Chelsea vs. Manchester United  3 - 3

Article

Carrick rues dropped points

6 February 2012 15:16

Manchester United's Michael Carrick said his side should have beaten Chelsea on Sunday, after coming back from three goals down to draw.

United fell behind to a Jonny Evans own-goal in the first half after controlling much of the play and then saw Chelsea extend their lead with goals from Juan Mata and David Luiz early in the second period.

However, the visitors fought back with two penalties from Wayne Rooney and an equaliser in the final 10 minutes coming from the head of Javier Hernandez.

Midfielder Carrick admitted feeling disappointed with the draw, despite his side having overcome a three-goal deficit, insisting that United should have perhaps won the game.

Speaking to MUTV, Carrick said: "We were slightly disappointed in the end."

"Obviously, when you're 3-0 down and have your backs against the wall, if someone offers you a point then you'll be happy with that but getting a third goal with a fair bit of the game to go, we fancied ourselves to go on and win it."

"We probably looked like the likelier team to do it. They had a good free-kick but it's a strange feeling in many ways, it was an up and down afternoon and in the end, a point is a point and we can take an awful lot from that game."

"We played well in the first half and created some opportunities. Even when we were 1-0 down at half-time we were a bit stunned and surprised but that's how it was and we had to deal with it."

The 30-year-old, who has been one of United's form players recently, added that the comeback could provide Sir Alex Ferguson's men with a mental boost in the title race.

"I think other teams who were watching that and seeing us go 3-0 down, they would have been thinking what a good afternoon it has been for them," he said.

"Then for us to come back in the manner we did might give them a little dent and a boost for us."

Article

Villas-Boas fuming after ´dubious´ penalty calls

6 February 2012 00:05

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas slammed referee Howard Webb after watching his side blow a three goal lead against Manchester United.

United comeback was kick-started by two penalties awarded by Webb, with Wayne Rooney converting both spot kicks before Javier Hernandez netted the equaliser in the 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Villas-Boas believed Webb was compensating for decisions that went against United in the first half as he pointed to the spot twice in three minutes after Chelsea had taken a 3-0 lead.

"We expect in top games top refs, and it has not been happening for us," Villas-Boas said.

"It didn’t happen for us at Old Trafford with two off-side goals and maybe with today’s dubious decision, which, in the end, shaped the running of the game."

"The biggest disappointment is the way it happened. In both games they (referees) have had a direct influence on the result and today a dubious decision helped stimulate United to 3-3."

"I don't know if he (Webb) is compensating for something in the first half. The second one is a wrong decision. (Danny) Welbeck’s legs got caught with Ivanovic. You can't give a penalty for that, I'm sure. I don't know if Howard Webb has the correct angle to make that decision."

Nevertheless, Villas-Boas paid tribute to United’s resilience in mounting a comeback from three goals behind.

"The 3-3 is almost a normal score for them," he said. "Their players never give up. It is not the result they would have wanted, for sure, but the draw, coming back from 3-0, is important."

Not surprisingly, Sir Alex Ferguson had no qualms about the penalties awarded to Manchester United, and said he thought his side had been the better team.

"The two penalties in the second half were justified. I think we could have had four in the game," Ferguson told Sky Sports.

"It's two points dropped. We played so well, apart from the 10 minutes straight after halftime where we got off to a terrible start and lost two goals in five minutes.

"But, it's not easy to come back from two goals down. That is a massive effort from our players. I thought we were the far better team."

"It was a massive effort from the team, and a great game. For a neutral watching that game it was fantastic."

Article

Premier League: Chelsea 3 Manchester United 3

5 February 2012 19:23

Two penalties from Wayne Rooney brought Manchester United back from the dead to draw 3-3 with Chelsea in a thriller at Stamford Bridge.

The hosts were riding high on a three-goal lead shortly before the hour mark, with an own goal from Jonny Evans and a David Luiz header either side of a Juan Mata stunner giving the Blues the advantage.

But United unleashed a second-half onslaught to rescue a point, with Rooney and Javier Hernandez the heroes for the Red Devils.

United went into the game having failed to win in their past nine visits to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, and looked to the returning duo of Rooney and Ashley Young to spearhead the attack along with Danny Welbeck.

