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Clashes between Chelsea and Man United are rarely quiet encounters lacking incident and the meeting between the two giants at Stamford Bridge on Sunday didnâ€™t fail to disappoint as five goals and two red cards were on show. United edged the thriller 3-2 against the nine-men of Chelsea, who had Branislav Ivanovic rightly sent off just after the hour mark for clipping Ashley Youngâ€™s heels before Fernando Torres was giving his marching orders a few minutes later for a dive, although replays showed that referee Mark Clattenburg had made a mistake by showing the striker his 2nd yellow as Jonny Evans had made contact. Javier Hernandez then settled matters for the visitors in another controversial moment as he turned the ball in from an offside position in the 75th minute.
The fracas after the hour mark sadly took the focus away from what was a brilliant game up to that point as Juan Mata led Chelsea back from a two-goal deficit. The Spanish maestro beat his compatriot with a sublime free-kick just before the break and later played a part in Ramiresâ€™ equalizer in the 54th minute. United began on the front-foot though, with an early blitz that saw them force David Luiz into an own goal after just four minutes before Robin van Persie doubled their lead on 12 minutes. Chelseaâ€™s lead at the top is now cut to just one point, with 2nd placed United and Man City separated by goal-difference.
Petr Cech: 7/10
The veteran keeper made a few very good stops to keep United at bay but ultimately conceded three goals.
Branislav Ivanovic: 4/10
The Serbian had a tough time against Young and Evra in the 1st half when United were on a rampage. He was clearly rash in his attempt to stop Young from going clean through on goal, especially when he was the last man, thus giving the eferee no choice.
Gary Cahill: 6/10
John Terryâ€™s replacement was at fault for the 2nd goal as he allowed Van Persie to drift away and he had a torrid time after Hernandez came on too.
David Luiz: 6/10
He knew little about the own goal as it cannoned off his backside. That apart he came off 2nd best from his duel against Van Persie.
Ashley Cole: 5/10
Antonio Valencia took him to the cleaners, especially in the first half, and much to Coleâ€™s disappointment all three United goals came from the right-wing.
The driving force in Chelseaâ€™s midfield, Ramiresâ€™ energy helped Chelsea surge back into the game. His headed equalizer was vital at that point in the game, although it eventually didnâ€™t count for anything.
Jon Obi Mikel: 6/10
Mikel was meant to stop Rooney in the attacking third but he rarely got near the Englishman, although Rooney did play deeper than usual. Unitedâ€™s piercing counter-attacks came about as a result of the lack of cover provided to Chelseaâ€™s defence from Mikel.
Juan Mata: 8/10
So often the hero for Chelsea, Mata was once again the shining light for the Blues. His superb free-kick was just what Chelsea deserved before the break and he was the ring-master when Chelsea had Untied on the mat.
The youngster looked lively in the opening minutes, but drifted away until his vital contribution to Ramiresâ€™ goal as he provided the cross. He had to be cruelly taken off after Ivanovic was sent-off.
Eden Hazard: 7/10
Hazard had a quiet 1st half, rarely running at the United full-backs. But he got into his groove just before the break, giving Rafael a few tings to worry about. He looked the likeliest to get Chelseaâ€™s 3rd goal before the two red cards.
Fernando Torres: 6 /10
Torres will be extremely frustrated that his evening ended prematurely, especially when it wasnâ€™t his fault. He rarely had the beating of Evans though, finding joy only when he drifted into the wide areas.
The Spaniard got a rare chance to shine but with Chelsea going down to nine-men soon after he came on it was hard for him to make a serious impact.
Ryan Bertrand: 5/10
Torresâ€™ dismissal forced Di Matteo to make this change as Bertrand came on for Mata.
Daniel Sturridge: 5/10
The fate of the match might have been different had Di Matteo brought on Sturridge for Torres in time, but eventually the Englishman got eight minutes of normal time to work with.
David De Gea: 9/10
Probably Unitedâ€™s man of the match, De Gea seems to save something special for Stamford Bridge as he was at the peak of his powers. He single-handedly kept Man United in the game, using his legs, feet and hands to thwart Chelsea.
Rafael da Silva: 7/10
The Brazilian has made the right-back position his own this season and he showed why as he continually bombed forward. He tracked Hazard for most of the evening and but for a few occasions early in the 2nd half he wasnâ€™t badly exposed by the Belgian star.
Rio Ferdinand: 8/10
Unitedâ€™s defence is far more serene when Ferdinand is around and the veteran proved once again that he can still produce performances of this quality against the toughest of opponents.
Jonny Evans: 6/10
Evans has improved his overall game in recent years, but his proclivity to make individual errors almost cost his team. He failed to deal with Oscarâ€™s long-ball for the 2nd Chelsea goal and had the referee got his decision right he could have given away a dangerous free-kick for a foul on Torres.
Patrice Evra: 7/10
The Frenchman is slowly approaching his best form, keeping the Chelsea attacks to a minimum down the right while also making his usual runs up and down the left flank.
Antonio Valencia: 7/10
Valencia was brought into the side to stretch Chelseaâ€™s defence and he did exactly that as he provided the assist for the 2nd goal and remained a constant threat on the right.
Tom Cleverley: 6/10
A nondescript outing for the young midfielder who had to stay disciplined in the centre as United formed a thick wall between Chelseaâ€™s attack and their own defence.
Michael Carrick: 6/10
Carrick was vital to help United keep the ball moving, but he had little space to work with during the 20 minute spell when Chelsea were dominating.
Ashley Young: 6/10
The Englishman had a fairly decent outing on his return from injury, constantly running with the ball on the flanks. He gives United a much more direct option in attack, which forced the manager to eschew the recently deployed diamond formation.
Wayne Rooney: 7/10
Rooney is beginning to drop deeper and deeper into the United midfield, but he showed his class initiating most of the counter-attacks as switched play brilliantly from the centre to the wings. He was however guilty of giving away a poor free-kick which Mata then converted.
Robin Van Persie: 8/10
The summer signing continues to impress by finding the back of the net yet again and also playing a huge part in the other two goals as well.
Javier Hernandez: 7/10
The Mexican super-sub was brought on to take advantage of Chelseaâ€™s personnel disadvantage and he did exactly that as he scored the winner after tormenting the defenders with his movement.
Ryan Giggs: 6/10
The veteran was brought in to stabilize the United midfield during a frantic period and also protect Rooney, who was already on a yellow card.
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