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September 18, 2011
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 75455
C. Smalling 8'
W. Rooney 45'
Fernando Torres 46'
90' + 5'
FULL TIME! A fantastic game comes to an end. Chelsea will feel this was a missed opportunity given the number of chances they spurned, particularly Torres' open goal gaff. As for the hosts, they lead the league outright after City's draw at Fulham and will be pleased with yet another impressive attacking performance.
90' + 3'
Not sure about you but I don't want this to end. A Chelsea corner comes to nothing as they finally appear to concede this won't be their day.
Berbatov does a Torres, sort of. Wayne Rooney unselfishly plays the Bulgarian in after finding himself alone with the keeper but the pass is perhaps too strong and makes it difficult for his partner to find the net.
Nani unfortunate to concede a foul when challenging Ashley Cole in the Chelsea area. United controlling the closing exchanges. Five minutes added time.
Evra's cross is blocked well by the Chelsea defence just as Rooney arrives looking to add to the scoreline. In other news, my keyboard is on fire trying to keep up. Still end to end.
This really could have been 8-8. An incredible, breathless Premier League match.
Yellow Card Darren Fletcher
More great work on the counter from the hosts but Wayne Rooney can only head Ashley Young's cross straight at Cech from a tight angle.
What. A. Miss. Fernando Torres gets on the end of a Ramires pass and after easily rounding De Gea somehow pushes it wide with the goal gaping. The United fans go wild knowing they have been let off the hook by a man who formerly played for their big rivals.
Hernandez's replacement Dimitar Berbatov stretches in the box but can't reach a brilliant cross from the right as it skids off the turf.
Yellow Card Antonio Valencia
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
John Obi Mikel
It can be assumed that Ashley Cole received the caution for his language following the incident, a real let off for the Chelsea defender after a poor challenge.
Yellow Card Ashley Cole
On a second look, Ashley Cole's challenge on Hernandez as he shoots is high and dangerous. The defender receives a yellow card but no penalty is given, bizarre decision from Phil Dowd.
That could have been game over! United keep the ball alive and Evra's cross finds Wayne Rooney who somehow scuffs it onto the post from six yards out. Hernandez awaits the rebound but can only smash it into the side netting injuring himself in the process.
Ambitious from Ivanovic as he sees the headlines with the ball sitting up around 30 yards out. The defender hammers it well wide of De Gea's goal and United are given some respite.
Greg Stobart from Old Trafford: "For the first time this season, Old Trafford feels nervous. United have a two-goal lead but Chelsea are still looking dangerous going forward and there is a sense that this game is not over. Andre Villas-Boas certainly shares that view – he looks like he is wearing virtual goggles the way he is acting on the touchline."
United appealing for a handball after Smalling's cross into the box is blocked but the referee is hearing none of it.
Torres works space to get a shot off on his left only to see it rebound to him from De Gea's save, unfortunately for the Spaniard he can't keep the ball down and hacks it over the bar. How many chances can Chelsea afford to waste?
Michael Carrick feels the wrath of the Old Trafford faithful for passing the ball backwards to De Gea when in space. Personally I'm not sure how much more attacking football I can take.
Lukaku's first touch is almost a goal, Evra doing well to slide in and prevent the Belgian forward from tapping in six yards out.
Lukaku comes on for Sturridge, will he be the one to get Chelsea back into it?
Big chance for the fourth. A short taken corner allows Ashley Young to swing it in from the left but Phil Jones heads wide when he perhaps might have done better.
Ivanovic gives away a free kick at the left hand edge of the box, despite being in the ascendency here the Blues still look vulnerable to United's unstoppable counter-attacking threat.
Chelsea steal the ball in the United half but Anelka is wasteful in his execution of an attempted one-two with Mata and gifts possession back to the hosts.
Chris Smalling and Anderson replaced by Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia for the hosts. Will this sure the game up to help maintain United's lead?
An in-swinging ball from Anelka from the left beats everyone but Daniel Sturridge at the back post but he can't control on his unfavoured right foot and it's out for a goal kick.
You just feel like it's a matter of time until United's fourth. Ramires tracks Hernandez brilliantly who would've been one-on-one with Cech after a fantastic exchange with Waye Rooney.
