Chelsea 3 Manchester U 3

Javier Hernandez

Chel­sea 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 3, Stam­ford Bridge, Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue, Feb­ruary 5, 2012. Man­chester Uni­ted batt­led their way back from a 3-0 de­fi­cit ag­ainst Chel­sea at Stam­ford Bridge to draw 3-3 in a ga­me they could have won. And wi­th Man­chester City beat­ing Ful­ham 3-0 at East­lands, Uni­ted were now trail­ing two points be­hind The Cit­izens in the table.

Man­chester Uni­ted had to man­age with­out goal­keeper An­ders Linde­gaard; de­fenders Phil Jones and Ne­manja Vid­ic; mid­field­ers Oli­veira An­der­son, Tom Clev­er­ley, Dar­ren Fletch­er, and Lu­is Nani; and for­ward Mi­chael Owen, who were all strug­gling wi­th dif­fer­ent in­jury prob­lems, but goal­keeper Da­vid de Gea; mid­fielder Ash­ley Young; and for­ward Way­ne Roo­ney were all back in ac­tion. Chel­sea, for their part, were mis­sing de­fender John Terry; and mid­field­ers Frank Lam­pard Ju­ni­or, John Obi Mikel, and Ramires, who were all side­lined wi­th vari­ous in­jur­ies, where­as de­fender Ash­ley Cole was out wi­th sus­pen­sion. The Man­chester club had com­fort­ably de­feated Sto­ke City by 2-0 at Old Traf­ford in mid­week cour­tesy of pen­alty goals from the dy­nam­ic duo of Javi­er Her­nandez and Di­m­it­ar Ber­batov in the thirty-eighth and fifty-third min­utes re­spect­ively, whi­le Chel­sea had ma­naged a 1-1 draw ag­ainst Swansea City at Liberty Sta­dium thanks to an own goal equal­iser from Neil Tay­lor dur­ing stop­page time af­ter Scott Sin­clair had giv­en The Swans the lead five min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val. In the cor­res­pond­ing meet­ing wi­th The Blues the pre­vi­ous sea­son, Man­chester Uni­ted had be­en nar­rowly edged out 2-1, and the fix­ture in West Lon­don prom­ised to be an evenly con­tested and ex­cit­ing affair.

The Man­chester Uni­ted play­ers screamed for a pen­alty-kick af­ter on­ly ten min­utes of ac­tion when Dan­ny Wel­beck was bro­ught down to earth in­side the area by Ga­ry Ca­hill, but ref­er­ee How­ard Webb just waved play on. The West Lon­doners ev­entually went ahead as Ju­an Ma­ta fou­nd Dan­iel Sturrrig­de who­se fierce shot bounced off Jon­ny Evans and in­to the goal six min­utes pa­st the ha­lf-hour ma­rk. And a min­ute fol­low­ing the re­sump­tion, The Pen­sion­ers doubled their ad­vant­age when Fer­nando Torres fed Ma­ta a cross­ing pass which the pacy play­er ham­mered ho­me from some six yards out. Five min­utes la­ter, the ir­re­press­ible Ma­ta then sent a su­perb free-kick to Da­vid Luiz who head­ed the ball pa­st Man­chester Uni­ted goal­keeper Da­vid de Gea and in­to the back of the net. Three min­utes be­fore the hour ma­rk, how­ever, Pat­rice Ev­ra ma­naged to gain a pen­alty which Way­ne Roo­ney sub­sequently con­ver­ted to bring the red shir­ted vis­it­ors back in­to the mat­ch. Man­chester Uni­ted con­tin­ued to at­tack and were re­war­ded on sixty-eight min­utes when they won an­oth­er pen­alty af­ter a foul by Bran­islav Ivan­ovic on Wel­beck. Roo­ney once ag­ain stepped up to take the spot-kick and blas­ted it in­to the onion bag be­fore late sec­ond ha­lf sub­sti­tute Javi­er Her­nandez ul­ti­mately sco­red the equal­ising goal for Man­chester Uni­ted when the in­dus­tri­ous stri­ker rose to meet a bril­liant cross by Ry­an Gig­gs in the eighty-fourth min­ute of the clash. Sir Al­ex Fer­guson: “We had two pen­al­ties in the sec­ond ha­lf which were jus­ti­fied, but I think we could have had four.” Chel­sea Te­am: Petr Cech, Ga­ry Ca­hill, Jose Bos­ing­wa, Da­vid Luiz, Bran­islav Ivan­ovic, Mi­chael Es­si­en, Ju­an Ma­ta, Raul Meireles, Florent Malouda, Dan­iel Stur­ridge, Fer­nando Torres. Sub­stitutes: Paulo Fer­reira, Sam Hutchin­son, Ry­an Ber­trand, Lu­cas Piazon, Ori­ol Romeu, Ro­melu Lu­kaku, Ross Turn­bull. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Da­vid de Gea, Ra­fael da Silva, Jon­ny Evans, Rio Fer­dinand, Pat­rice Ev­ra, Mi­chael Car­rick, An­tonio Va­lencia, Ry­an Gig­gs, Way­ne Roo­ney, Dan­ny Wel­beck, Ash­ley Young. Sub­stitutes: Paul Scho­les, Javi­er Her­nandez, Fa­bio da Silva, Ji-Sung Park, Paul Po­gba, Di­m­it­ar Ber­batov, Ben Amos.

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