A stoppage time strike from Diego Costa prevented Manchester United from taking all three points against the Blues at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, keeping Guus Hiddink’s unbeaten record alive. Jesse Lingard had given United the lead after an hour, but the Blues fought until the end to record a fourth consecutive home draw. The result is slightly irrelevant after Kurt Zouma suffered a serious injury, one which could see him miss the rest of the season, including the European Championships in France.
The midweek meeting with Watford was far from an enjoyable night for Blues fans, as the team toiled to create any kind of breakthrough, and they went home with a goalless draw. Despite that, Hiddink named an unchanged side for this clash, staying with his two defensive midfielders. That meant there was no place for Eden Hazard, while Alexandre Pato didn’t even make the bench.
That defensive minded approach didn’t do too much good in the first half, as United had the majority of the chances in the first 45 minutes. They piled pressure on the Blues defence, and the two-man shield in front of the back four didn’t do too much to keep them out. United had plenty of corners, but they also showed glimpses of a cutting edge going forwards.
Having just won 3-0 at home to Stoke, United’s attack was clearly in confident mood, and Louis van Gaal must have given them a little more freedom to express themselves. That belief saw them control the game, but the Blues had their share of chances. They were denied a penalty towards the end of the half, when John Terry’s volley struck the arm of Daley Blind.
The second half started a lot like the first, but things got a lot worse for Chelsea just before the hour mark. Kurt Zouma landed awkwardly after challenging for a ball in the air, and he had to be stretchered off. Having forced his way into the starting 11, it will be a massive disappointment for the young defender to have to recover on the side-lines.
Gary Cahill came on to replace Zouma, but the new look defence wasn’t able to hold out for very long, as Lingard’s fantastic turn and strike broke the deadlock. United were then in charge of the game, and Van Gaal’s men went into lock down to try and keep their lead.
There was a late Chelsea rally, however, and in the first minute of stoppage time confusion in the United defence let Costa through. He slid the ball around David De Gea, before finishing into the open goal. His celebration showed just how up for the match he was, but he and his teammates were unable to find a winner.
The point keeps the Blues in 13th position in the table and they’re at home again next weekend against Newcastle. After that, it’s Champions League action, with a daunting trip to Paris to face PSG.
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