There is no stadium in England that haunts Manchester United more than Stamford Bridge. The Reds have an appalling record at the Bridge, having won only 1 game in the last 16 seasons. Considering much better United teams of yesteryears had struggled against Chelsea, a draw would have been a dream result for the United fans. United did get a 2-2 draw in the end but the way that draw came, via a 96th minute Ross Barkley goal, felt like a defeat.
De Gea, Young(C), Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Martial, Rashford, Lukaku
David De Gea(GK): 8/10
De Gea was at his usual best for United. There was nothing he could do for Chelsea’s first goal but then he made some great saves throughout the match. Even in the end, he saved a Rudiger shot from point-blank range but was unlucky that the rebound went straight to Barkley who tapped in from 2 yards.
Ashley Young(RB): 7/10
Young was given a very tough job of holding Eden Hazard and he did that quite effectively. He also combined well with the likes of Rashford and Mata to provide with an attacking impetus from the right-hand side.
Chris Smalling(CB): 8/10
Smalling gave probably his best performance of the season so far where he was alive to the quick movements of the Chelsea attackers. He was pretty dominant in the air as well and had Alvaro Morata in his back pocket for most parts of the game.
Victor Lindelof(CB): 7/10
Lindelof has looked a very shaky figure in these opening months of the season. He has been constantly caught out of position by the opposition attackers’ runs but at Stamford Bridge, he looked like a 30 million pound center-half. He had a great game alongside Smalling and even took all the chances he had to pass out from the back.
Luke Shaw(LB): 8/10
Shaw has been United’s player of the season for the past two months and the 23 year old was offered a new contract last week. The English international was at his solid best at both ends of the pitch.
Nemanja Matic(CDM): 5/10
Matic is usually the calmest of all players for Manchester United, having the complete trust of Jose Mourinho. But at Stamford Bridge, he was overwhelmed by the Chelsea midfielders’ constant movement. He was pickpocketed thrice in first 45 minutes itself and was even booked early on in the game for a foul on Eden Hazard. His game improved in the second half where he was intercepting the balls played in by the likes of Jorginho and Barkley and looked to release United on the counter-attack.
Paul Pogba(LCM): 6/10
Pogba literally had a game of two halves. He couldn’t do a single correct thing in the first half and it was his poor marking of Antonio Rudiger that directly led to Chelsea’s opening goal. But in the second half, a completely different Paul Pogba came out of the tunnel. He was at his scintillating best. He took on players and dribbled past them for fun. It was his move that he started on the halfway line by nutmegging Jorginho that led to United’s first goal.
Juan Mata(RCM): 9/10
For the first time in many years, Mata was given a starting role that didn’t force him to stick to the right wing. Playing as a No.8, Mata just seemed to have rolled back the years as he constantly found the small pockets of spaces that made life very difficult for the Chelsea defenders. With his clever play in and around the box, he was heavily involved in the build-up of both the United goals.
Marcus Rashford(RW): 4/10
Returning from a successful international break where he scored for England in a 3-2 win over Spain, Rashford was expected to continue the same form in a Manchester United shirt as well but it didn’t exactly turn out to be that way. Rashford was very poor in the first half where he failed to get past his opponents and even constantly lost the balls when he was set on a counter attack. He didn’t cause Chelsea much trouble in the second half either but it was his incisive pass that found Martial, who finished with aplomb.
Anthony Martial(LW): 8/10
United’s hero of the afternoon, Martial, didn’t have a good start to the game. For most of the opening half, he was isolated on the left and even when he got the ball and looked to dribble, he was contained by Cesar Azpilicueta. But like most of his teammates, Martial was a beast in the second period. His touch to control a bouncing ball and then to turn and shoot for the first goal was a brilliant poachers finish. But it was the second goal that was bent into the bottom corner to give keeper no chance that brought back the happy memories for the United faithful.
Romelu Lukaku(ST): 6/10
Lukaku had to survive off scraps in the first half but when United as a whole started to attack more, Lukaku got more touches of the ball and started to influence the game. He only had a single chance for himself; a half chance to score from a Luke Shaw cross in the first half. But in the second half, he also started to look for the likes of Pogba and Mata with his clever balls from the right.