Chelsea Vs. Manchester United, 2012 Premier League: Halftime Score, Johnny Evans Own Goal The Difference

The first 35 minutes of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea was a bit dull, but Daniel Sturridge brought proceedings to life late in the first half, with some help from the Manchester United defense. Though United looked like the team more likely to score in the early going, it was the Blues who got on the board first, and they've taken a 1-0 lead into halftime at Stamford Bridge.

Johnny Evans has been credited for an own goal on the Chelsea goal, though he was probably the United player least at fault for the goal out of everyone involved. In the 36th minute, Sturridge blew by Patrice Evra with incredible ease before hitting a ball across the face of goal that was parried by David De Gea. The ball deflected off Evans after being pushed aside by the United keeper and deflected into the net, putting Chelsea ahead.

Other than that goal, the first half featured a hilarious sequence in the early going where four borderline fouls were committed in a matter of a minute, but Howard Webb called none of them. One of those almost fouls was a clip of Danny Welbeck's heels by Gary Cahill, where a free kick and a yellow card probably should have been given. Cahill, himself has been given a straight red for less this season.

United's best chance came in the 28th minute, on a great ball into the box by Wayne Rooney. While away from the defense, Rooney had a reasonable angle to take a shot, but instead elected to look for Welbeck with a swinging ball to the far post. He almost found his strike partner for a tap-in, but Branislav Ivanovic intervened brilliantly. Less than ten minutes later, Sturridge created Chelsea's goal.

Things seriously picked up after the goal, with both goalkeepers needing to make reasonably difficult saves. The game was played at a mostly pedestrian pace for much of the first half, but the final ten minutes were extremely frenetic. With almost the last kick of the half, Rooney unloaded on a long shot and forced a Petr Cech save. Nothing came out of the ensuing corner kick.

Both teams passed the ball poorly while playing slowly in the early going, so expect a much more intense and high-quality second half.

For more on the two teams, check out Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History and Manchester United blog The Busby Babe.

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