A Tactical Analysis of Manchester United's Win at Chelsea

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A Tactical Analysis of Manchester United's Win at Chelsea
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Javier Hernandez celebrates his winner against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Manchester United beat Premier League leaders Chelsea 3-2 in an eventful and controversial match at Stamford Bridge.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team started like a freight train and they took a 2-0 lead after 12 minutes. However, Chelsea fought back to level things on 53 minutes.

Two red cards for Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres reduced the Blues to nine men. United eventually took advantage of their two-man advantage when Javier Hernandez scored the winning goal.

This was the first time since 2002 that United beat Chelsea in the league at home. The game itself was one of three disparate half-hour periods. Manchester United were much the dominant team in the first half-hour, while Chelsea dominated the next. 

However, the match will be remembered for what happened in the final third of the game. First, referee Mark Clattenburg sent off Ivanovic for denying Ashley Young a goalscoring opportunity. This would turn out to be the least controversial decision of the three major second-half decisions by the referee and his assistants.

Clattenburg then showed Torres a second yellow card on 68 minutes for what he deemed to be a dive. However, replays did show that there was contact between United defender Jonny Evans and Torres. If anything, the incident should have incurred a yellow card for the United man.

To further stoke the fires of injustice being felt by everyone involved with Chelsea, replays also showed Chicharito was offside when he scored the winner on 75 minutes.

Despite the last third when the referee left his indelible mark, the match was quite entertaining. Both teams contributed to the attacking mood around the game, and there was a conflation of interesting tactics from both managers.

In this article, we take a look at the different tactical patterns in this top-of-the-table Premier League clash.

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