David Moyes vs Jose Mourinho. The two men who were widely tipped to succeed the greatest manager ever, Sir Alex Ferguson went head-to-head on Monday Night in a fixture, although it’s still early days could decide the title come May. The build-up to the game was action-packed with Jose Mourinho doing all he could to get into Moyes’ head with his pre-match antics.
United headed into the game coming off the back of an incredible 4-1 win at the Liberty Stadium while Chelsea themselves had been in good form, winning their first two home matches this season.
Jose Mourinho’s tactics caught many off guard. ‘The Happy One’ named a starting eleven with no recognized out and out striker while star man Juan Mata, who has been Chelsea’s Player of the Year two seasons running was left on the bench. Jose Mourinho who had previously criticized Vicente Del Bosque for not playing an out and out striker and using a false 9 back in 2011 decided to deploy the tactic he had previously criticized, surprising? no, It’s Jose Mourinho. It was expected that new signing Andre Schurrle who was making his first start in the Premier League will lead the side in the false nine role, while a double-pivot of Ramires and Lampard provided the stability in the heart of the midfield – arguably not the strongest duo for the game.
David Moyes’ team selection was very crucial heading into the game. Start Rooney and all the rumours of him moving to Chelsea are dead, bench him and there’s a media frenzy linking Wayne to Chelsea. All the talk heading into the game circulated around Englishman, who started his first match of the season and was nothing short of Spectacular. Right from the start, Wayne Rooney’s name was chanted by the United faithful and amusingly by some sections of the Chelsea supporters who still believe they can sign him.
“we’ll see you next week, we’ll see you next week” – The Chelsea fans chanted.
The match kicked off at a frantic pace. United, led by Rooney were busy closing down the Chelsea defense in packs and forcing out mistakes from the likes of Cole, Ramires and Cahill.
In a match that lacked rhythm and bite, United were arguably the better team. Chelsea who had clearly planned to sit back and hit United on the counter were awful, maybe they had an eye on the Bayern Munich game on Friday (?) – It was apparent Mourinho went to United for a draw as he confessed after the game. Sloppiness and misplaced passes was the theme of the game. Creativity and spark was missing from United’s game with Rooney the only man providing some sort of rhythm to dire game attacking-wise.
Manchester United Perspective
Manchester United’s best player on the night was Wayne Rooney who played with his heart out. He run all around the pitch putting in tackles in attack, midfield and even the defence while providing key passes and having attempts on goal. Another bright player for the reds was England international Tom Cleverley, making his 50th appearance for United, Cleverley had a pass success rate of 91% – the highest on the pitch . He completed 71 of his 77 passes, 55% of them being forward passes.
Chelsea on the other hand, with no out and out striker were limited to long range shots from 30 odd yards. Mourinho’s tactics were very negative on the night. Him replacing Schurrle with Mikel Obi and Eden Hazard with Azpilicueta late in the game to kill off time highlighted his negative mentality. Chelsea’s most impressive player on the night was captain John Terry who won the Barclays Man of The Match award. John Terry was in superb form marking last season topscorer Van Persie completely out of the game. He had a pass completion rate of 88%,1 Interception, 11/11 clearances,5/5 Headed clearances. In attack, Chelsea’s brightest outlet was Oscar, who was at the heart of Chelsea’s attacking efforts. Creating 7 of their chances while having 2 attempts on goal.
-Manchester United completed 456 passes tonight, their highest tally in a Premier League game this season. Chelsea managed 364, their lowest.
-Man United vs Chelsea: Passing Accuracy 81%-81%. Possession 55%-45%. Interceptions 16-6. Tackles 19-12. Key passes 8-5. MOTM – Nemanja Vidic
In a lackluster game of no real action the reds had 3 shots on target where as Mourinho’s men had 4. Possession stats went in the way of Moyes’ boys edging Chelsea, 55-45.