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Chelsea 1 - Manchester United 0: Initial reaction and community rating form

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Ian Walton/Getty Images

Nine points to go. After 32 Premier League matches, Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side need just nine more points to clinch the 2014/15 Premier League title, and given that second-place Arsenal are our next opponents, simply winning their next two matches would see them crowned champions before the beginning of May.

With Manchester United in excellent form and Marouane Fellaini providing a unique challenge behind Radamel Falcao, Mourinho lined up with a midfield pairing of Nemanja Matic and Kurt Zouma in the pivot, and after an early hiccup which allowed Wayne Rooney a free look at goal, that duo looked fairly solid.

As they do fairly often, Chelsea struck first through Eden Hazard. Unlike what we've become accustomed to of late though, the Blues didn't gift United an equalizer, and held on for a fairly comfortable win. With that win, a the Blues have guaranteed that they can finish no worse than fourth this season, guaranteeing Champions League football.

Thoughts:

  • I thought Didier Drogba was excellent today, providing an outlet, and finding his more creative teammates when he took control of the ball. I guess he felt he had something to prove following that nightmare at Loftus Road.
  • Like David Luiz last season, Kurt Zouma is clearly more effective with less positional responsibility when deployed in the midfield. That's easy enough to understand, given that he's only played in the midfield a handful of times.
  • Both Oscar and Cesc Fabregas looked much better today than they have in recent matches.
  • I loved the ovation that Juan Mata got from Stamford Bridge as he was subbed off in the 70th minute.I love the fact that he stayed relatively quiet on Saturday as well.
  • Mike Dean need to re-read the section of the Laws of the Game concerning handballs. He missed four obvious ones today, two of which should have resulted in cards.
  • One big positive of the dip in form of many Chelsea attackers in this season's second half has been Hazard's willingness to shoot more often as a result. In the long run, that ought to be of huge benefit to the Blues.
  • I love the way Mourinho breaks up the flow of the game by making a pair of separate substitutions in stoppage time, when both players are already stripped down and ready to go at the same time.