EPL 2016-17: Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United - 5 talking points
Chelsea could not have found a better way to pay tribute to their former vice-chairman Matthew Harding who died 20 years ago this weekend in a helicopter crash than a four goal victory over Manchester United. Chelsea supporters would have liked to think that it was all over when Pedro scored within 29.6 seconds of kick-off – the fastest goal of the Premier League so far but there was still a long way to go.
To the horror of Manchester United and especially, Jose Mourinho there was no comeback in the offing. Gary Cahill increased the Blues’ lead to two goals in the 21st minute from an Eden Hazard corner. Changes to the United side seemed to have no impact on their game as they let Hazard get away with an easy goal and the final nail in the coffin was hammered in when N’Golo Kante scored.
Many will insist that David Luiz should have been sent off early in the first half for his studs-up challenge on Marouane Fellaini and the result may have been very different but that’s just how the cookie crumbled tonight.
On a night when Chelsea was far superior at every step of the way, here are five major talking points from the game:
#1 Who’s the Special One now?
You would expect Jose Mourinho to know the flaws and weaknesses of most of the Chelsea players who started tonight but I doubt he recognized the men who lined up against his side, and it’s all thanks to Antonio Conte. The Italian tactician’s favourite formation with three defenders at the back worked wonders for the Blues and left no room for United.
He had the likes of Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses, and Cesar Azpilicueta crowding the flanks so well that Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard found no space to work with the ball. The Paul Pogba of mid-week Fenerbache fame was invisible as Ibrahimovic made Dimitar Berbatov look like an energetic and mobile striker. Even when Mourinho brought on Mata and pushed Rashford up next to Ibrahimovic, it didn’t work any better.
Mourinho explored every avenue available to him but Chelsea was simply the more deserving side.