Wayne Rooney scored two penalty kicks as Manchester United fought back from a 3-0 second half deficit to rescue a dramatic point from Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United looked dead-and-buried 5 minutes into the second half when David Luiz’s header was deflected into his own net by Rio Ferdinand, to give Chelsea a 3-0 lead.
A small glimmer of hope was handed to the visitors just before the hour when Patrice Evra was bundled down inside the box by Daniel Sturridge. Wayne Rooney duly stepped up to narrow the deficit.
Ten minutes later, the pressure on Chelsea was heightened, and the prospect of classic increased, as Howard Webb adjudged Danny Welbeck to have been tripped inside the 18 yard box by Branislav Ivanovic. Once again, Rooney stepped up and converted the penalty, into the opposite corner this time, to make the score 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining.
One player who wasn’t able to influence the match at this point was Ashley Young, who was making his first appearance since Christmas, after a lively first half performance against Ivanovic. During a largely uneventful first half, it was the Englishman’s stinging shots which produced one of the more hopeful moments of the first half.
However, the summer signing from Aston Villa was replaced, early in the second half, by Javier Hernandez at 3-0.
Fighting back in the second half, from the left wing, Ryan Giggs had the game in his hands… or his feet, as he created the most opportunities in this game. It had to be the evergreen Welsh winger whose cross was headed home, from close range, by Hernandez in the 84th minute. Neither David Luiz or the debuting Gary Cahill managed to pick up the only striker in the six yard box, as the Little Pea drew the sides level.
Wayne Rooney had the most goal attempts in this match. Accumulating a total of 8, including his two penalties. After that he forced 3 more saves from Petr Cech, including one that was palmed away before being collected by Ryan Giggs at the byline to setup the equaliser.
Danny Welbeck wasn’t as productive despite facing a defensive partnership of Gary Cahill and David Luiz, playing together for the first time. The youngster, who’s most influential play in the game was to win the second penalty managed to force one save from the Czech goalkeeper.
Gary Cahill didn’t make a single tackle attempt in his first appearance for Chelsea, and won 1 of only 2 aerial battles. Playing at right back for Manchester United, Rafael made 8 successful tackles in this game; more than the whole Chelsea squad combined the home side made several attempts to attack down the left flank. In fact, Florent Malouda created the most chances in open play for the Blues.
David de Gea has faced a lot of criticism this season but had little opportunity to prevent any of the goals. The Spaniard however made a fantastic flying save in the dying seconds from Juan Mata’s long range free kick that was heading into the top corner.
Manchester United have now gone a decade without winning at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League and go into next weekend’s home game against Liverpool 2 points behind top of the league Manchester City.