Chelsea, meanwhile, handed a first start to new signing Gary Cahill, with skipper John Terry ruled out through injury.

United had the lions' share of possession in the opening exchanges, and looked the more likely to break the deadlock as Rooney and Welbeck began to combine well up top.

The visitors were left to feel aggrieved with referee Howard Webb as they had two strong penalty appeals turned down within the space of 10 minutes.

First, Young went over under a nudge from Jose Bosingwa, then Welbeck was felled by Cahill as he ran through on goal, but neither decision went the way of the Red Devils.

The game remained fairly balanced towards the end of the half, but then out of the blue, the Blues struck the first blow.

Mata and Fernando Torres worked the space to the left of United's penalty area, and Daniel Sturridge wove his way in behind Patrice Evra before running at the near post. His cut-back took a nick of David De Gea's outstretched leg before striking Evans in the chest and nestling in the back of the net.

The goal brought the game to life, as Sturridge then tested De Gea from distance before a United onslaught closed out the first half, with Petr Cech denying Rooney on two occasions and Welbeck from close range.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side looked the most likely to grab the next goal, but just 40 seconds after the restart, Chelsea doubled their lead in emphatic style.

Torres got the ball in space on the right flank, and picked out Mata with a pin-point cross before the former Valencia man rifled home a sumptuous volley from inside the area.

And just five minutes later, Andre Villas-Boas' side had a third, after Mata's free-kick was flicked on by Luiz and turned home by Rio Ferdinand's shoulder.

It was further insult to the England international, as he suffered a torrent of abuse from the home fans throughout due to the ongoing race row between his brother Anton and Chelsea's Terry.

Desperate for a way back in to the game, Ferguson threw on Hernandez to bolster the attack, and shortly before the hour mark, United grabbed a lifeline.

Sturridge brought down Evra inside the Chelsea box, and it was third time lucky for the visitors as referee Webb pointed to the spot. Rooney crashed home the ensuing penalty in to the top right-hand corner to keep his side in the game.

With such an open game, chances were coming thick and fast. De Gea had to get down low to save from Florent Malouda, while Cech denied Rooney from the edge of the area after good link-up play between the England man and Hernandez.

But it was the champions who struck next, again from a Rooney penalty, after Welbeck was caught by the outstretched leg of Branislav Ivanovic following good work from Hernandez.

The Bridge had gone from rocking to rocky, and it almost got worse for the hosts when substitute Oriol Romeu gave the ball away in his own half, but Hernandez could only fire wide across goal after being played in by Ryan Giggs.

Torres was then gifted a golden opportunity as a simple ball bounced over Evans' head, but the Spaniard dallied on the ball after driving goalwards and was eventually robbed by Valencia.

And with less than 10 minutes to go, Torres - and Chelsea - were left to rue that miss, as United's famous comeback was completed.

Valencia and Welbeck combined well down the right. The former’s cross was gathered in by Rooney, whose shot was parried by Cech to Giggs before the Welsh veteran picked out Hernandez with a cross and the Mexican headed home the equaliser.

Chelsea could have stolen the three points at the death when Mata's free-kick seemed destined for the top corner, but De Gea did brilliantly to turn the ball behind.

In the end, the sides had to settle for a point apiece from a match which will rightly go down in the annals of Premier League classics.

Article

Premier League preview: Chelsea v Manchester United

4 February 2012 00:18

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata believes Sunday's English Premier League clash against Manchester United can define his club's season.

Mata, who joined Chelsea for 23.5 million pounds from Valencia in the off-season, has been one of his side's rare shining lights in a season in which they trail co-leaders Manchester City and United by 12 points.

And although Mata cast doubt on Chelsea's ability to win the title, he feels that Sunday's match can set up the second half of their season as they aim to secure an automatic qualification spot for the UEFA Champions League.

"You can never say anything is impossible in football," Mata said.

"But at the moment the gap is too big between us and the Manchester clubs. There's too many points. But we know we can still improve on the pitch."

"We need to reduce the gap on Spurs but to do that we need to keep winning - just win, win and win."

"That's why the match with United is so important to us in terms of belief and morale - to beat the champions is very important and that’s the challenge for the whole squad. We are all very focused on this game."

"United are also missing players and it is very important that we improve and show our best level on the pitch."

