Before I talk about the match. I just want to address two things and i feel should be addressed about two players in Manchester United squad
Let’s make some things clear about Paul Pogba. Paul Pogba is only 23, he still has plenty of time to mature as a midfielder and the most important thing for him right now is to adapt to the league, and for Mourinho to get the best out of him. Paul Pogba is not going to score and assist in every game. He is a midfielder. They do more than score goals and assist. They control the game and make sure the ball flows through to the final third. And finally, Paul Pogba’s price tag means nothing. Manchester United have paid over a billion to the Glazer’s and no one says a word about that. Money means nothing now. If a club wants a player that will benefit their team, they get them. And that’s what Pogba does. He gives our midfield more movement. It was seen last season how poor our midfield was, and he’s given it more energy and movement.
If I could choose a player to get rid of this summer, it would be Chris Smalling. This season he has returned to his typical clumsy self. Last season was a fluke and an illusion. Smalling was seen last season to be a great centre back, even one of the best in the league, and that is simple to explain. Van Gaal played a very cautious style of football, giving Smalling a simple role because of the lack of threat other teams usually posed against us. We also had two defensive midfielders in front of the defence, so we nullified the threat. Smalling never had much to do, and if he made a mistake there would be someone (Daily Blind) there to recover the ball. Daily Blind maked Smalling look like a competent centre half. Anyways, to the game.
Manchester United only had one fit striker for this game, with Zlatan suspended and Martial and Rooney injured. It was up to local lad, Marcus Rashford, and when you look at Chelsea’s defense and style of play, he was perfect for this game. Chelsea can only be beaten by two ways, either by crosses into the box (like Spurs did), or by pure pace, like we were trying to do. Originally Rashford wasn’t going to play because of illness, and watching him play you have to instantly question that claim. Rashford ran a marathon last night, waiting for one of those centre backs to make a mistake and give him the chance to score. You can’t fault Rashford’s effort through out the game. He showed our desire and passion we needed in a game like that. It reminded everyone that Mourinho doesn’t just ignore youth, because we are seeing profession this season under Rashford. The reason I began to talk about Rashford was because he perfectly epitomised the positives of United. The players showed fight, desire and passion for the shirt. I would of been very unhappy if i saw those players roll over and not put up a fight, but I’m not angry at all. We went down with dignity against a team that was much better than us and even going down to 10 men, we still kept it strong at the back and kept patient. Speaking of 10 men, Herrera’s sending off was a disgrace. It only took some great acting from Eden Hazard to persuade the referee Herrera should be given his matching orders. Before that, United were well and truly in the game. But as soon as Mhikitaryan was substituted for Fellaini everyone watching knew the hard work the defence would need to do to keep it 0-0. And for the most part, they did a great job, Rojo, Jones and Valencia especially. Rojo showed that aggression and bite we all love to see from the Argentine. It was clear his role was to try and push Costa the wrong way, literally and mentally. Costa looking angry and frustrated was a once in a lifetime this season. Conte clearly took that side out of him, but Mourinho knew it his anger never left, and only took some aggression from Rojo to get on his bad side. Rojo’s partner in crime, Phil Jones, was another who has an amazing game. Eden Hazard is a difficult player to man mark, and Phil Jones did a great job trying to neutralise the threat. Like I said, Eden Hazard is hard player to mark, because of his constant movement and his quick actions when the ball is near his feet. It was seen what he can do when Smalling ran out to pressure Hazard and was caught out, resulting in Hazard making a run at goal. Phil Jones wasn’t as reckless, which is something I’m not used to saying about the young defender. Valencia had another great game, but this time defensively, mostly that tackle to stop Costa (i think) from having a shot on goal.
Chelsea played their best eleven and Kante was still their stand out player, like in every game, even scoring against us again. Hazard, even though I’m disgusted by his constant diving, was brilliant on the day, and was the real difference maker for Chelsea. Costa was not great on the day, missing an easy chance, and Willian was very quiet, not having much of an impact. Defensively i still don’t understand how a defense with Gary Cahill is keeping this many clean sheets, but it just shows how great David Luis and Aspeliqueta has been this season.
Even though I’m not happy we lost. I can at least appreciate the right and desire. I hope we see more of this later on under Mourinho. Next stop, Top 4 and a Europa league