Maguire seals United's win at Chelsea as VAR controversy reigns
Premier League, Stamford Bridge: Chelsea 0, Manchester United 2 (Martial 45', Maguire 66')
Manchester United moved up to seventh in the Premier League table with a crucial 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The visitors scored with their first two shots on target. Anthony Martial glanced in a cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka just before half-time to put United in front, before Harry Maguire sealed all three points by heading in a Bruno Fernandes corner after 66 minutes.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will rue a string of missed chances in the first half, and also the numerous interventions by the Video Assistant Referee. Chelsea had two goals chalked off in the second half and Harry Maguire was fortunate not to receive a red card after review in the first, when he appeared to kick out at Michy Batshuayi.
Manchester United are now three points behind Chelsea, who are in fourth place in the league. They are two of a group of seven clubs who might have a realistic shot at a Champions League qualifying places – especially if the recent UEFA sanctions against Manchester City bring fifth place into that equation.
Should Harry Maguire have been sent off? The two goals that VAR ruled out for Chelsea were correct decisions, but the home side will not be happy about its failure to pick up a potential game-changing moment in the first half. Manchester United’s captain did appear to kick out at Batshuayi and definitely connected, yet Anthony Taylor was advised there should be no further action. Yet just before Christmas, Taylor was advised to send off Tottenham’s Son Heung-min for a virtual like-for-like offence against Chelsea after a VAR review.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
This was so nearly the night that Manchester United’s expensive new signing scored his first goal. Fernandes hit the post with a gorgeous effort from a free-kick, and the danger he poses from set-piece delivery was realised soon after when he picked out Maguire from a corner to settle the match. Outside of that his work was economical and classy, with enough quality touches to indicate why United paid such a huge amount for his services.
SUBS: Zouma 6, Mount 6, Giroud 6
Manchester United (5-3-2): De Gea 6; Wan-Bissaka 7, Bailly 7, Maguire 7, Shaw 6, Williams 6; Fred 7, Matic 6, Fernandes 8; James 6, Martial 7
21’ Maguire and Batshuayi have clashed on the touchline after the former is bundled over by the latter. Maguire appears to have a little kick out at Batshuayi afterwards, right in front of the Chelsea bench who are up in arms. It's VAR reviewed and there's no further action, but that was ill-advised to say the least from Maguire.
26’ CHANCE! Chelsea should be ahead. A lovely through pass releases Mount into the United area on the left. He cuts it back to Batshuayi in the centre, who screws his shot wide from eight yards out.
45’ GOAL! Chelsea 0 Manchester United 1 (Martial 45) From nowhere United are in front! Wan-Bissaka runs Willian down the right, and after a couple of Cruyff turns he fires a beautiful cross into the penalty area. Martial rises above his marker in the middle and glances a perfect header into the far corner past Caballero.
56’ DISALLOWED GOAL! Zouma sweeps the ball in from a corner, but the path for the ball finding him was cleared after Azpilicueta pushed Williams to the floor at the front post. Before that, Fred looked to have pushed Azpilicueta into Williams to create a domino effect; you'll hear more about that at full-time I'm sure.
64’ OFF THE POST! A gorgeous effort from Bruno Fernandes, who almost catches Caballero out with a whipped shot at the near post that rockets back out into play.
66’ GOAL! Chelsea 0 Manchester United 2 (Maguire 66) It's two for United! After a couple of quick corners in succession, Fernandes bullets the second one perfectly to the back post. Maguire gets above Rudiger, and thunders his header into the net from six yards out.
77’ ANOTHER DISALLOWED GOAL! Chelsea fans are furious here, but it's a correct if marginal decision. Mount gets into space down the right and whips a brilliant ball to the front post, where Giroud stoops to nod in from six yards. As the cross went in though VAR shows him to be just offside and it's chalked off.
89’ OFF THE POST! A high foot from Fernandes gives Chelsea a free-kick on the right of the United area. Reece James steps over it and Mount whips a shot to the near post, which the ball smacks into before rebounding out of the area.
- Chelsea remain in fourth position in the Premier League but have taken only 15 points from the last possible 42.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has won four and drawn one of his matches in all competitions against Chelsea since taking over as manager of Manchester United.