Date: 25th February 2018 at 4:12pm
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In domestic terms this was the big one. Never mind City, they`re out of sight. A victory for Chelsea would see them draw level with Manchester United on points. All was to play for.

The two managers had picked what they deemed to be their best sides, and despite their recent animosity shook hands ahead of kick-off.

It was Chelsea who started the game the better of the two. In typical Jose style, United sat back, waiting to see what Chelsea had to offer. It was so nearly quite a lot.

Chelsea should have taken the lead with four minutes gone. A volleyed Marcos Alonso cross was met close in by Alvaro Morata, who also took the ball on the full. With de Gea beaten all ends up, the ball cannoned back off the crossbar.

Eden Hazard`s follow up shot deflected off a defender and was tipped over by the busy United keeper. As the half progressed the possession stats evened out as United came more into the game. N`golo Kante received a yellow card for a somewhat cynical foul on Pogba as he looked to leave Kante`s patrolled area of the pitch.

With United asserting their home advantage to good effect, it was a Chelsea breakaway that delivered the game`s first goal. Willian started the lightning move in his own penalty area. A quick ball back from Moses set the in-form Brazilian on his way, having passed to Hazard, Willian carried on running, Hazards return pass found Willian in acres of space. His run into the United box finished by firing through David de Gea at his near post. It was poor from the Spanish keeper, who was left banging the ground in frustration.

The lead didn`t last long though and United were soon level through Romelu Lukaku. Some scrappy build up play on the edge of Chelsea`s penalty area saw the Belgian clash heads with Andreas Christensen. Having effectively immobilised the Dane, United`s front three played triangles around Chelsea`s remaining defenders, with Lukaku recovering to fire past Courtois from close range.

You can say the first half consisted of two teams matching their current form. At times it was scrappy, at times brilliant. Going into the halftime break though, it was Antonio Conte who would be the happier of the two managers.

Half-time Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea

There were no changes for either side during the break. The first real opportunity was once again created by Willian as he broke out of defence. His through ball found Morata, who, not for the first time, messed the move up.

Morata seems to be a player who does more when he doesn`t have the time to think too much. He`s an instinctive player. As the game progressed through the half, Chelsea were still looking dangerous on the break. They weren`t sitting back conceding possession as they did against Barcelona, just breaking quickly when possible.

That outlet was generally Willian. As the Brazilian tired during the half, they looked less likely to force a goal. A Danny Drinkwater effort, from distance nearly caught de Gea out when the ball bounced just in front of the Spaniard, but he managed to scramble the ball clear.

Midway through the second half, the game stagnated to walking pace for a period. United were there for the taking but Chelsea, but you couldn`t help but feel the moment was passing.

With 73 minutes gone and the clock winding down Pedro replaced Eden Hazard, two minutes later and United led, when Lukaku crossed for Lingard to head home, having lost his marker.

Conte`s reaction was to take Moses off, bringing on Olivier Giroud. It was a bit like shutting the gate after the horse had bolted. Chelsea were left chasing a game they should already have won.

With a goal to the good, Mourinho looked to shut up shop replacing Sanchez with Bailly. Conte replaced Drinkwater with Fabregas. Edging into the final minutes of a frustrating afternoon for Chelsea fans was made worse as Mourinho inevitably turned the screw.

The bus he used to such great effect with Chelsea, had now been sprayed red and was positioning it in fronts de Gea`s goal. Part of that process included breaking the play up with niggly fouls. That caused tempers to fray, thus wasting yet more time.

Morata had a goal disallowed, that was shown to be just onside, but it was small margins. Harsher was referee Martin Atkinson’s decision, shortly after to yellow card Morata for well executed tackle from behind in which he actually got the ball.

But, as the game petered out to a deserved United win. Chelsea had been truly Mourinho`d. United were poor in the first half and Chelsea didn`t take advantage of that. They left Old Trafford with their just desserts. In the end it was Mourinho and United that deserved the win, but Conte and Chelsea should have had the game won in that first half.

Overall poor from Conte and Chelsea.

Full time Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea

 

49 Replies to “Conte Gets Himself Mourinho`d”

  • Watford, Bournemouth, West Ham, Palace, can`t beat Arsenal, can`t win big games, poor substitutions, Morata and Moses were woeful yet he couldn`t see that they needed taking off. United couldn`t cope with Hazard, so Conte takes him off and tries to close the game down for a draw. Conte is walking a tight rope of his own making and can have no complaints if the axe falls upon him. As sad as that is, he will only have himself to blame, more successful managers have been dismissed by Roman for less.

  • Conte takes large part of the blame for today’s loss and rightly so but we should not pretend like all that is wrong with chelsea is Conte/ the coach. We have way deeper issues than ONLY on the touchline. I am hoping we somehow manage to finish top 4, because if we dont Conte will definitely be sacked and even me I cant have any complains about that. Regardless of what happens though, the chelsea board has to carefully consider its own ways and making the necessary changes in the summer, that is if we still have the desire to be a top team though.

