Chelsea vs. Manchester United  2 - 3

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Chelsea investigate steward incident

29 October 2012 00:55

Chelsea have announced an investigation into whether an object was thrown at an injured steward during their defeat to Manchester United.

The steward was hospitalised with a twisted knee, having injured himself after slipping on the turf following Javier Hernandez's winning goal in Manchester United's 3-2 victory at Chelsea's home ground.

Hernandez celebrated in front of the Chelsea supporters, who reacted angrily, and the steward was involved in ensuring the Manchester United striker's safety before falling to the ground and requiring treatment, which is when he allegedly was struck by a thrown object.

"We are looking at reports of objects that may have been thrown or incidents around the steward taking a fall," a Chelsea spokesman said after Sunday's game.

"We are investigating all the incidents around that time.

"My information so far is that he slipped and fell, may have hurt his knee, and was being treated by the side of the pitch.

"He's been taken to hospital."

Hernandez's goal came after both Branislav Ivanovic and, more controversially, Fernando Torres were sent off for Chelsea as they crashed to their first defeat of the Premier League season so far.

The loss reduced their lead at the top of the table to only one point from Manchester United and Manchester City.

Article

Di Matteo: Dodgy calls cost Chelsea

29 October 2012 00:28

Roberto Di Matteo laid the blame for his Chelsea side's 3-2 defeat to Manchester United firmly at the door of referee Mark Clattenburg.

The official sent off Fernando Torres for what he deemed a dive midway through the second half, while TV replays suggested Javier Hernandez was offside when he scored the winner for the Red Devils.

Clattenburg had earlier also red-carded Branislav Ivanovic for a professional foul, though the Italian accepted that decision.

"The key decisions from the referee today influenced the result," the manager told Sky Sports.

"He sent off Fernando Torres and the third goal is offside - those things have clearly decided the game in the favour of our opposition.

"Torres put the ball through Evans' legs, he's through and then gets kicked on the shin and goes down. It is as simple as that.

"It should be a free kick to us and maybe a red card for Evans because he is through to the goal. I was shocked. I thought it was going to be a foul for us, not against us.

"I've watched the replay of the third goal again and it's clear once Rafael shoots, Chicharito is in an offside position," Di Matteo added.

"Everything went for United in that sense and that makes us unhappy.

"I have spoken to the referee. He will probably watch it again and realise he has made mistakes but we can't change the result now and that is the biggest disappointment for us.

"I've no complaints about the first sending-off. I think Ivanovic tried to get out of his way but just clipped his heel before Young went down."

Di Matteo lamented his side's poor start as Chelsea conceded twice in the first 12 minutes but said he was pleased with their response, bringing the score back to level terms before the red cards.

"We had a slow start to the game," he observed.

"They were a bit lucky with the first goal that bounced off the post and onto David Luiz. With the second goal I think we defended badly.

"But then we had a great comeback and I thought the momentum had turned for us and that we were probably the most likely team to win the game. I think if we had just gone down to 10 men we would still have been able to cope but obviously the second sending-off made the game really difficult for us.

"I don't think we deserved to lose. When the game was even we showed how strong we are and I felt very confident we would go on to win the game, and even when we went down to 10, I didn't think we were going to lose."

Article

Premier League: Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3

28 October 2012 19:27

Manchester United climbed to within a point of the league summit with a 3-2 victory over nine-man Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Roberto Di Matteo's team recovered from 2-0 down to make it 2-2 early in the second half but had Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres sent off before substitute Javier Hernandez scored a 75th minute winner from what appeared to be an offside position.

A David Luiz own goal and Robin van Persie's ninth goal of the season had put United in command after 12 minutes but Chelsea responded in style, with Juan Mata's free-kick and Ramires' header either side of the break.

Just as the visitors gained control, Ivanovic and Torres were sent off within five minutes of one another midway through the second period, ensuring the hosts played the last 22 minutes with nine men.

United took full advantage, but it needed a controversial goal from Hernandez to give Sir Alex Ferguson's team their first win at Stamford Bridge in a decade.

Before the action began, all eyes were on the pre-match handshake. Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole drew a line under all that has happened over the past year by ignoring their lingering grievances to shake one another's hand.

It was Cole's defending, rather than his manners, that soon came under the microscope. Both of United’s goals inside the opening 12 minutes were forged on his flank as the visitors focused on the lack of protection the left-back was getting in front of him.

After four minutes, Rooney received the ball out wide and his expert cut-back was whacked right footed against the post by van Persie but the rebound struck the helpless Luiz and bounced past Petr Cech for an own goal.

