Chelsea had to rely on a 96th-minute equaliser to secure a draw against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in Saturday’s early kick-off.
A first-half goal from Antonio Rudiger gave the Blues the lead at half-time but an Anthony Martial brace in the second period put the Red Devils in front. Deep into injury time, Ross Barkley came up with a vital equaliser as the Blues continued their unbeaten run.
Although, the England international started the game on the bench in spite of his great performance against Spain on Monday night with Mateo Kovacic filling his void whilst Alvaro Morata came into the side in place of Olivier Giroud. From the beginning, Chelsea were clearly looking to control the tempo of the match but early chances were at a premium with neither side having a decent sighting of goal.
Romelu Lukaku, who was returning to his former club, should’ve done better with a header from Luke Shaw’s pinpoint cross after 15 minutes but he sent it aimlessly wide. Then, moments later, Rudiger showed him how it was done as he lost Paul Pogba and powered Willian’s corner past a helpless David de Gea. Whilst the movement of the German defender was good, the defending (or lack of it) was shocking from United.
The first-half rather petered out from there with no clear-cut chances nor talking points other than a couple of bookings, the Blues were good value for their lead and the scoreline reflected the opening 45 minutes perfectly.
Jose Mourinho, also returning to Stamford Bridge, must’ve said something that stuck during the break as his side came out with much more purpose. De Gea was called into action a couple of times in the first couple of minutes but nothing too strenuous for the Spanish number one with the hosts looking to double their advantage.
However, just 10 minutes into the half, Martial brought the teams level following some penalty area pinball. The ball ended with Ashley Young whose scuffed shot dropped perfectly for the French forward, he took a great first touch before slamming into the bottom corner.
The equaliser got the visitors’ tails up and they suddenly looked the likelier to push for a winner. But David Luiz squandered a fantastic chance to put his side in front after Willian picked him out from a wide free-kick, the former PSG centre-back couldn’t keep his free header on target.
N’Golo Kante, who netted his first Chelsea goal against the Red Devils, came close to recreating that goalscoring form but his driven strike from the edge of the box was expertly kept out by David de Gea. Then, in the blink of an eye, United got their noses in front. Juan Mata, another former Blue, worked the ball inside to Marcus Rashford 20 yards from goal and he shipped it out to the other wing where Martial was waiting before bending an unstoppable strike into Kepa’s bottom right corner.
Ander Herrera had the chance to put the game beyond reasonable doubt but he couldn’t connect at the vital moment and was made to rue that missed opportunity in the sixth minute of injury time. Cesar Azpilicueta lifted a hopeful cross into the opposition box and Luiz threw himself at it, crashing a header onto the far post. Rudiger saw the rebound saved from point-blank range before Barkley came in and saved the day, sending the ball into the bottom corner.
A melee ensued on the touchline as Mourinho was provoked into a reaction by a member of Maurizio Sarri’s backroom staff, leaving the ‘Special One’ to chase him down the tunnel. After the stewards had broken up the mass brawl, the final whistle was blown on what was a brilliant game of football between two Premier League titans.
The next test for the Blues comes in the shape of a Europa League tie with BATE Borisov before a trip to Turf Moor next Sunday to face Burnley.