Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
Chelsea opened up a five-point gap at the head of the Premier League table, thanks to a controversial goal from captain John Terry, fourteen minutes from time.
With the inevitability of daybreak, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson complained about the award of the goal. However, this time he wasn’t attempting to mask deficiencies in United’s display. He actually had a case. The goal arrived when Terry headed in Frank Lampard‘s free-kick from the left. But frontman Didier Drogba was standing in an offside position in the six-yard box as the ball went past him. And, in attempting to apply a touch to the ball before it crossed the line, he made himself active and, therefore, offside. The referee’s assistant didn’t flag, though, and the goal stood.
United played well enough to come away with a point. But Chelsea’s resilience under pressure, especially in the closing stages, marks them out as a side with all the necessary title-winning qualities. Chances were at a premium. And for all United’s possession, the best of them in the first half fell to the Blues, with Borislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka both forcing saves out of United keeper Edwin Van der Sar. Wayne Rooney had United’s two best efforts of the second period before the game’s decisive moments.
Aside from the offside, Ferguson railed at the award of the original free-kick against Darren Fletcher for a foul on Ashley Cole, and at Drogba fouling Wes Brown as the free-kick came across. Drogba, meanwhile, had just been booked after a clash with United defender Jonny Evans which saw Evans land his studs in his chest.
Antonio Valencia had United’s only clear chance during their late spell of pressure. But he capped off an unsatisfactory afternoon for United by hooking his right-foot shot wide. This Chelsea win decides nothing yet. But it could prove vital come next May.
Tags: Chelsea, Premier League, John Terry, Sir Alex Ferguson, Edwin Van der Sar, Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia