Likewise last season, Chelsea have repeated the result in the so-called ‘Jose Derby’ at the Stamford Bridge with only goal of the game coming in the form of a towering header from Alvaro Morata in the 55th minute assisted through a cross in the box by Cesar Azpilicueta. Chelsea were absolutely clinical in every department, be it Christensen, Azpilicueta and Zapacosta in the backline or Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard and Morata in the front. The Red Devils, on the other hand, looked vulnerable, committed serious defensive errors and were exposed several times.
Here are the 5 things we learned following this Premier League fixture in South-West London.
Chelsea’s attack made the difference
The scoreline seemed inevitable as Chelsea looked on the front-foot right from the kickoff. The Blues were clearly dominant in possession with 64% in the first half, followed by 75% in the second. However, it was the flamboyant and ambidextrous footwork of Eden Hazard, brilliant overlapping runs by Marcos Alonso & Bakayoko and finally, a clinical yet finesse finish by Alvaro Morata that seem to have taken the game away from Manchester United.
Tactical changes made by Conte from the game in Rome
The crucial changes following a 3-0 thumping by AS Roma in Rome were in the back-line. Gary Cahill was dropped to his original centre-back position, and Cesar Azpilicueta was fielded as a left-back, which later proved to be the sole decider of the fixture. Also, this time at home, Antonio Conte made full use of physical stature of Bakayoko and made him more physically involved in the game by dropping him in the central midfield next to Cesc Fabregas and Marcos Alonso was dropped in the flanks.
What was in it for Mourinho’s side?
Manchester United at the Bridge looked a completely different side as they were against the Spurs at Old Trafford. Things didn’t go the way Mourinho might have planned his sides’ core play was based on defence trying to clear the ball as soon as possible, and Conte’s men were quick to capitalise on those flaws. For example, right in the 6th minute, Stones conceded an own goal; however, it was on account of too much physical pressure from Morata in the box, and it was not rewarded.
The Chelsea forwards were given huge empty spaces by Ander Herrera and Chris Smalling in the central backline. As a result, Fabregas and Bakayoko had all the time in the world for wandering in and around the box and dropping overhead & interjecting deliveries for Hazard and Morata. However, Manchester United were clinical in the flanks via Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, who made it hard for the Chelsea wingers to launch an attack from wings.
Was this game a saviour for Antonio Conte?
With a commonplace start of the Premier League season compared to the preceding one, followed by a heavy thumping by AS Roma, things didn’t seem wonders for Antonio Conte, when it came to his future at Chelsea. The owner ‘Roman Abramovich’ might re-think the policy that has been in vogue in the Chelsea camp, when it comes to switching Managers, after this scoreline against a formidable side of English football.
A look at the points table
Following a 1-0 defeat at the Stamford Bridge and with City beating Arsenal by 3-1 at the Etihad, the table doesn’t seem to favour Jose Mourinho and his title hopes for the season 2017-18. With 8 points lead, Manchester City eventually are Premier League leaders, followed by Manchester United clear at the second spot with 23 points, differing only on goal difference with Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are 22 points clear at the fourth position.