Shaun Botterill

Chelsea vs. Manchester United: Red Devils sink nine-man Blues 3-2

Unfortunately, referee Mark Clattenburg and his crew will be the biggest story from Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Two red cards and an offside goal helped Manchester United to a 3-2 win over Chelsea.

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United of 2008: here comes the ill-advised sequel

Manchester United are relying on sheer firepower to win games, and it appears to be working.


Clattenburg accused of using racial slur

Referee Mark Clattenburg has been accused of two separate cases of using inappropriate language towards Chelsea players on Sunday, including an alleged racial slur.


United gets controversial win over nine-man Blues

Chicharito's controversial late goal proved the difference as Manchester United took advantage of two second half red cards against Chelsea to win 3-2 at Stamford Bridge


Chicharito puts United up with offside goal

Manchester United lead nine-man Chelsea in the most appropriate way possible. Since the Blues' momentum and chances of winning have already been destroyed by two very questionable refereeing decisions, it's very fitting that Manchester United's go-ahead goal was scored by a player who was offside. The Red Devils lead 3-2, and Chelsea probably don't have a route back in this one.

The chance was created initially by Robin van Persie, who made a fantastic turn and shot in the penalty area, but Petr Cech tipped it onto the near post. The ball spun on the line, but was eventually cleared away, but only as far as Rafael. He crossed towards the far post, where substitute striker 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez was waiting. He came from an offside position to meet the ball and direct it into the back of the net, and the linesman failed to spot it.

Mark Clattenburg's crew certainly hasn't covered themselves in glory today.


Torres sent off, Blues down to nine

Things are not going well for Chelsea, nor are they going well for Mark Clattenburg. He'll have to have a long talk with his bosses after sending off Fernando Torres and taking Chelsea down to nine men. The Blues now have 20-plus minutes to hold onto a 2-2 draw while down two men, and Manchester United have to be expected to grab three points at this point.

Torres was booked for simulation in the 68th minute, after he went down under a challenge by Jonny Evans. While Torres did appear to do a bit of embellishing, he was absolutely contacted by Evans, and that contact caused him to lose his balance. It was simply the wrong call by Clattenburg, who showed Torres his second yellow card of the game.

Before the two red cards, this was one of the best matches of the season anywhere in Europe. Unfortunately, the referee will now be the story.


Ivanovic sent off as Young sells a foul

Chelsea will have to play for nearly a half-hour with ten men, thanks to a red card picked up by right back Branislav Ivanovic. On a counter-attack by Manchester United, Ashley Young was nearly clean through on goal when he went down on the edge of the penalty area. Ivanovic was attempting to win back the ball and was the last man back. Referee Mark Clattenburg believed there was sufficient contact to warrant a foul, and sent off Ivanovic for denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

If Ivanovic made contact with young's legs, the decision was a correct one. However, the contact appeared to be minimal, if there was any contact at all. Young went down as if he'd been shot, which won't do much for his reputation as one of the Premier League's most notorious divers.

Wayne Rooney curled the ensuing free kick just over the bar, missing a chance to put United ahead, but they should have quite a few more of those before the match is done.


Ramires fires Chelsea level

Chelsea looked like a truly hopeless side through 30 minutes of play against Manchester United, but the individual brilliance of their star attackers has them right back into the match. Juan Mata closed out the second half with a five-minute spell of dominance that led to one goal, and he's helped set up another, scored by Ramires.

United and Chelsea are level at 2-2, and an already brilliant match looks to be getting even better by the minute. The goal came in the 53rd minute on a long sequence where the Red Devils failed to clear multiple times. Mata was played through by a ball over the top of the defense, but couldn't get off a shot. He cut back and crossed to Torres, who couldn't beat his defender. The ball dribbled wide to Oscar, who put another cross into the center of the penalty area. This time, Ramires met the ball with a powerful header after a brilliant late run into the box and nodded past De Gea to make it 2-2.

Since the goal, Chelsea have kept the pressure up and have forced De Gea into a big kick save at his near post. The momentum of this game has done a complete turnaround, and Chelsea now look like the most likely side to win.


United lead 2-1 after a bipolar first half

United wasted little time taking the lead after only four minutes, with a little help from David Luiz's back. Wayne Rooney made a great run in from the right and centered to Robin Van Persie whose shot slammed off the post and ricocheted off Luiz's back and past Petr Cech. You wouldn't have known by RVP's celebration that it was an own goal but he was excited so I guess we'll give him a pass.

RVP was at it again in the 12th minute. Antonio Valenica, a late replacement for Nani in the lineup, sent a low cross in the box that found van Persie all alone, eight yards in front of Cech. RVP, who'd totally beaten Gary Cahill on the play, easily buried the shot and put United ahead 2-0.

How bad was it for Chelsea? They didn't get their first official shot until the 24th minute, but it was nearly a goal. United gave a way a free kick from about 25-yards when Michael Carrick took out Ramires. David Luiz stepped up and sent his free kick past the wall, forcing a great kick save by David De Gea.

