Chelsea 2 - 1 Man U
Part 2 of a huge 3 part week that started with a great Champions League 1st leg result at Anfield and now needs a great performance from the mighty Blues who bring Jedi and Ess in for Maka and Lamps, while Kalou replaces Malouda in the front 3. It's no surprise that United rest Ronaldo and Tevez though they're on the bench.
Chelsea start brilliantly with Ess completely bossing the middle of the park and Joe Cole running riot. Ess has two great opportunities before Joe crashes a scruffy chance against the post. Its all Chelsea but there's still no end product. Ess again plays in Joe Cole but the angle is too tight and Joe smacks a shot into the side netting - all this possession and drive deserves a goal.... and it gets on in the 42min when Drogs brilliantly holds up play on the edge of the box and drops an inch perfect cross into the box which is headed home by an unmarked Ballack. All the players unfurl a number eight shirt with "Pat Lampard RIP" on it - nice touch and condolences to Frank Jnr, Snr and the Lampard family. Its probably as good an opening 45mins as we've had all season. As good today as we were bad against Wigan. Now the challenge is to press on in the same way in the 2nd half.
Chelsea go off in exactly the same fashion in the 2nd half but this time Man U respond - lots of possession for them but not much in the way of clear chances until disaster strikes. Ferreira rolls a free kick to Ricky midway in the Chelsea half and under no real pressure he lets the ball get caught under his feet and then, in trying to find JT, rolls the pass back to Rooney who drives into the box and finishes low across Cech.
An hour gone and were looking knackered so its worrying that off goes Rooney and on comes Ronaldo. Still we press on and with 15mins to go AG makes the change to 4-4-2. Off goes Ferreira and on comes Anelka with Ess switching to right-back. Nani brings down JT on the edge of the box and it suddenly starts descending into farce as Ballack and Drogs start pushing and shoving each other over who's taking the kick. Brogs finnaly wins out and van der Sar pulls off a great save. 10mins left and on comes Sheva and its back to 4-3-3 with Kalou coming off but 2mins later its a penalty !! Carrick sticks out an arm to block a cross from Ess and up steps Ballack to bury the penalty. 3mins to go and Maka comes on for Joe Cole yet there's still time for Sheva to clear off the line from a Darren Fletcher's header. But that;s the last of it - two goals from Ballack, 81 games unbeaten at the bridge in the Premier League and we're still in the title race.
Now for the small matter of Liverpool - Come on you Blues !!