Eight minutes later, van Persie was unerring with the accuracy of his second right-footer. Antonio Valencia spotted him unmarked in the box and, with complete concentration on the task, the former Arsenal man slotted in his sixth goal at Stamford Bridge.

The statistics suggested Chelsea had a mountain to climb. Before today, United had been two or more goals up in 346 Premier League games and never lost, winning 336 and drawing 10.

But Chelsea raised their game leading up to the break, forcing three athletic saves from David De Gea before Mata made Rooney paid for hauling down Eden Hazard outside the box with a beautiful curling free-kick after 44 minutes.

Eight minutes into the second half, United failed to clear following more excellent play from Mata and Ramires rose above Cleverley to emphatically head in Oscar's byline cross for the equaliser.

It all unravelled for Chelsea after that point. Ivanovic deservedly received a red card for a professional foul on Young after 63 minutes, cynically clipping the winger as he raced through on goal.

Inexplicably, Fernando Torres followed the right-back down the tunnel five minutes later. The Spaniard received a second yellow for simulation, even though replays clearly showed there was contact from Jonny Evans.

The officials ensured Roberto Di Matteo's post-match press conference would be an all-ticket affair by failing to spot that Hernandez was offside when he tapped in the winner 15 minutes from time.

Article

Rooney: We can´t concede early

28 October 2012 13:33

Wayne Rooney has warned his Manchester United team-mates they cannot afford to concede an early goal against Chelsea on Sunday.

Chelsea recruited Oscar and Eden Hazard in the off-season for a combined fee of almost 60 million pounds, joining Juan Mata in attack playing just behind Fernando Torres - and the combination has proved to be formidable so far.

Rooney has emphasised the need for United to prevent early goals from going in, especially at Stamford Bridge against an in-form Chelsea team.

"We don't want to be doing that (conceding early again) and against the best teams it will be difficult to get those goals to win games," Rooney said.

"It happened against Braga (in the Champions League in midweek) and we did well to get back into the game and win it.

"You can't afford to be going one or two goals down against Chelsea away – although we did last season. We went 3-0 down before we drew. But we can't do that again."

"Mata is a great player and Hazard has settled in really well in his first season so I think those two along with Torres are the three biggest threats.

"Torres is still a threat, of course. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves because he works hard for the team. Sometimes the goals go in for him, other times they don't, but he's always trying."

Chelsea are undefeated in the League, winning seven of their eight games whilst drawing the other against QPR.

"It's a great start and it’s clear having won the Champions League last season it has given them a lot more confidence, they have brought a lot of new players in and added more speed to the team," Rooney said.

Article

Di Matteo defends target Torres

27 October 2012 15:10

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has launched a passionate defence of his under-fire Spanish striker Fernando Torres.

The 50 million pounds record signing for the Blues has scored six goals in 12 games this term with his team top of the table, and his boss thinks criticism of the 28-year-old is misplaced.

"I have no concerns about Fernando," the Italian told reporters.

"He always works hard for the team and, whether he scores or not, he's always contributing. We can't just rely on one player, we want to share responsibility."

And share responsibility is what they have done, with Torres netting this season along with the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar and even defenders such as Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill.

Di Matteo has defended the Spaniard's all-round game, stressing that he is not just a goalscorer but also creates goals for others.

"Sometimes, he (Torres) gets more chances, sometimes less. But he's been scoring goals, he's been making goals, and we can't expect him to be scoring every game.

"He just had a difficult season (last year) but I think this season is completely different.

"He started very well, he's playing well, he's looking good, so I would rather focus the energy on now and the future. I think he's shown all the signs from this season.

"He's scored in the Community Shield, he's scored four league goals, he's scored one in the cup. So he's been scoring goals. But he's been making goals as well."

Ahead of Sunday's clash with Manchester United, the Champions League-winning manager was asked about his striker's one-on-one difficulties - with his famous Old Trafford miss at the forefront of many people's minds.

"Strikers are instinctive and it's difficult to understand what goes through their minds when they're in that position.

"I've never been a striker, so I wouldn't be able to know that. They have that instinct and he's always had it and he still has it."

Article

Di Matteo vows to attack United

26 October 2012 19:39

Roberto Di Matteo has targeted Manchester United's defensive problems as key to Chelsea's chances in their 'massive' clash on Sunday.

The Blues are currently sitting at the summit of the Premier League table with 22 points - but Manchester United are just four behind them in second.

And Di Matteo is aware of the game's significance, describing it as a 'classic' and declaring his intention to capitalise on United's recent defensive complications.

"It's a massive game for both clubs and a classic in the fixture list," Di Matteo told reporters.

