Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge this weekend, to seek revenge and break Manchester United’s curse at their “bogey” ground. However, a Ross Barkley equaliser cancelled out an Anthony Martial brace to break the Special One’s heart.
Ross Barkley Equaliser Earns Blues a Point
Sarri’s Solid Back Four
Maurizio Sarri has kept an unchanged back four, since the start of the Premier League season, consisting of; Marcos Alonso, César Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger. A first-half clean sheet came about due to the mature and organised backline, assembled by the Chelsea manager.
Throughout the course of the game, the defence moved up and down the pitch in a horizontal line and worked their offside trap masterfully. Offensively Rudiger and Alonso were both proving threats to the United back line. Poor marking by Paul Pogba and a well-placed header by Rudiger put Chelsea ahead inside 22 minutes. Alonso had the chance to double Chelsea’s lead in the first half, but a poor first touch squandered his opportunity.
For the most part, it was clear that the logistics of the Chelsea back line were well rehearsed. However, a minor lapse in concentration saw Alonso out of position, forcing Eden Hazard to track back into his own half, and earning a yellow card in the process.
Luiz came close late in the second half, and Rudiger’s positioning and desire to get to the ball helped Barkley score the late winner.
The overall tone of the game was a rather mundane and stale one, however, early pressures by United were absorbed well through a series of clean tackles and blocks.
Both of Martial’s goals were conceded due to individual brilliance and no one in the back four could really have the finger pointed at them.
Sarri-Ball vs Park The Bus
A mundane first half consisted of classy passing through the “Sarri-Ball” philosophy. Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic were able to effectively distribute and play some intricate passes due to United’s will to absorb the pressure as opposed to applying it. What seemed reminiscent of Barcelona’s tiki-taka style of play, throughout the 90 minutes, Chelsea were fearless when playing passes in the final third.
Mourinho set up with a very defensive minded philosophy, his men would absorb the pressure and then punt the ball forward in a slip shot attempt at creating a counter attack.
The second half reversed the roles. United mimicked their excellent second-half display against Newcastle two weeks ago, whereas Chelsea took their foot off the pedal and invited the pressure onto them.
United fans may feel robbed after the Ross Barkley equaliser. However, with all factors considered a draw was a fair result.
Arguably one of the most intense endings of a Premier League game. Mourinho’s men were inching closer to the final whistle, on the way to a historic win. But it was former Everton man, Ross Barkley who spoiled the fun. Some schoolboy defending towards the latter of stoppage time, allowed Barkley to put the ball into De Gea’s net to share the points.
However, the spotlight was what took place on the sideline. With tensions running high during added time, emotions spewed onto the touchline after assistant, Marco Ianni, celebrated flamboyantly in front of United’s bench. A reaction from Mourinho and apology from Sarri will steal tomorrow’s headlines.
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