Manchester United re-ignited the Premier League title race and enhanced their own top four prospects with a commanding victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
Without a win in their two previous encounters against Antonio Conte’s side this season, United took the lead inside ten minutes when Marcus Rashford slotted past Asmir Begovic into the corner.
Ander Herrera, who played a sublime ball through to Rashford for the opener, then doubled the hosts’ lead early in the second-half when his deflected effort found its way into the back of the net.
Chelsea struggled to make a dent in a well-drilled Manchester United defence, rarely calling David de Gea into action, and Jose Mourinho’s side held out for a priceless victory in the race for Europe.
The result sees Manchester United close the gap on rivals Manchester City to four points with a game in hand, whilst the Blues are now only four points ahead of Tottenham at the top of the table.
See over the next few pages for five key stats that The Boot Room found from United’s victory.
0 – Eden Hazard and Diego Costa go missing
In perhaps one of their biggest games this season, Antonio Conte would have needed his key men in the attacking third to step up to the plate and deliver.
Yet this didn’t materialise at Old Trafford on Sunday, as both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa – with 31 Premier League goals between them this season – were woeful and kept out of the game.
Hazard in particular was disappointing; exceptional against Manchester City just a fortnight ago, he was bullied by United midfielder Ander Herrera, with the Spaniard not leaving his side all afternoon.
Such was Herrera’s dominance of the Belgian, Hazard didn’t complete a single take on, didn’t attempt a single cross, created no chances and had no shots at goal – completely out of the game.
Diego Costa didn’t fare much better up against the challenge of Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo either, seemingly focusing on the physical battle and trying to wind them up more than the actual football itself.
Costa, like Hazard, didn’t create any chances and only had the one shot on target that was comfortable for David de Gea, and the 28-year-old is in the midst of a huge dip in form of late.
In his previous five Premier League matches he’s failed to find the back of the net or create a chance for a teammate, only managing three shots and picking up three bookings from 19 fouls committed.
The fact that Costa completed more passes from kick-offs (three) than he had shots tells its own story, and Chelsea will hope their attacking duo can quickly move on from a disappointing display.