Chelsea fell behind early at Old Trafford (Juan Mata!), but for once, did not completely collapse and made it a fairly even affair for the rest of the first-half, collecting a lucky reward at the end as David De Gea produced another howler and Marcos Alonso was on hand to put the ball in the back of the net.
The second half began as a much more languid affair, belying the importance of the points on hand, but eventually came to life as the tackles started flying in. But both teams were more concerned, seemingly, with not wanting to lose.
And so, neither did.
- Sarri displeasing many by restoring Alonso and Kovačić to the starting lineup, but there were some unconfirmed reports that Emerson had not even traveled (illness?) and Loftus-Cheek had talked about the physical toll Monday’s game took on his body.
- Rüdiger’s knee doesn’t hold up after just two weeks of recovery after seemingly re-injuring it in the second half. Christensen replaced him. Sad to see Bailly also pick up what looks like a major knee problem a few minutes later.
- Like-for-like substitutions as RLC replaced Kovačić, and Pedro replaced the semi-injured Willian.
- Shout out to some atrocious and terrribly inconsistent refereeing. Matic (swining arm in the face of Azpilicueta), Bailly (two-footed on Alonso), and Rojo (leg-breaker on Willian) could’ve all beens sent off, as a start.
- Spurs and Arsenal losing earlier have solidified Chelsea’s spot in the top-four, with another point gained on the teams around us. Will still need at least four points form the last two games, but we control our destiny.
- Next up: Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, in the first leg of the Europa League semifinal.