The Blues did improve late in the half, coming close a couple times including a near own goal by Jonny Evans, who put the ball off the post. In the ensuring chaos, Cahill got a header on target but it was stopped by De Gea's legs. Fernando Torres also forced a tremendous save from De Gea in the 42nd minute.

United simply couldn't get the ball out of their end and Rooney's frustration boiled over in the 44th minute as he took down Eden Hazard with a sloppy tackle right at the top of the penalty box. Juan Mata took the free kick and send a curling ball just inside the post and just over the diving glove of De Gea to pull Chelsea back within a goal right before halftime.

Fantastic stuff from Chelsea considering the way they started the game, should be a great second half.


Juan Mata brings Chelsea back in it

Chelsea were extremely poor in the first 30 minutes of the game, but they surprisingly found some life in their legs for the closing stages of the first half. It looked like hope was more or less lost for the Blues as Manchester United continued to dominate with a 2-0 lead through the half-hour mark, but the tide has turned in the home side's favor. Just before the stroke of halftime, Juan Mata scored for Chelsea to cut United's lead to 2-1.

Fernando Torres created Chelsea's best chance of the match up until that point in the 42nd minute and looked to have scored from point-blank range, but David De Gea got across his goal to make a world class save. Chelsea kept the pressure on and Mata won a free kick on the edge of the area in the 44th minute.

Mata stepped up and curled an unstoppable shot around De Gea, and suddenly Chelsea began to take over. They kept their foot on the accelerator in the final minute and Mata forced another save out of De Gea. Incredibly, for all of their struggles in the first half hour, Chelsea are a bit unlucky not to be level.


Robin van Persie makes it 2-0 United

Robin van Persie has put in an absolutely dominant 15-minute spell against Chelsea, who haven't been able to contain him, and he's fired Manchester United 2-0 ahead of the Blues. While United's first goal will be scored as an own goal to David Luiz, it was created by van Persie's brilliance. This time, he'll be credited for a goal, scored in the 12th minute.

The assist was an absolutely beautiful one, perhaps even better than van Persie's excellent finish. He was picked out by Antonio Valencia, who hit a fantastic low cut-back cross from the right flank. Van Persie found space and lost his man, then poked in a great right-footed finish with his first touch.

Chelsea have looked in control for much of the first 15 minutes of the match, but they've been absolutely taken apart on the counter on two occasions. The Blues were probably hoping to control the match for a while before getting too aggressive, but their plans have been flipped upside down.


United take early lead on David Luiz own goal

Manchester United have already taken a lead on a fantastic move, though David Luiz will get credit for an own goal. It's harsh on the Brazilian defender, who couldn't have possibly known much about it, and the goal was really due to a brilliant strike by Robin van Persie.

While David Luiz didn't do anything wrong on the actual own goal, the initial defending by the Chelsea back line was very poor. Ashley Young was given a ton of space to run into on a through ball, though he didn't do a great job taking it. Instead, he laid off to van Persie, who unleashed an excellent strike to the near post from around 25 yards. The ball beat Petr Cech and ricochet off the post, then deflected off the back of David Luiz before hitting the back of the net.

Chelsea had the first half-chance of the game in the first 90 seconds, but the goal actually came on van Persie's second shot from long range. He might have just felt confident in his abilities early, but it wouldn't be shocking if this was a tactic of some kind from Alex Ferguson and his staff.


Underway from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea and Manchester United have kicked off from Stamford Bridge, and this is by far the biggest match of the Premier League season thus far. The Blues have been fantastic in going undefeated through their first eight matches and will firmly establish themselves as favorites for the title if they don't lose this match, though Manchester City continue to produce solid results domestically as they falter in Europe.

Wayne Rooney is expectedly starting the match well behind Robin van Persie, operating as an attacking midfielder rather than as a forward. In fact, when United do not have the ball, they appear to be shifting into a 4-1-4-1 formation with Rooney and Tom Cleverley on the same level, ahead of Michael Carrick. Chelsea have started the match with Juan Mata on the right, Oscar in the center and Eden Hazard on the left, but the three of them will interchange frequently throughout the match.


Chelsea vs. Manchester United: Lineups

Chelsea and Manchester United have opted for youth and athleticism over experience in their teams for today's massive Premier League match, though the Blues didn't have much of a choice. Tom Cleverley has been selected in United's midfield over Paul Scholes, while Ramires is in Chelsea's starting XI after Frank Lampard picked up an injury away to Shakhtar Donetsk midweek.

Manchester United starting lineup (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Rafael; Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley; Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia; Robin van Persie

Chelsea starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic; John Obi Mikel; Ramires; Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar; Fernando Torres

Lampard is not fit enough to make the bench for Chelsea, but Marko Marin is finally back from injury and is in the Chelsea 18-man squad. You can catch the game on FOX Soccer in the U.S., Sky Sports 1 in the U.K. and Sportsnet World in Canada.


Chelsea ready to face United without Terry

Chelsea face their toughest test of the season so far when they host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

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