but Pogba has had a day off in all our big games this season. Where was he vs City, Liverpool and now against Chelsea? It was also very odd to see him play off the striker when he’s obviously more effective in the middle of the park where he can roam freely.
Finally, I need to mention the player who seems to be escaping all criticism from our fans; Ibrahimovic. We needed him in these big games but he failed to deliver. If it was Rooney who had the performances Ibra’s been having lately we’d all go mental and call for his head. The mighty Zlatan could have won us the game vs Liverpool and should have equalised today just after Chelsea’s opener. The outcome would have been much different if he did what he’s expected to do from 6 yards out. However, he failed to head home a perfect Valencia cross. I don’t expect him to run his socks off during the game but heading is his forte and I expect him to finish such opportunities. I don’t see many people saying that he should be dropped but he should be treated like Rooney and any other player; if you give nothing to the team than you shall be dropped to the subs bench.
Manchester City next. I will be supporting the Red Devils at Old Trafford during the next two games. There won’t be any posts on this blog after either game but there will be a post when I return home from Manchester. Come on United!
PS. David Luiz should have been sent off before halftime. Atkinson you c***.