Chelsea have played arguably their best 45 minutes of attacking football this season, but it hasn't been nearly enough. Because of some last gasp defending by Manchester United, a tremendous save by David de Gea and poor finishing, Chelsea are without a goal at halftime. Meanwhile, the Red Devils have made the most of their opportunities, capitalizing on a referee's mistake for one goal, getting an absolute rocket from Nani and making it 3-0 at the break thanks to a finish by Wayne Rooney on a play created by Phil Jones.
A foul in the eighth minute gave the Red Devils a free kick from 35 yards and Ashley Young played a great ball in, as has become the norm for the new United signing. As good as the ball was though, replays showed Chris Smalling to be at least a half yard offisde, but the assistant referee's flag never went up. That meant Smalling was in behind the Chelsea defense and able to nod the ball home for the opening goal of the match.
After falling behind a goal, Chelsea grabbed a hold of the match. They built from the back and everything they did was beautiful. That is until they got to the actual finishing part. Fernando Torres did well to make smart runs and good passes, but his finishing touch is still missing. He did set Ramires up perfectly, crossing for Ramires right in front, but Ramires put the ball the only place where de Gea could get to it. The United keeper came flying across for a great diving save and Chelsea were still scoreless.
The Blues' momentum was halted by Nani and just about knocked Chelsea out for good. Juan Mata barely attempted to defend Nani and John Terry never bothered to step up so Nani was able to dribble in and get some space some 20 yards from goal. Nani, who has never been shy, didn't need any extra encouragement to shoot and ripped a brilliant shot into the corner to double the United lead.
For good measure, the Red Devils added one more before the break. Phil Jones, apparently oblivious to the fact that he's a defender, danced his way through the Blues' defense and found himself in the Chelsea box. Chelsea weren't able to get the ball clear and in the mess, the ball bounced right in front of goal to Rooney. The on fire striker just smacked the ball home and the Red Devils were well on their way to a win with a 3-0 halftime lead.
Head on over to Manchester United blog The Busby Babe and Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History for more on the two teams and this match. We'll have coverage of the game and every other match in the Premiership this week in our English Premier League Week 5 StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, bookmark SB Nation Soccer.