Missed Penalty Wayne Rooney
Yellow Card John Terry
PENALTY MISS! The in-form Wayne Rooney steps up and it's surely hitting the back of the net...that is until he slips during his run up and spoons the ball desperately wide. Unfortunate for the striker.
PENALTY! Nani bursts forward and smashes the bar from the edge of the area and is first to react to the rebound, reaching it just before Bosingwa who can only bring him down to stop him scoring.
Brilliant recovery by Bosingwa as he atones for letting Ashley Young in behind him too easily by getting back to steal the ball.
What an incredible advert for the Premier League this match has been so far. Some brilliant attacking play from both sides.
Yellow Card Ramires
Ooh close. Mata can't get on the end of a Meireles chipped pass over the top, the visitors pushing hard here.
Villas-Boas will be buoyed by his side's start to the half and if they can create as many chances as in the first half then there is a real chance they can get back into this.
From Twitter...OptaJoe Opta Sports: 9 - Wayne Rooney is the first player in PL history to score 9 goals in his first five appearances of a season. Peerless.
Assist Nicolas Anelka
Goal Fernando Torres
GOAL! Well that's some way to try and get back in it! Anelka cuts in from the right and plays the ball through the eye of a needle for the Spaniard to dink it over De Gea beautifully.
Chelsea get us back under way as Nicolas Anelka comes on in place of Frank Lampard.
45' + 2'
HALF TIME! What a fantastic half of football. Chelsea have gone toe-to-toe with the hosts but some brilliantly clinical finishing has left them 3-0 down already. They may feel somewhat unfortunate to be on the end of that scoreline but you can't fault United's ability to exploit an opposition weakness.
Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL! Phil Jones charges forward brilliantly and though his original cut back is blocked well the ball bounces fortunately off Nani to the feet of Wayne Rooney 8 yards out. He doesn't miss from there, does he?
Unbelievable that United lead in some respects but you just cannot stop the Red Devils from scoring this season. Chelsea will be rueing their missed opportunities now.
Ramires nearly benefits from some indecisive United defending but can only half volley over the bar from the edge of the box.
Old Trafford rocking now but Ashley Young can only find Petr Cech as he crosses from the left.
Harsh on Chelsea after their positive start but how important it is to take your chances in the Premier League.
Assist Jonny Evans
GOAL! Unbelievable strike. Nani receives the ball on the right hand side and after easily jinking inside Juan Mata lets fly from around 25 yards right into the far corner. Absolutely unstoppable genius from the Portuguese winger.
Wayne Rooney works space away from Bosingwa but steers his effort wide from the edge of the area. You might have backed him to score even from that distance given his current form.
Ferguson very animated on the touchline, he'll want his side to close the game up given the fact they are currently leading.
An ambitious effort from Torres as he tries an overhead kick from the edge of the box. The shot goes well wide but Torres showing admirable confidence to take it on.
Greg Stobart from Old Trafford: "Andre Villas-Boas had been looking relatively restrained on the touchline until that Ramires miss. The Chelsea manager is full of beans in the technical area, barking instructions towards Daniel Sturridge and Fernando Torres. He must be encouraged by the chances his side have been able to create but the visitors will know they can't afford to miss such easy chances."
Andre Villas-Boas will be encouraged by the attacking threat his side have shown thus far but United could quite easily hit back at the other end at any moment. An open encounter.
De Gea trying to make up for the brilliance of his save there by dropping an easy take from the resulting corner. The Spanish keeper lucky to get a second chance to pounce on it.
Should have been 1-1. Torres played in brilliantly by Juan Mata and as he squares unselfishly to Ramires, the midfielder somehow contrives to allow De Gea back in to save it.
Some fantastic probing possession from United is wasted as Wayne Rooney's clipped pass wide is too strong goes out for a goalkick. Fantastic game so far.
A brilliant ball into Hernandez by Nani just eludes the touch of the Mexican forward. That would've been some assist.
Chelsea still threatening the host's lead as Meireles scoops a brilliant pass into the path of Frank Lampard, but the Chelsea vice-captain can only half-volley wide in the box.