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 11 matches in the Premier League, but draws with the likes of Wigan Athletic, Norwich City and Swansea City have cost them valuable points.

And they will not have it easy when they host a buoyant Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side joined table-toppers City on 54 points after they beat Stoke 2-0 and City lost 1-0 at Everton on Tuesday.

Goal difference means City top the table but United have made a habit of storming home in the second half of the season.

The next month will be crucial in their title bid, with fixtures against Chelsea (fourth), Liverpool (sixth) and Tottenham (third) all on the agenda.

If United sort out their goalkeeping conundrum they will go a long way to winning the title, with David de Gea, Anders Lindegaard and Ben Amos all playing in goal for the club this season.

Amos played against Stoke and impressed but if De Gea has recovered from sickness he is likely to feature.

The likes of Wayne Rooney, Nani and Ashley Young (all ankle) could make a return for the match but Phil Jones has been ruled out.

John Terry (knee) and Frank Lampard (calf) could feature for Chelsea, who will miss Ashley Cole through suspension.

Article

Ferguson braced for Chelsea challenge

3 February 2012 19:59

Sir Alex Ferguson expects the same old rivalry but with a new twist when Manchester United face Andre Villas-Boas' Chelsea on Sunday.

A buoyant United head to Stamford Bridge level on points with Manchester City at the top of the English Premier League table, and will be looking to increase the pressure on their neighbours and rivals with victory in west London.

Ferguson's team can take confidence from five wins in their last six matches against Chelsea in all competitions, but have not beaten them away from home in their last nine meetings, a run stretching back 10 years.

"It's not an easy game going to Stamford Bridge, 2002 is a decade but in that period, Chelsea have risen to prominence," he said.

"In the last seven years we've battled with them for league titles so therefore we expect it to be a hard game and it will be a hard game."

"The last seven years have been battles with Chelsea. The previous decade it was Arsenal. There's been terrific battles between the two of us. It's been nip and tuck for several years."

In their three consecutive matches against the promoted sides, Chelsea have dropped points against both Swansea and Norwich and are hardly in threatening form.

However, Ferguson knows former Porto manager Villas-Boas needs time to consolidate a squad which is undergoing its most significant transformation since Roman Abramovich's first season as owner.

"It's a new manager with a new way of play. You can see his team - he's brought three different players and I noted when we played them in the home game they had changed their style from the previous Chelsea teams," Ferguson said.

"When a new manager comes in it's always a problem after someone so successful as (Carlo) Ancelotti and change will take time."

"If he wants to play his way, then let him. Everyone has their own way and philosophy of doing things and I think that's what we're seeing with Chelsea at the moment."

With as many as 11 players missing from the United side that defeated Stoke 2-0 at Old Trafford last Tuesday, Ferguson is now holding out for some good news on the injury front.

"We hope that (Wayne) Rooney, Nani, (Ashley) Young and (Tom) Cleverley will all be in the squad," he said.

"Obviously Young has been out for a few weeks and Cleverly has been out for a few months."

"Hopefully Rooney and Nani are okay. They've trained in the last two days so we'll see what they're like today."

Article

Mata looking for quick response

3 February 2012 15:42

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata says the squad is keen for a 'quick reaction' to their recent poor form when they host Manchester United on Sunday.

The star-studded London club have drawn their last two Premier League games – against newly promoted sides Swansea and Norwich – leaving them 12 points behind leaders Manchester City and Manchester United.

Mata is hopeful the clash with United at home can kick-start their stuttering campaign.

"The whole squad is not content with our game at the moment," Mata told the Daily Mirror.

"We are not functioning well enough in the Premier League and we need a quick reaction. That is our main objective."

"You can never say anything is impossible in football. But at the moment the gap is too big between us and the Manchester clubs. There's too many points."

"We need to reduce the gap on (third-placed) Spurs but to do that we need to keep winning - just win, win and win."

"That’s why the match with United is so important to us in terms of belief and morale - to beat the champions is very important and that’s the challenge for the whole squad. We are all very focused on this game."

Mata said United would present formidable opposition on Sunday, despite their lengthy injury list.

"I know United from my time at Valencia and it is a sensational squad. Players missing or not, we know it will be a hard match as both teams need the victory," he said.

"Perhaps the danger is their midfield. Even if they miss Nani we must stop their forwards getting service."

