The showdown of two under pressure clubs was a largely tense affair at Old Trafford. However, we did see a lot more attacking play than we may have expected.
The previous defensive displays from Manchester United were a far cry from their attacking flair that was on show against the Chelsea defence. Chelsea’s defensive midfield pairing stood strong throughout the game, despite an inability from Eden Hazard to hold the ball up in his role as a lone striker.
Nemanja Matic missed an absolute sitter during the second half, whilst Courtois and De Gea both has to produce utterly stunning saves to keep the scores level.
Anthony Martial was a constant thorn in the side of Chelsea’s defence and Juan Mata was extremely unfortunate not to score early on as his struck hit the bar.
With the season at the halfway point, here are five things that we learned from the massive game between the PL’s two most successful sides of the last decade..
Ander Herrera provides an injection of midfield momentum that United so often seem to be lacking and the Spaniard provided another quality performance from central midfield.
Despite being denied by a stunning Thibaut Courtois save, Herrera’s involvement in the side was impressive once more and the team looks a lot better when he is included.
If United are to progress, van Gaal needs to become far more trusting of Herrera.
Despite signing a new contract recently, Cahill looks to be marginalised at Stamford Bridge. The England man has often been a weak link in the Chelsea defence and he has clearly lost his place to Kurt Zouma of late.
Terry might only have one more season left, but you would expect that the Blues look to replace Terry with a new signing rather than an ageing Cahill.
Not for the first time, Chelsea looked more secure in both defence and central midfield without Cesc Fabregas.
Unless Chelsea are to move to a possession style of football in the next few weeks, it seems hard to see how Fabregas warrants a place in the side.
The fluidity of the attacking midfield trio is crucial and Fabregas seems to lack the physical credentials to fit into the Chelsea system.
The much-maligned ex-Villa winger has become a full-back under Louis van Gaal and it seems to be a role that he has taken to quite comfortably.
Within his last couple of seasons as one of the wing options for United, Young quickly became surplus to requirements and was well know for his inconsistency and regular loss of possession.
Young made a couple of crucial defensive interventions against the Blues and he is beginning to look more comfortable in that role.
Despite calls that van Gaal has lost the dressing room after their defeat to Stoke, it looked far from that against Chelsea.
Where players seemed disinterested and unable to close down the opposition, there was a competitive edge to the squad at Old Trafford that suggested they were still fully behind their manager.
If van Gaal is going to stay on at the club, he will need more performances like this to keep the fans on side.