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After defeating Manchester United, the title is now in touching distance for the blues. Initially Chelsea struggled, but did well to score from their first proper chance on the night through Hazard. It was enough for the Blues to win the match 1-0.
Let us look at the five talking points from Chelsea’s victory against Manchester United:
Manchester United missed Carrick
As soon as Michael Carrick walked away with injury last week, United fans to an extent forgot about their dominating performance against Manchester City and were concerned for the next weeks trip. Now, we can understand the reason for it. United looked decent in possession, but it was when they lost the ball, the fans missed Carrick’s presence in the team. Everytime Chelsea had the ball they got behind United’s defence easily and were able to take on their defenders, which was largely due to Carrick’s absence. If the England international had not picked up an injury, he would have sat in front of the defenders and would have offered them great protection. Certainly he wouldn’t have let Oscar and Hazard roam so freely behind United’s midfield for their opening goal. Louis Van Gaal will be praying for him to return soon from the injury to steady their ship.
One more reason why Hazard should win the PFA player of the year award
Among the six candidates being nominated for PFA player of the year award, Eden Hazard is a clear favourite for the award. His performance against United showed why he is the overwhelming favourite. Against United, Chelsea hardly had any ball to play their normal game. Whenever they did, the Blues passed it to Hazard on the left flank and the Belgian did not let them down and was insturmental in many of Chelsea attacks. Infact he retained the ball and regularly found his teammates amidst the intense pressue from United players. So no wonder it was Hazard who broke the deadlock in the tight battle. Its hard to imagine anyone other Hazard winning the award.
It is not the possession, but the chances which United need to create
At the end of the first half, compared to Chelsea’s 30 percent possession, Red Devils had an astonishing 70 percent of the ball. However, this doesn’t say the entire story, as United failed to hit the target even once in the first half. Infact to make things worse Chelsea went into the half time break in front despite having so little possesion. Jose Mourinho has yet again shown that it is not the amount of possession which will win the match, but the effective use of the ball, which will determine the teams performance. The Reds had plenty of ball, but possessed them in areas which did not hurt Chelsea much. Especially, in the final third, United hardly did much. Apart from the early Rooney scare, Mourinho was not scared enough by United players.
Mourinho has yet again surpassed his master
Back in 2010 champions league finals, Louis Van Gaal faced his former assitant when Mourinho’s Inter Milan beat Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich to lift the European cup. After a long wait the duo faced again last October, when a late Robin Van Persie strike shared the spoils. So when the duo battled again on Saturday night, the spotlight was on them and Mourinho yet again came out on top. In a battle of two greatest footballing brains, Mourinho’s tactics worked. He did well to keep United’s attackers on check despite the Reds having so much possesion. But, when Chelsea got the ball they moved it really well. It was in one such occasion, Chelsea scored. After Falcao lost the ball at halfway, Fabregas found Oscar, who beautifully backheeled to set up Hazard and the Belgian finished it well. At the end of the day those couple of passes made all the difference to hand Mourinho the victory against his former boss.
Chelsea can win the title in a fortnight
By beating Manchester United, Chelsea’s grip on winning the title has been strengthened. In fact Chelsea can win the title by the time they play their next league game at Stamford Bridge. Next week the Blues have to face second placed Arsenal at Emirates. After which they travel to Leicester in midweek. If they win both the matches, Chelsea are the champions. Even if they lose one of the match, they can still win the title a week or two later. But, the important thing is Chelsea are touching distance away from the title. If they manage to maintain their position at the top, then they can win their first title since the 2010 season, when the Blues won the league under Carlo Ancelotti.
Image Courtesy: Dailymail and Standard.co.uk