Phew, what a result, what a result! Chelsea's now three points clear of Spurs in fifth and one point clear of Arsenal in fourth, who also have played one extra match already. This is a fantastic position for Chelsea and fantastic may be understating things.
A few random thoughts, as I'm still trying to process the last 10 minutes:
- Demba Ba could've scored twice in the first six minutes. Oscar then hit the post and Victor Moses skied a clear shot from the top of the box. Chelsea could've been up three in the first 20 minutes.
- Mata pulling strings early; Oscar running & working hard. The latter clearly got very tired and drifted out of the match in the second half.
- Demba Ba was providing a good target for goal kicks and was fine in a holdup role.
- Mellow pace for the most of the first half. United playing without too much pace or verve. Chelsea settling in to match it after a bright start.
- United's plan: low crosses into box, Cech's & the defense's kryptonite. But Petr Cech dealt with all of them quite well; David Luiz & Ivanovic showed once again that they are this season's best center back pairing.
- First 25 min of the second half more of the same. Neither team really threatened, but then United started ratcheting up the pressure as you knew they would. Chelsea coped well.
- We narrowly avoided the end of the world when Juan Mata almost scored a header.
- You know if anybody on United acts like David Luiz did on that Rafael tackle / kick / red card, we all collectively lose our shit. But hey, tribalism is cool, right?
- Howard Webb final count: 14 fouls vs. 9 fouls, 2 yellow vs. 1 yellow, 1 red vs 0 reds. But Manchester bias, right? Never any calls for Chelsea? All I see is your standard refereeing performance, at times perhaps influenced by the crowd, which is the exact definition of home field advantage. Most importantly, he did NOT call Ramires for a foul when he tackled Rooney. Yes, it was a clean tackle (unless you're Ray Wilkins), but if there was "BIAS," that was an easy call as Rooney sold it well. He also controlled the situation when everybody got a bit five-second-angry.
THERE'S ONLY JUAN MATA!