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Fight for the top-four: A post-match analysis of how Man United and Chelsea fared in the 1-1 draw and the consequences



Manchester United vs Chelsea Opinion: Post-Match Analysis

The Premise

Chelsea and Manchester United faced off in what was a feisty encounter at Old Trafford. With the teams vying for a place in the top-four, it was essential for either side to get something out of the game. While Manchester United have been struggling to get out of 6th place, Chelsea were fighting to keep theirs.

The Fixture

The game began with Manchester United having a much more dominant say on the course of things. They were snappy with their passing and put on a show for the Old Trafford faithful in the opening minutes. All of this was down to the brilliant play from Juan Mata at the tip of the Manchester United diamond.

He controlled the the proceedings with some quick passing and showed a few neat turns as well. United were able to use him as a an anchor in the final third and his movement off the ball ensured that there was always an extra option for the man in possession.

He even stepped up at the vital moment to open the scoring for United in the 11th minute. An excellent move down the left side saw Romelu Lukaku and Luke Shaw linking up. Shaw’s marauding run into the Chelsea box ended with a neat pull back into the path of Juan Mata and the Spaniard made no mistakes with his finish.

The game opened up after this and for the rest of the tie, it was a fairly nervous affair. With challenges flying in from all sides, Chelsea’s equaliser wasn’t far away. Antonio Rudiger struck the ball at David de Gea’s goal from over 40 yards out with a lot of venom and the Spaniard was unable to catch the ball. Marcos Alonso was quick to grab onto the ball and put it in the far corner.

The second half was much more open in terms of space available for the players to run into but neither team was able to seize control of the situation. The rest of the tie was a continuous midfield battle and while both teams had ample chances to find the winning goal, some stubborn defending from either side meant that the scoreline stayed at 1-1 until the final whistle.

The Consequences

Manchester United would certainly have been hoping to get all three points on the night as a win would’ve hoisted them above Arsenal in 5th and level on points with today’s opponents. Instead, they stayed in 6th place still a point behind the Gunners and 3 points behind the Blues in 4th.

Chelsea now have a 2-point cushion over 4th place which means that Champions League qualification is now well and truly in their own hands. Still 2 points off Tottenham in 3rd place, Spurs recent form will certainly fill the Blues fans with a lot of hope regarding their position come the end of the season.

Manchester’s United remaining fixtures see them travel to Huddersfield Town on the weekend before hosting Cardiff City at Old Trafford on the final day of the season. With both matches against the relative minnows of the league, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping that one of the teams above them slip up in the coming weeks.

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Chelsea on the the other hand, have a much more testing final two fixtures. Their defence of 4th place begin when Watford come to visit Stamford Bridge next Sunday. They must then overcome the challenge of Leicester City as they are scheduled to travel to the King Power Stadium on the final day of the season.