Full time. Man. United 2, Chelsea 0.
Manchester United's dominance over Chelsea this season in the Premier League continued Monday. After beating the Blues by four goals on the opening weekend of the season, the Red Devils went to Stamford Bridge and won 2-0 to inch closer to potential Champions League qualification. Chelsea, meanwhile, kept up its poor run of form.
Video Assistant Referee called off two Chelsea goals -- one was the right call and the other was questionable -- and goals from Anthony Martial in the first half and Harry Maguire in the second half were enough to give the Red Devils an important victory and a ton of momentum. Maguire was lucky to escape a red card in the first half (more on that below).
The winning goal was this header from Martial off a lovely ball from Aaron Wan-Bissaka just before the break:
That result moves United up to seventh place and potentially just two points behind a Champions League spot. The top four of the Premier League make the UCL, but with, fifth place is expected to qualify. Fifth-place Tottenham is only two points ahead of United, as things stand.
For the Blues, they remain in fourth but have failed to win any of their last four Premier League matches.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
1. Team selection, VAR do Chelsea in
It was not a good day for Chelsea for a variety of reasons. The Blues didn't use their best lineup. Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi all missed due to injury. Pedro and Michy Batshuayi started with Mason Mount and Kepa Arrizabalaga on the bench, and this lineup resembled a team set to play in a Carabao Cup game.
N'Golo Kante only played a handful of minutes before coming off injured, Andreas Christensen also left due to injury and the Blues put just one of their 17 shots on goal.
There was some decent creativity but the sharpness wasn't there. Kurt Zouma looked to have found the net in the second half, but Cesar Azpilicueta was caught pushing Brandon Williams on the review, which was the right call. Olivier Giroud headed home a cross from Mount with about 15 minutes to go, but he was called off after review with his foot being just a few inches in front of Maguire. Harsh.
In the end, regardless of VAR, Chelsea was not sharp enough and could have lost by more.
2. Maguire should have been sent off
Maguire put this game away in the second half with a signature header off of a corner kick, but he shouldn't have even been on the field.
In the first half, he kicked Batshuayi below the belt after a play spilled out of bounds. As Kyle Martino of NBC Sports points out, you cannot fail to give Maguire a red card here when Heung-min Son got a red card recently against Chelsea for basically the exact same move.
VAR didn't have its best day at all. Maguire was allowed to stay on the pitch after the incident was reviewed. He did this to end it in the 66th minute:
United was better, but United was also fortunate.
3.United deserves credit for getting back into UCL battle
Massive credit for United to get this one done on the road. The club hasn't had a good record at Stamford Bridge, but, iIn the past year, United has won there three times. For the Red Devils' three previous wins there, you have to go way back to 2002. The win also gave United its first two-win league campaign vs. Chelsea since the 1987-88 season.
Now, this wasn't a fully convincing performance, but there was progress. Bruno Fernandes looked sharp, especially on set pieces, and Wan-Bissaka continues to impress. If this team can incorporate Marcus Rashford back soon and get him gelling with Fernandes, there is no reason why they can't push the top four.
Chelsea 0, Manchester United 2 (Final)
⚽ Man. United - Anthony Martial (45')
⚽ Man. United - Harry Maguire (66')
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