Huge penalty claims from the United support. A bizarrely worked United free kick ends with Jonny Evans hooking the ball back to Frank Lampard who heads it seemingly onto his arm before hoofing clear. Big decision for Phil Dowd.
The corner comes to nothing but United having more and more of the ball and beginning to look good value for their lead.
Young and Nani do brilliantly down the left seemingly unwilling to surrender possession and the latter eventually wins a corner for the hosts.
Greg Stobart from Old Trafford: "Chelsea would have worked all week on how to nullify United's attacking threat and Andre Villas-Boas will be furious that the hosts were able to open the scoring with the simplest of set-pieces. Ashley Young whipped in a dangerous cross but Chris Smalling should not have been allowed a free header in that position. It is all the more frustrating for the Blues because they have started reasonably well here and look threatening in the final third."
A Frank Lampard corner finds the head of Ivanovic but he can only direct it straight at De Gea. Strangely it has been all Chelsea since the opening goal, United infinitely more clinical than their opposition.
It's been an incredibly open start from both teams and you wouldn't write off the chances of more goals here.
Chance for Chelsea! Torres receives a misplaced pass from Anderson and after working space on his right can only drag it wide of the left hand post. The Spain striker should have done better there.
Chelsea corner as Daniel Sturridge pushes it off Jonny Evans. The visitors by no means being dominated early on despite the scoreline.
Assist Ashley Young
Goal Chris Smalling
A nightmare start for Chelsea, can Villas-Boas regather his troops as they concede after a decent start.
GOAL! United gain a free kick out on the left and Ashley Young swings it in brilliantly, straight onto the head of the onrushing Chris Smalling. An easy finish from that distance for the young defender though he does appear a touch offside.
Torres with an early chance to run at Evans but he is easily dispossessed leaving Sturridge to drag the loose ball well wide.
De Gea looking nervy early on as he hits an Evra back pass out for a throw in under pressure from Sturridge.
Early chance for Chelsea as Ashley Cole volleys a ball to Ramires at the back post, his shot saved by De Gea's legs.
Ashley Young tries an ambitious long ball and it appears that United are looking to use Hernandez's pace against a Chelsea side allegedly described as slow by their own Fernando Torres.
Early chance for Hernandez to stretch his legs but he can't beat Ashley Cole to Anderson's lofted pass.
Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez get us under way at Old Trafford. Big game.
The players come out at Old Trafford and there is a feeling that this could be a huge game for both sides so early in the season. Can Chelsea be the first team to stop a rampaging United gaining 3 points this season?
Greg Stobart from Old Trafford: The weather in Manchester has been awful recently but Old Trafford is baked in sun this afternoon ahead of one of the most sparkling fixtures in the Premier League calendar. Sir Alex Ferguson has used his programme notes to express his own surprise at how well United have started the season while warning of the threat posed by Chelsea today. “I have never had a team before that has opened a season in such blistering form and scored so freely. It is breaking new ground for me, and to say that at this stage of a fairly lengthy career is really something. I'm excited and why now? Because we have been privy to something rather special. “I ask myself, will the bubble burst? But while accepting that our present form is exceptional, I can't help but feel this season is going to be good for Manchester United. “In the meantime we welcome Chelsea today for what may prove our biggest test of the season so far. They have a new young manager in Andre Villas-Boas and after beating Chelsea four out of five times last season I expect a backlash.”
Chelsea choosing to stick with Fernando Torres after his improved performance against Leverkusen and youngster Daniel Sturridge continues seemingly in favour with Andre Villas-Boas. Can they both repay the faith shown in them?
It's a somewhat surprising inclusion of Darren Fletcher for the hosts today given he has only played 60 minutes since returning from a long term injury.
Chelsea: Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Meireles, Lampard; Sturridge, Torres, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Luiz, Romeu, Mikel, Malouda, Lukaku, Anelka.
Manchester United: De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Evans, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Anderson, Young; Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Lindegaard, Berbatov, Giggs, Park, Carrick, Fabio Da Silva, Valencia.
Welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of Manchester United vs Chelsea at Old Trafford. Two attacking selections from both managers mean this could be a cracker...
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