Manchester United produced arguably their most convincing and impressive performance yet under Jose Mourinho when the Portuguese’s former employers Chelsea rolled up at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Blues have already beaten United twice this season and are setting the pace at the Premier League’s summit, but they struggled to cope with Mourinho’s 3-5-2 setup and eventually found themselves succumbing to a 2-0 defeat – without producing a single shot on target.
It felt like a significant win for Mourinho on a personal level and within the context of trying to restore the Red Devils to their former glories, so we asked Football FanCast’s United readers yesterday to vote for their Man of the Match versus the Blues.
The results of our exclusive poll are now in – here’s a look at who made the top three.
Only Tottenham and Liverpool have scored more goals than the Blues this season and their counter-attacking style has proved particularly effective away from home, so Manchester United deserve the utmost praise for keeping a clean sheet – something Premier League opposition have managed just once against Chelsea since September. Crucial to that end was centre-back Eric Bailly, who is quickly establishing himself as United’s most important defender. He notched up five tackles, one interception, four clearances and two successful aerial duels to keep the likes of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa quiet.
Mourinho made the bold decision to let Marcus Rashford lead the line on Sunday, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic seemingly spared for coming Europa League obligations, and the young England forward certainly didn’t let his manager down. Rashford opened the scoring after just seven minutes and was a nuisance to Chelsea’s defence throughout, producing four efforts at goal and four successful dribbles. Now boasting two goals in his last two Premier League outings, the 19-year-old could be set to end the season with a goalscoring flurry.
No prizes for guessing this one. Ander Herrera was by far the most influential player for either side on Sunday, not only supplying Rashford for United’s first with a defence-splitting pass that left him one-on-one with Asmir Begovic but also netting Red Devils’ second – albeit via a somewhat fortunate deflection. Football FanCast have already felt compelled to discuss Herrera’s pivotal importance in the 2-0 win, offering vital defensive protection and man-marking Eden Hazard for much of the match whilst having the biggest impact on the scoreline.