Chelsea vs. Manchester United
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Sunday, 23 October 2016
Kick-off: 16:00 BST
Manchester United’s Stamford Bridge woes continued as they were thumped 4-0 at Chelsea, leaving their record of just one league win there in 14 years.
Less than a minute in, Pedro opened the scoring, with Gary Cahill pouncing on some slack defending midway through the first half to double the lead.
Further strikes from Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante sealed a deserved victory for the Blues, condemning the returning Jose Mourinho to a miserable defeat.
A mix-up in communication 30 seconds in allowed Pedro to nip in ahead of fellow Spaniard David De Gea, and produce a left-footed finish into the empty net.
In a good chance to respond, Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed over from Antonio Valencia’s right-wing cross, as Hazard fired just wide after United were caught napping from a corner.
The latter was true not long later, as failure to clear their lines saw them punished, with Cahill’s strike of the loose ball deflecting in off Daley Blind.
Marcus Rashford saw an attempt blocked before Thibaut Courtois produced a double save, denying Ander Herrera and then Jesse Lingard’s rebound.
Rashford’s volley into the ground pitifully dropped over the bar, as Eric Bailly’s blocked on Diego Costa prevented a 3-0 scoreline as half-time arrived.
A swift Chelsea counter-attack forced Chris Smalling to block from Hazard, as Lingard saw a powerful drive palmed clear at the other end.
Maybe forgiven had Chelsea scored their third on the break as United searched for a route back into the game, but instead, Juan Mata lost the run of Hazard in a nothing spell for the hosts in retrospect, with the former rolling a finish into the bottom corner.
If the damage wasn’t already done, the smallest man on the park and defensive midfielder by trade Kante was allowed to waltz through the visitors’ backline, slotting away a neat finish as the home fans couldn’t believe their eyes.
Wild efforts from Pogba, wide, and Ibrahimovic, over, summed up the away side’s performance, as Diego Costa and Nathaniel Chalobah saw shots held, with Courtois denying Ibrahimovic with a fine low save.
The Belgian keeper also denied Marcos Rojo’s late drive from range, as full-time arrived on an afternoon to forget for United, whose record at this venue stands at just one league win in the past 16 visits.
Had a David Luiz challenge on Marouane Fellaini warranted the red card that it deserved in the first half, the game may have been different, but United failed to capitalise on a solid display last Monday at Anfield and their positive performance in midweek against Fenerbahce.
Back-to-back home fixtures now await, with Burnley the visitors next Saturday in the first 3pm kick-off of the season for the club.
Before then, neighbours Manchester City turn up for an EFL Cup fourth round tie on Wednesday at 8pm, as Mourinho looks to avenge September’s league defeat in the same fixture, and quickly erase the memory of today’s forgetful showing.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly (Rojo 52), Smalling, Blind; Fellaini (Mata 46), Herrera, Pogba; Lingard (Martial 65), Ibrahimovic, Rashford.
Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, Carrick, Young.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro (Chalobah 71), Costa (Batshuayi 78), Hazard (Willian 78).
Subs not used: Begovic, Terry, Aina, Oscar.
Manager: Antonio Conte