"They are conceding a few goals and we have a big threat as well with our players, so we will try to exploit those weaknesses.

"We know Man United very well and they are always very difficult games. But we have to take advantage of our home crowd and our home pitch and play with the belief and confidence we've shown so far."

Di Matteo is also keen for Chelsea to put their 2-1 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League behind them, citing the United clash as the perfect opportunity to do so.

"After a defeat, it's not the best within our dressing room, but we have a great game coming up on Sunday and I think we can prove to everybody that we are a strong team," he said.

"They've recovered from a defeat in the first game very well. They are a strong team and were at the top last season and you wouldn't expect them to be anywhere else."

However, one thing the Italian manager insisted he would not engage in is the practice of mind games.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been notorious over the years for his use of the media, but Di Matteo doesn't think he himself needs to take such an approach.

"If I need to, I will, but there is no need and sometimes it doesn't have to be publicly," Di Matteo said.

"They didn't work last season, I think. You make it out a little bit more than it is at the end of the day.

"As a manager, you have to prepare your team as good as you can and then the players have to go on the pitch and perform."

Article

Mikel wants quick response

26 October 2012 15:19

John Obi Mikel wants Chelsea to respond from their loss to Shakhtar Donetsk by beating Manchester United in Premier League action on Sunday.

Shakhtar inflicted Chelsea's first competitive defeat of the season on Tuesday, and Mikel is hoping Roberto Di Matteo's men can work on their defensive solidity before they host United to prolong their unbeaten league run.

"When the first goal went in, it became very difficult," Mikel told the The Daily Mirror.

"We started chasing the game and the game became very open. Then they had more space to play in and it became very difficult for us.

"We have to make sure we get back into training and try and correct the mistakes that happened in Donetsk and try to defend better together as a team.

Mikel is all too aware of how Chelsea have struggled during the winter months in recent league campaigns, and is determined not to let the Shakhtar loss trigger a collapse.

"All of us know what has happened in recent seasons so we have to make sure that this defeat doesn't make that happen again. We have to make sure we correct it very quickly and that starts with the next game against United," he said.

"They will be very dangerous as usual and if we defend the way we did in Donetsk it's going to be difficult for us. We have to defend as a unit, play together as a unit. As long as we do that on Sunday, we'll have a very good chance."

Article

Evra bracing for Chelsea test

26 October 2012 14:32

Patrice Evra believes Manchester United are beginning to hit their best form but says they will have to work hard to overhaul Chelsea.

United travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday to take on Roberto Di Matteo's Premier League leaders knowing a victory will close the gap to just one point ahead of the visit of Arsenal six days later.

"This is a really important time of big moments and we need to show our best," Evra told United's official website.

"I think we started to do that at Newcastle but now we need to make sure we continue to do our job."

Despite last season’s title tussle with rivals Manchester City, Evra feels this season will involve a number of clubs battling it out at the top of the table, with the left-back picking out Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool as potential contenders.

"It is a difficult league. You can see that already this season. It's not only about United and City this season," he said.

"Chelsea are top at the moment, Tottenham are doing well and there's also Arsenal. And I'm sure Liverpool will come back strongly before the end of the season.

"The Premier League is not an easy league - this is why everyone wants to play in this league."

Article

Premier League preview: Chelsea v Manchester United

26 October 2012 01:53

League leaders Chelsea host Manchester United on Sunday in a clash that could have a major bearing on the outcome of the title race.

Chelsea have won seven of their opening eight matches to establish themselves as the team to beat in the English Premier League, despite their shaky form in the Champions League.

The European champions went down 2-1 to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, while United recorded their third victory from three group games after beating Braga 3-2.

But Chelsea remained buoyed by their best start to a Premier League campaign, with 22 points and impressive wins over Tottenham, Arsenal and Newcastle United.

United, second on 18 points, remain hot on Chelsea's heels, having scored 21 goals with the likes of Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck proving a formidable force up front.

Adding to that group is Javier Hernandez, who netted a brace against Braga and has created a selection headache for manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

"The boy is improving all the time," Ferguson told reporters.

"He is fantastic in training and he's always practising.

"His goal ratio for us is fantastic. For his second goal he bends around the back of the defender. He's given me a problem, but that's a good thing."

Chelsea, who have benefitted greatly from the form of attacking midfielders Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata, could be without experienced duo John Terry and Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge.

Terry is serving a suspension for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand, while Lampard remains in doubt after limping off in Donetsk with a calf injury.

United meanwhile are without defenders Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones through injury, although veteran Rio Ferdinand is expected to return to the backline after being rested against Braga.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25