Chelsea look like they might be finding their rhythm now… and then Willian gives the ball away cheaply. Rashford goes on the counter-attack and it takes three defenders to deal with him – Luiz and Kante get shrugged off by the striker.
“He’s been more like Diego Costa than Diego Costa today,” says Neville about Rashford.
Hazard is wide left, looks up and spots Pedro on the right and finds him with a beautiful long pass. Pedro cuts inside, fakes to cross and then gets a shot away, winning a corner.
United deal with it well, doubling up on Costa on the penalty spot.
Matic is coming off for Willian. He had a poor game.
Rashford hits the side netting! Matic – who has had a shocker today – tries to dribble out of defence and loses it, Rashford turns, sprints and shoots.
Luiz blocks the striker when he receives the ball just inside the box moments after – United still have Chelsea completely figured out here.
Mourinho has reacted to Chelsea’s change by putting Carrick on for Lingard, filling the midfield out and making sure Chelsea can’t dominate the centre of the park.
United are so aggressive in the tackle! It’s clearly unsettling Chelsea’s rhythm. Hazard might as well not be on the pitch either, he’s done nothing.
Conte reacts and makes changes. Moses is off, Fabregas on. That will put Azpilicueta at left-back, Zouma at right-back. Fabregas has gone behind Costa in a three man attacking midfield.
Costa fouls Darmian. I get the feeling that if United keep the score the same, Costa might heroically earn himself a few games of rest with some sort of mildly violent action.
Ooooohhhh and it could be three! Rashford is superb here. He considers the shot, thinks against it, turns back and spots Lingard’s clever run into space and gives him a simple pass to set up the shot. Lingard shoots high. That’s the kind of shooting opportunity Mourinho has been on about his players wasting in recent weeks.
Man Utd have doubled their lead, and it’s Ander Herrera with the goal to make it 2-0.
And how! Young dribbles into the box as Kante gives the ball away, Herrera strikes through a bunch of bodies and it deflects over and through the goalkeeper.
Rashford takes the free-kick but Pogba but has to work hard to keep it alive… and he’s done that!
Valencia has the ball on the right and can’t quite make up his mind as to what to do with it, so he bounces on the spot as though he were a Street Fighter 2 character you’re about to select. I was wrong about the Chelsea back four, the formation is exactly the same.
Cahill brings down Fellaini with a high boot and is booked. United players try to make something of it but the referee quickly calms it all down.
The players are back on the pitch, Conte had some words with Willian as they did so. We might see him soon.
I think Chelsea might be playing with a back four now…
United’s man marking
United’s defensive shape is essentially a man by man marking job. Hazard is circled in the middle but as you’ll observe in the average touch positions below, Herrera is mostly on the ball in a sort of right sided defensive midfield role.
United’s forwards go one on one with the defenders and the midfielders are all marked too, which means Chelsea have to go long from defence. Costa has constant company in the striker role from two central defenders, while Pedro is never going to win aerial battles and Hazard is getting so annoyed that he’s drifting inside into areas he can’t influence the game. Mourinho’s team is defending superbly by playing on the front foot – it’s really clever.
Chelsea were unadventurous in the first 45
Chelsea managed just a solitary, off-target shot in the first half.
Young balloons a shot over the bar from 20 yards as the ball sits up perfectly. Chelsea players are slipping all over the pitch. New studs needed.
And that’s it! A tactical masterclass from Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd in that first half, Conte has a lot of thinking to do.
45 mins +1
Costa hasn’t been very good today and he’s snatching at passes. He’s a little rattled by the quick snap tackling United are doing on him too – as soon as he gets the ball he has to pass it or he’s getting binned.
He’s just had a shot from about 35 yards which flies wide of the far post. Conte looks pensive and thoughtful on the touchline.
The visitors have their first shot of the game, in reply to three so far from Man Utd.
WOOOOOOOH that is close. Rashford catches the defence out with a quick one-two, Moses tries to recover and slips, then Cahill is relieved to see his header land on top of the net and not resting in the back of it. Pedro tries to counter-attack but isn’t quite fast enough… and Azpilicueta slips while trying to cross on the right. Young has gone down clutching his jaw because Moses caught him – the kind of thing rugby players (sorry) deal with every couple of minutes. Young is obviously in serious pain…. oh no he’s fine. Well recovered.
Gary Neville reckons Eden Hazard is lost at the moment “wandering around aimlessly in the middle of the pitch” and I agree. He needs to come out to the left side to support Moses and stop Costa from being pulled out to the wing but is instead looking for the ball in the centre and has Herrera giving him defender cuddles the entire time.
Chelsea attack yet to make much of an impression
The visitors haven’t yet managed to apply some concerted pressure on the Man Utd backline.
Chelsea have a free-kick wide right, spend forever setting it up and as soon as Hazard takes his kick, Matic (I think) gives away a free-kick for pushing in the box. What a waste.
Costa goes in for a header which he has to compete for, Rojo catches him and goes down “injured” while Costa gets caught in the face by Rojo, who is at it. It’s pathetic – both of them pretending to be injured to get the other in trouble.