Germany defender Antonio Rudiger had headed the opener for the hosts after losing his marker Paul Pogba at a corner during a low-key first half. Ross Barkley equalised in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Chelsea snatched a draw against Manchester United to maintain their unbeaten Premier League start.
But United – who went into Saturday having won just one of their last 16 matches at Stamford Bridge – sparked into life in the second period.
Anthony Martial turned in Ashley Young’s cross-shot to equalise before drilling a 15-yard shot past Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to put United ahead. However, Barkley grabbed a point for the hosts when he turned home a David Luiz header that had hit the post.
As the game entered stoppage time, everything had seemed so orderly. José Mourinho had kept to his word not to over-celebrate if his team were winning and, in fairness, Chelsea fans had shown no appetite to hound him in the way that had happened on his previous visits back to his old club. But then, in the sixth minute of added time, the moment when everything had changed when Mourinho lost the plot and a confrontation in the tunnel that made it shake because of the number of people who were involved.
Mourinho was clearly provoked by the fist-pumping manner in which Marco Ianni, from Chelsea’s coaching staff, celebrated Ross Barkley’s late equaliser directly in front of him and until the stewards intervened, the Manchester United manager looked like he would happily throttle his antagonist. The Football Association is likely to want an explanation and, in the circumstances, it was almost a surprise Mourinho calmed down quickly enough to shake Maurizio Sarri’s hand at the final whistle shortly afterwards.
He was clearly enraged and was holding up his three fingers, signifying the number of league championships he won, in the direction of the Chelsea supporters who were baiting him as he made his way off the pitch.
Mourinho had lost all three of his previous matches here as United’s manager, with a combined score of 6-0, and that there was certainly the first sense of deja vu when Antonio Rüdiger headed Chelsea into the lead 20 minutes into a first half when Chelsea always seemed comfortable.
After the interval, however, it must have been startling for Sarri to see the way his team lost their way and perhaps, for the first time, we saw the hard evidence why Chelsea’s manager has been saying since the start of the season that his team are not equipped to sustain a title challenge.
Instead, it was United who took control with two goals from a renascent Anthony Martial and a second-half display that – until the late, dramatic twist – was probably summed by Mourinho stepping on the pitch to give the Frenchman a congratulatory slap on the back for chasing down an opponent.
Plainly there are still imperfections and it will not be lost on Mourinho that his team have kept one clean sheet all season. In his first spell as Chelsea manager, Mourinho once went through an entire league season with his team conceding 15 goals. They have sieved that many this season before the leaves have even dropped from the trees and, throughout his reign as a whole, that is 20 times United have let one in from a set play – one every four games. Rüdiger’s goal came from nothing more elementary than a standard corner routine: the cross delivered by Willian, a splendid demonstration from Paul Pogba of how to lose a man inside the penalty area and, finally, the decisive header, eight yards out, to plant the ball past David de Gea.
United were so poor in the first half it came as a jolt when they dragged themselves out of this mediocrity to equalise nine minutes into the second half. Chelsea had scarcely been threatened before that point but Marcos Alonso made the curious decision of lying motionless in the penalty area – presumably hoping the referee, Mike Dean, might stop play – because of some kind of apparent injury that noticeably did not appear to affect him in the slightest for the remainder of the game.
Chelsea could have done with all their defenders on their feet in the face of a sudden flurry of attacking. Kepa Arrizabalaga kept out Juan Mata’s shot but Chelsea never properly cleared their lines and when Ashley Young had a go from the other side the ball took slight deflections off Jorginho and Rashford before reaching Martial, who fired in emphatically.
Martial’s second goal was an even better finish but Chelsea still found a way back. David Luiz’s header came back off the post, De Gea saved from Rüdiger and Barkley put in the rebound to spark the chaotic scenes by the dugouts.
Source: The Guardian