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Highlights From the Game Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0
5th November 2017
Alvaro Morata's 55th minute header decided an entertaining clash between two of the Premier League's heavyweights at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea edged the game throughout and should have made the game more comfortable, giving a cautious United side the chance to try and salvage a point late on. Yet that solitary strikes was enough to earn Chelsea all three points and move them within a point of their opponents, relieving a little of the pressure on manager Antonio Conte after their heavy 3-0 loss at Roma in the Champions League.
The terse relationship between the two mangers was evident to all in the cursory handshake prior to kick-off. Yet once the whistle was blown it was Conte's side who settled quicker with Manchester's Spanish keeper David De Gea down smartly to save a deflected strike from N'Golo Kante within the first two minutes. Kante had been a huge miss for the champions of late, this being his first appearance after a 6 game absence through injury. United were soon to breathe a further sigh of relief as Chelsea had a goal disallowed following a foul on defender Phil Jones.
Manchester tried to get a footing in to the game and Marcus Rashford maybe should have done better with his looping header which fell on to the roof of the net as Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois found himself stranded off his line. Both sides tried to push forward when they gained possession, but it was Chelsea who possessed the more cutting edge as first Eden Hazard brought a smart stop from De Gea, before Cesc Fabregas on his 150th appearance for the club headed the rebound wide. On the stroke of half time centre-back Andreas Christensen sent a free header over the United bar from a corner.
The two sides went in at the break goalless and United were to have an early let off in the second half as Hazard fired straight at De Gea when he should have done better. However Chelsea did not have to wait much longer for their goal as Cesar Azpilicueta delivered a pinpoint cross for the unmarked Morata to place a towering header in to the top corner. The deadlock had been broken and United needed to respond. Jose Mourinho turned to his bench and brought on Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial to replace Jones and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
However it was Chelsea who continued to threaten, as Tiemoue Bakayoko and Eden Hazard both went close to extending their lead before United finally began to respond. Marcus Rashford was unlucky not to pick out Fellaini at the far post with an inviting inswinging cross before he narrowly missed the target from the edge of the penalty box following a United corner. It would have been the sort of pressure Chelsea would have anticipated and Conte introduced Danny Drinkwater for the last 12 minutes to try and help shore up the midfield.
In a frenetic finale Fellaini's volley from 12 yards brought a good stop from Courtois and Rashford was only just over the bar with a free-kick, while Morata wasted a good chance in between these United opportunities. It was not to be for Manchester as referee Anthony Taylor blew to bring the end to the game. Chelsea had held on for a narrow 1-0 win, a result celebrated in enthusiastic fashion by the Chelsea manager as he went on to the pitch to be with his players. It meant no end of game manager's handshake as Mourinho shook hands with the remaining staff members on the Chelsea bench.