Replays showed that there Evans did catch Torres just above the ankle, but it probably didn’t help Torres’s cause that he fell to the floor clutching his knee. If that’s not simulation, wonder what is. However, what Chelsea fans seem to have conveniently missed out is that Torres should have been sent off for the De Jong style kung fu kick on Cleverly. He probably got away with it because Cleverly didn’t display the epileptic fits that Drogba did when Evans hacked him down a few seasons ago. Chelsea could have been 2-1 and 10 men down, and none of this would have mattered then.
Case of déjà vu down United’s right flank
United’s current No:7 and No: 2, Antonio Valencia and Rafael Da Silva respectively, has been an effective pair down the right over the last season and a half, and yesterday was no exception. They combined well for the second goal, catching Ashley Cole out of position. Valencia might not possess Beckham’s crossing or dead ball skills but he provides ample defensive cover if Rafael moves further up the pitch, or inwards. It’s this added defensive ability that gets him the nod over Nani on the right.
The enigma that is David De Gea
He’s probably one of the best shot stoppers in the league, and he has the reflexes of a ninja (explains the amount of saves he does with his gangly legs!). But, at times, he doesn’t help his cause with moments of indecision or poor clearances. There were examples of both yesterday, with an unnecessary shuffle to the left before he dived to the right in vain for Mata’s free kick, and a poor clearance that almost led to Mata scoring again but redeemed himself by saving the shot. Take no credit from Mata’s brilliant free kick, but the save from Mata’s free kick at last season’s encounter was a harder one to make as the ball was heading to the top corner. If De Gea had stayed his position at first and dived to the right, he probably could have got his hands to the ball. De Gea made some crucial saves yesterday and the gaffer must continue to put his faith in him.
United need Rooney’s energy in the middle
At the start of the game, United were roughly set out as a 4-1-4-1 with Rooney and Cleverly in the middle and Carrick sitting in front of the back four. After the sending off, United reverted to a 4-4-2 with Rooney slotting in the middle with Carrick. During both formations, his incessant running and tracking back ensured that the Chelsea midfield didn’t overrun United’s. True, Chelsea had the lion’s share of the possession in the last 15 minutes of the first half. But this was also attributed to United giving the ball away cheaply, after having won it back brilliantly on many occasions by Rooney. However, he still needs to keep his temper in check as it was his petulant foul on Hazard after having the ball nicked away from him that lead to Mata’s goal.
Young has given more cannon fodder to his doubters
Ashley Young had a poor summer at the Euros, and injury has seen him sit out much of the start of the season. However, it was a bizarre decision (and the only incorrect one I reckon) by Sir Alex yesterday to start with the winger and give him a full 90 minutes. Having just come back from injury, he looked out of sorts, couldn’t keep the ball, and didn’t manage a successful dribble past Ivanovic. With both Rooney and Van Persie taking on dead ball duties, Young wasn’t even able to provide a customary cross into the box. Fans have good reason to question the business decision to snatch him for a vastly inflated fee last summer.