– Where do you even begin with this. A complete mess of officiating errors, scintillating football, and defensive incompetence – but it was a hell of a lot more entertaining than the usual ‘cagey’ top of the table clash which this fixture sometimes produces.
– Chelsea may feel that the referee stole this game from them, but they made it incredibly difficult on themselves by effectively giving United a two-goal head start. The first had a freakish element to it, but the play never should have developed to the point at which the ball was bouncing off the post and on to David Luiz – what, for example, is Ramires doing as the van Persie comes onto the ball from Rooney? The second was even worse: watch it again, and look at how easy it ease for United to move the ball from Rio Ferdinand to Rafael and then to Antonio Valencia – and even at that point, the Ecuadorian’s cross should never get as far as van Persie, who is completely alone ten yards from goal. Luiz should cut it out and Cahill should cut it out. Really poor.
– You will not see a better save all season than David De Gea’s off Fernando Torres’ header. Stunning reaction, and an amazing extension of his right arm. That’s one destined to be featured in many a super slow-motion montage.
– The moment Juan Mata placed the ball for his free-kick, there was a strong possibility that it was heading for the net. Mata’s technique was excellent, obviously, but he also does an excellent job of selling the shot to De Gea – watch the replay from behind the goal, and notice the first step that the keeper makes to his left: as soon as he’s committed to one direction, he’s never getting back across and the ball is as good as in.
– The first red card was a sending off, nobody who watches football on a regular basis can make a case against that. Maybe Ashley Young goes down a bit easily, but in that situation Mark Clattenburg has very few options. It’s a goal-scoring opportunity, and it has been denied by Branislav Ivanovic. Get walking.
– The second is more complex. The referees have clearly become more draconian around simulation, and Fernando Torres’ dismissal was extremely tough – especially since Jonny Evans, whether he makes contact or not, has clearly impeded him. What costs Torres, is that the dramatics he applies to the situation – unnecessary maybe, but still not deserving of a yellow card. All the Spaniard has really done is emphasise the contact, which is exactly what Ashley Young did down the other end. There cannot be a discrepancy over decisions like that, especially not when they occur in the same ninety minutes.
– And yes, Javier Hernandez’s winner was offside – there’s not much else to say about it. There have been some weird and wonderful theories proposed on Twitter about Petr Cech potentially blocking the linesman’s view of Hernandez, but that’s an excuse for the sake of an excuse – even if the forward is obscured by Cech, then surely the linesman has to see him rejoining the play from the goal-line? Awful, what a mess.
William Hill – Free £25 bet for new users.
Paddy Power – Free £25 bet for new users.