Harry Maguire was on the scoresheet as Manchester United blew the Premier League’s top-four race vast open with a controversial 2-Zero victory at misfiring Chelsea.
Maguire was lucky to flee a pink card for kicking Michy Batshuayi within the groin, whereas Chelsea noticed targets for Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud chalked off by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
England defender Maguire twisted the knife on the sloppy Blues, assembly Bruno Fernandes’ nook with a thumping header to substantiate a seismic Pink Devils win in west London.
Anthony Martial buried United’s sole probability of the primary half as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s males punished Chelsea’s profligacy to register a primary league double over the Blues in 32 years.
Batshuayi missed two wonderful first-half probabilities, the Belgium striker deputising for England hitman Tammy Abraham who missed out with ongoing ankle points.
Blues boss Frank Lampard has already branded VAR a “ardour killer”, and two ruled-out targets right here will solely cement his frustrations with the innovation.
Chelsea may have opened up a nine-point hole on United with victory on Monday evening. As an alternative the Pink Devils now path Lampard’s males by simply three factors.
Tottenham head to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, the place a win for Spurs would now enable Jose Mourinho’s males to leapfrog Chelsea for the primary time this season.
Chelsea’s ninth defeat of the season and fifth at residence accounts for his or her struggles to carry onto a top-four berth.
Add this stuttering defeat to the lacklustre residence losses to West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton, and any extra missteps may see Chelsea slip out of the Champions League qualification berths.
Chelsea tried and didn’t bolster their frontline in January, and one other clean in entrance of aim solely underscores the dearth of high quality and depth out there to Lampard.
This was one more microcosm of Chelsea’s season of travails in entrance of aim, particularly earlier than the break.
Willian overcooked a cutback to depart Batshuayi flailing for any sort of connection for the primary gilt-edged probability.
Pedro then threaded a fragile through-ball for Mason Mount, and the midfielder’s pull again laid it on a plate for Batshuayi, however the struggling striker stubbed his effort woefully vast.
Willian was booked for diving in a poor resolution from referee Anthony Taylor when Fernandes had clearly fouled the Blues winger.
After which Taylor rejected any sort of punishment when Maguire kicked out and related with Batshuayi’s groin.
United buried their sole probability of the half, when Aaron Wan-Bissaka skinned Willian and whipped in a wise cross that Martial flicked into the far nook.
Then Batshuayi drilled one other shot nicely vast to shut the half.
Chelsea’s depressing misfortune continued after the turnaround, as substitute centre-half Zouma noticed his potential equaliser chalked off by VAR.
The French defender turned residence a nook in model, to indicate the misfiring Blues forwards how you can end – just for Cesar Azpilicueta’s push on Brandon Williams to be dominated a foul.
Chelsea will likely lament the truth that Fred pushed Azpilicueta into Williams, leaving the Blues captain with little choice however to make contact with the United man.
Fernandes struck the put up with a cute United free-kick, however worse was to observe for the Blues.
Simply when the hosts anticipated to pile on the strain for an equaliser, Portuguese star Fernandes delivered a pinpoint nook and Maguire headed residence in model.
One other killer blow was someway in retailer for the Blues, as Giroud nodded in from Mount’s cross – just for VAR to chalk off a second Chelsea aim, this time for offside.