It was a masterclass display from Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea on Sunday evening as they bested a free-falling Manchester United by 3 goals to 1, with all 3 goals courtesy of Samuel Eto’o.
Stamford Bridge was rocking all match long during the encounter between 2 managers in totally opposite situations at the moment: With Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho lauded by all club supporters as the answer to their recent stability issues at the managerial post while United’s David Moyes finds himself the target of criticism from fans and pundits alike who already yearn back to the days of Sir Alex as United struggle in their first year without the Scotsman at the helm since 1985.
To the surprise of many, United were not fazed in the early going and actually produced a couple half-chances within the game’s first 10 minutes, as Ashley Young’s shot on 2 minutes produced a solid stop from Chelsea ‘keeper Petr Cech to keep the game level with the Czech international holding on to a close range effort by the Englishman.
United quickly came to regret that missed chance as the Blues hit the front first on 17 minutes via Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o, who bagged the first of his 3 goals on the day via a long-range effort that deflected widely off of Michael Carrick and looped into the goal, past an out-stretched David De Gea, to give Chelsea a somewhat fortunate lead.
As much as their first goal was lucky, Chelsea’s second was basic with a cleared corner resulting in Gary Cahill being played into space on the far right side, where he drove the ball in towards an unmarked Eto’o. Eto’o took the ball first-time and prodded it past De Gea to make it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime. Upon further review though, Eto’o was somewhat lucky again to score as De Gea really should have made the stop with his foot, but instead let the pace of the effort go through him and in to further add to manager David Moyes’ misery.
Whatever Moyes went on to say to his Manchester United squad at halftime, it simply DID NOT WORK as the Red Devils conceded a 3rd right after the break on 49 minutes to who else but Eto’o, who pounced on the loose ball first following Gary Cahill’s header off a corner to bundle past a helpless De Gea and surely put the game to bed despite 40+ minutes still remaining. Cahill had managed to secure himself an open header off the corner taken by Willian, which had plenty of venom to it and could only be parried away by De Gea. Eto’o ended up being in the right spot at the right time though, wrangling free from Antonio Valencia’s poor marking and stuffing home to complete his hat-trick before dancing a jig with Willian and fellow teammate David Luiz.
David Moyes finally felt the need to throw caution to the wind after Chelsea and Eto’o‘s third goal, throwing on both Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling in hopes of nicking a couple goals back, which they eventually did with Hernandez tapping in from the goal line on 78 minutes to give the traveling support from Manchester an iota of hope.
The hope quickly turned to dismay as the minutes ticked on though, and save for a near-disaster when Petr Cech nearly let a back pass trickle into his own net, the Chelsea goal lay undisturbed for the remainder of the match. Things got chippy towards the end though as Nemanja Vidic received his marching orders via a straight red card for a cynical swipe at Edin Hazard before Rafael SHOULD have met a similar fate for a kick out deep into stoppage time. Match official Phil Dowd eventually blew an end to the processions moments later as Chelsea walked away comfortable 3-1 victors.