"(Paul) Scholes and (Ryan) Giggs are legends in football. It's a great challenge to play against them and something to remember."

Article

Ferguson hopeful of Rooney return

1 February 2012 15:00

Sir Alex Ferguson is hopeful attacking duo Wayne Rooney and Nani will be available for Manchester United's trip to Chelsea this Sunday.

The pair has missed United's last two games - the 2-1 FA Cup defeat at the hands of Liverpool and their 2-0 win over Stoke on Tuesday.

But Ferguson is optimistic Rooney and Nani could be available for their crucial trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend, as well as long-term absentee Ashley Young.

"We're hopeful Wayne Rooney, Nani and possibly Ashley Young will be fit for Sunday," Ferguson told MUTV.

The United boss is also sweating on the fitness of goalkeepers Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea, who were both injured in the run up to United's win over Stoke, with 21-year-old Ben Amos likely to once again deputise.

"Anders got injured in training and then David got injured at the end of training, so we had a right nightmare there," Ferguson said.

"Ben Amos didn't have a lot to do but he was confident and he was composed. I'm pleased with that."

The victory over Stoke took United to 54 points for the season, level with rivals Manchester City at the top of the table, but Ferguson refused to get carried away and said there was still a long way to go in the title race.

"It's still early doors," he said. "It's only the last day in January. I always say that March is a very important month, as well as the beginning of April. We play Manchester City in April, for instance."

Article

Premier League preview: Chelsea v Manchester United

28 February 2011 10:45

Chelsea head into their Premier League blockbuster with Manchester United on Tuesday rested and ready to win their way back into the top four.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side have played twice since Chelsea defeated FC Copenhagen 2-0 in Denmark last week and the Blues will hope to benefit from the rest in potentially their last chance to be involved in the Premier League title race.

A win would lift Chelsea into fourth, one of the Champions League spots, and see them trail table-topping United by 12 points with a game in hand, leaving captain John Terry to describe the fixture as a must-win match.

"We are very confident at home and the way they (United) play might help us," Terry said.

"I'm not sure how they are going to come at us but other teams that have come to the Bridge have sat back and we've found it hard to break them down. It is a must-win game for us and the fans are going to be up for it."

Despite the fact last year's Premier League runners-up were 4-0 winners at Wigan on Saturday, they have just won four league matches on the road this season and have not won at Stamford Bridge since a 3-0 triumph in 2002.

Chelsea's three-pronged attack of Fernando Torres, Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba could also cause Manchester United real problems and although Torres is yet to score for his new club after a 50-million-pound deadline day move from Liverpool, a goal on Tuesday could make him a fan favourite.

Chelsea will miss midfielder Yossi Benayoun while Alex and Yuri Zhirkov are also likely to miss out with knee and calf concerns respectively.

The fixture, originally scheduled for December but postponed due to heavy snow, means Manchester United have two massive Premier League fixtures in less than a week.

After travelling to Chelsea on Tuesday, Ferguson's side will travel to Merseyside in preparation for a match against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, in potentially a crucial week in the title race.

Nani, who has been one of the best performers all season for last year's Premier League runners-up, said it is vitally important his side do not lose either of the two fixtures, with Arsenal snapping at their heels.

"We have some tough games coming up," Nani said.

"It's the most important period of the season and I think that if we can beat Chelsea and Liverpool then we'll have a fantastic opportunity to win the league."

"But that's easy to say: it's much harder to do it. Chelsea and Liverpool are fantastic teams and obviously they're desperate to win as well. We know it won't be easy."

"Of course, we may not be able to win every game, and if we end up getting a draw against somebody then it's not the end of the world. The important thing is not to lose."

Manchester United are likely to be without defensive pair Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand due to ankle and calf injuries, while Anderson, Park Ji-Sung and Antonio Valencia are still weeks away from returning.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +64 89
2 38 +56 89
3 38 +25 70
4 38 +25 69
5 38 +5 65
6 38 +19 64
7 38 +10 56
8 38 +7 52
9 38 -3 52
10 38 -7 47
11 38 -7 47
12 38 -14 47
13 38 -1 45
14 38 -17 45
15 38 -20 43
16 38 -16 38
17 38 -23 37
18 38 -31 36
19 38 -30 31
20 38 -42 25