Manchester United vs. Chelsea: 5 Players Key in Red Devils Victory
Goals were scored by Wayne Rooney, Nani and Chris Smalling. This victory puts United the lone first place position in the EPL standings. United played a great game, and they deserved the victory in this one. United remains undefeated, and with a team like this, they are going to be very tough to beat.
Here is a look at five players who were key in Manchester United's victory against one of the EPL's toughest team.
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling proved his worth in this game. He scored his first goal on a header for United in the eighth minute to put them ahead. Smalling looks like a natural back and should be a great player for the Reds in the weeks to come.
Smalling's goal came off a free kick from former Aston Villa star Ashley Young who sent a beautiful ball to the far post. Chelsea was undermanned and helpless as Smalling was able to slip in unopposed to send United up 1-0 giving them a crucial early lead.
Smalling was tested by Chelsea substitute Nicolas Anelka but Smalling was able to handle Anelka showing solid physical strength and good vision. Smalling left the game with a groin injury.
Sir Alex Ferguson commented by saying, "Smalling's got a groin injury so we'll see what it's like during the week," according to United's club website.
Another United defender who had a great game was Phil Jones. The former Blackburn player had a very good game proving his defending abilities and showing that he can help out on offense.
On defense Jones had a powerful tackle on Juan-Marta, and he also won a ball on a one-on-one with Fernando Torres. Jones was also able to make some attack ending interceptions which would be crucial against the Chelsea attack.
Perhaps the biggest contribution that was provided by Jones came on offense. Right before the half in the 45th minute Jones played a key role in Wayne Rooney's goal by charging forward. This provided United with their third goal. Sealing their victory.
David De Gea
Keeper David De Gea was able to quite the critics with this game. De Gea had a great game providing some great saves that kept Chelsea out of the game.
De Gea saved seven of the eight on goal shots that Chelsea took against him. De Gea also had a bit of luck after Fernando Torres shot wide on a open net sealing the fate of Chelsea.
De Gea's biggest saves came against Ramires. In the third minute De Gea had a great reaction save with his feet which would deny Ramires of a goal. An even better save came later against the Brazilian Ramires. De Gea made a spectacular save as he spread out to save Ramires shot once again.
De Gea had no chance to save Chelsea's only goal, but that will happen.
Nani had a incredible game scoring one goal and providing support in numerous other ways.
Nani once again has shown that he is a dominate winger that is a force to reckoned with. The Portuguese winger's goal came in the thirty-seventh minute which would give United a 2-0 lead at half.
Nani's solo goal was a 20-yard bomb that would end up in the top corner. Nani would later be denied by the bar which would have given him a second goal.
Nani would ultimately support United in many other ways other then the solo goal he contributed. After following his own rebound off the crossbar Nani was fouled by Jose Bosingwa giving United a penalty kick.
Nani also had a ball bounce off him which would provided Rooney with a easy goal. Nani proved he is very dangerous and it showed today.
Rooney once again proved that he is the one of the best players in the world today scoring the final goal for United which would seal the game for Manchester United.
Rooney's goal came in the forty-fifth minute off a attempted clearance by Chelsea's John Terry. The ball bounced off Nani and allowed Rooney to tap in a easy goal. That goal was Rooney's ninth of the season. Rooney would get another chance but he would push it off a post.
Rooney would also miss a penalty kick that came from Nani. Rooney had a moment much like Chelsea's John Terry did against United in the 2008 Champions League Final which came down to a shootout.
Rooney's standing foot slipped, and the ball bounced harmlessly wide.