A resurgent Man United deservedly beat leaders Chelsea, whose lead at the top was cut to four points.
United started strongly straight away. Marcus Rashford wasted a good chance with five minutes gone but, he did open the scoring in the seventh minute. Ander Herrera played a perfectly timed ball through to him and he finished coolly past Asmir Begovic in goal, who was replacing the injured Thibaut Courtois. There was a suspicion of handball by Herrera when he intercepted Nemanja Matic’s pass but United won’t care.
Rashford was paired up front with Jesse Lingard, with the jaded Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench, and they did a fantastic performance threatening the defence with fantastic energy. It was a fantastic tactical move by Jose Mourinho.
Antonio Conte will feel frustrated that he didn’t have his first choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, as he was injured and Asmir Begovic had to cover him. Marcos Alonso was also injured in the warm-up, with Kurt Zouma having to replace him. Conte will feel that luck was against him.
The real masterstroke was to deploy Herrera to man-mark Eden Hazard throughout. He covered his every move and didn’t give him a sniff throughout the whole game. Hazard didn’t affect the game in anyway, and it shows that if some of the Chelsea players don’t perform, Chelsea struggle badly. Diego Costa also didn’t affect the game. He was more intent on fighting with Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly than concentrating on the game. He was back to his bad old ways.
Conte had complained in the quarter-final of the FA Cup that United players had targeted Hazard, but this time he was targeted fairly and don’t have a kick all afternoon. And it was Herrera who escaped Hazard’s attention to fire in form outside the box, albeit via a deflection from Zouma which wrongfooted Begovic.
Even N’Golo Kante, who doesn’t seem to have a bad game, was for once not as effective as usual. It was a bitterly disappointing afternoon for Chelsea. Although they will feel that they got the rough ends of the refereeing decisions.
In the end United were dominant and fully deserved the victory against a Chelsea side, who only lost for the fifth time this season. After two losses already this season against his old team, Mourinho finally beat them, with one of their best performances this season.
This loss for Chelsea has blown the tile race wide open, with Tottenham only four points behind with six games to go and with a better goal difference. Chelsea have a more favourable run-in, but with Tottenham’a form at the moment, I wouldn’t bet against them catching Chelsea.
Chelsea did look to be strolling to the title, but after a loss to a Crystal Palace at home and a this loss, Spurs will fancy their chances. Tottenham have won seven successive league win for the first time since 1967 with a 4-0 home win over Bournemouth on Saturday.
United have moved above Everton into fifth, four points off fourth-placed Man City, with a game in hand. Next up is the second leg of the Europa League quarter-final at home to Anderlecht. Next up in the league is a trip to Burnley on Sunday the 23 April.