With a win today over Manchester United, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho notched his 100th Premiership victory. Mourinho trotted out a slightly defensive side against United and opted for Samuel Eto’o at forward over Fernando Torres. As is usually the case with Mourinho’s tinkering, that small change was a stroke of genius.
United looked lively early on in the match and had several decent chances largely due to the trickery of youngster Adnan Januzaj. They dominated possession for minutes on end and Chelsea struggled to clear the ball from their own half. Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck forced Petr Cech in to saves but never really troubled the keeper.
Samuel Eto’o’s goal came against the run of play and off a fortunate deflection but it was no less than Chelsea deserved. Turning Phil Jones inside out, the striker let fly from the edge of the box and his shot looped in to the far corner. His second came as a result of poor defending after a Chelsea corner as Ramires found Gary Cahill on the edge of the box who squared for Etoo and the Cameroonian slotted it home. Etoos third came from even worse set piece defending as Gary Cahill’s free header was nicely saved by De Gea but the striker bundled the deflection home. The Cameroonian’s predatory instincts inside the box are legendary and proved the difference today.
At 3-0 the match was all but over and unfortunately Chelsea defended like it was. United sub Chicharito Hernandez, who has scored 7 goals in 10 games against Chelsea, tapped in a consolation goal but that was the last real United threat. United centerback Nemanja Vidic was sent off for a rash scissor challenge on Eden Hazard and Rafael should have been as well for a two footed attempt at tackling Gary Cahill. Hopefully the FA sorts it all out post match and just punishments are handed out for Rafael who only received a yellow card.
All in all it was an easy three points in a straightforward if not the most stylish match. United looked threatening coming forward but without forwards Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie there was no one to finish off the attacks. They looked disjointed in defense as is usually the case for a shuffled back line due to injury. The only negative from the match was Fernando Torres picking up a knock in the dying minutes and it looks like he may miss a few weeks.
Man of the march: Samuel Eto’o, the hat trick hero.
Honorable mention: Willian
Match notes and notable stats:
- Jose Mourinho reaches 100 victories faster than any other manager in Premier League history (142, 20 less than Alex Ferguson).
- Mourinho’s 1st and 100th Premier League victory came against Manchester United.
- Samuel Eto’o is the fourth player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Man United, after David Bentley, Dirk Kuyt and Romelu Lukaku.
- Nemanja Matic made his second Chelsea debut only 1351 days after his first.
Match statistics and player ratings here.