  • The way some our fans react when we lose a game is very disturbing. Very disturbing indeed. So we lost to Man U today. I think we played very well. A few mistakes from our left back side as usual, but I am satisfied with our display. And so did Conte. He did very well in my opinion. As for Morata, he is very talented but too feeble to be a CF in the PL. He was robbed of a good goal by the lines man. The bottom line is the things did not go our way today and it hurts. But that doesn?t mean we should be calling for Conte?s head. Maybe some of us have not realized that Chelsea have earned an established trademark of ?shooting first before asking questions?. We have gone through ten managers in ten years and sent away many players we should have retained. How do you build a stable team like that. There are many teams waiting for you to make your usual mistake of firing Conte, even in the PL. and they will snatch him up. Meanwhile we have gone through most of the good managers to the extent that we irked one twice and still fired him. PLEASE LEAVE CONTE ALONE.

  • No body shouting for Conte`s head, just pointing out that the results that he has been instrumental in this season, leaves him in a very precarious position with our board. City next.

  • @Theo…, I agree with you that this isn’t a performance that warrants calling for Conte’s head, we certainly haven’t gotten to that stage yet. However, I completely disagree with you that “we played very well.” I would say we played ok or well for most part of 1st half, but our 2nd half performance was very poor; really poor. I would grade our overall performance today as D- (62%)…

  • I also think it’s possible to analyze/critique Conte and not necessarily call for his head. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  • People are seemingly ignoring Christensen is responsible for 2 out of the 3 last goals conceded if not all 3, but that?s the measures we take with youth integration.

  • Courtois also on United’s second goal, did not even move . Its also the lack of firepower up front, Hazard it seems can only play once a week,Morata is probably not premiere league material, Moses back to his usual self, Pedro seems a shadow of the player he was last year .Willian has been a ray of light. Anyway we have a week off than its “top 4 do or die”. we lose to City our only hope is Spurs or Liverpool having a meltdown .

  • I would also urge caution in firing Conte, he needs time to correct the mistakes, there is not much out there right now, Tuchel seems Bayern bound, Sarri is happy at Napoli and Lucho is closer to PSG than us, id keep Conte over all of them, he is a winner, he will come back stronger next season.

  • @Michael, I really hope that Conte himself sees it that way. For me he looks more of a man who knows what he wants from Chelsea not one who knows what he wants for Chelsea. How do you explain a manager who openly declares that he has no business to keep his best player happy, it is no surprise to me that Hazard has been substituted more than any other player. I don’t know what transpires during training maybe they have crossed paths and that he only fears criticism if he attempts to ignore the player the way he is doing to Luiz. Remember at the beginning of the season he dragged his feet to feature Hazard even when the player had recovered and it took Martinez to give Hazard first game time at national level. I really don’t understand maybe am what is not there but I see frustrations in the player. I really hope he wants to build something at Chelsea but at the moment I am not seeing any such indicators.

  • @Latunvic. I agree with you that people should be criticized for improvement and Conte is no exception. I just get worried about the way writers and pundits have been going around speculating all kinds of possible replacements for a man who is trying to make the best of his situation. Their plan is to take the PL leadership back to the Midland and the table is showing it now. They will fail as LONDON clubs will bounce back.

  • Might be unpopular but I don’t see the rational for keeping Conte short term or long term. His resume is open for everyone to see. He is a Coach that knows how to prepare the bus for a trip, but once the Bus has flat tires, he has no clue how to fix the tires or the right tools to use. His tactical set up today started off well and once Mourinho figured it out, Conte had no clue what tactical adjustments or changes to make via subs to impact the game. He started last season with 4 at the back (which isn’t his preferred formation), but once that wasn’t providing consistent results, he moved to his more familiar Italian set up. Obviously he achieved success with this but a lot of it was far more dependent on scheduling (no UCL, no Europa) and Costa (most feared no. 9 striker after Suarez in Europe who has won 3 league titles) and Eden Hazard (best player in the Prem) form. Throughout this season, teams have sussed us out and he still can’t adjust because he has no clue of any other set up besides 3 at the back. Unlike his famous tailor statement, he forces the system on the players. Secondly, he has no clue how to manage competitions. Check his Italian record. No Copa Italia. No UCL. No other cups. His UCL record against Juve is poor with embarrassing knockouts by Benfica. Roma topped us with another disgraceful result away at their stadium. He has lost to Wenger in the community shield, FA Cup and League Cup. The same Arsenal side which just got trounced 3-0 by 70th minute by a Man City team that never got into gear 5. He requires Chelsea to buy him 50mn pounds players which he can’t sign. We face Barca and City away, Spurs still and Liverpool. Which of you are confident this Conte will get any results against these sides? Strictly on the game today – how can anyone say we played well with that woeful 2nd half. The moment Mourinho put more bodies on Hazard and Willian, you could see they got frustrated and started giving the ball away more. Instead of Conte to make adjustments, he just stood there and was disgracefully late again with subs. In game management was nothing to speak at home about. From the first half – all our outfield players were dreadful – Morata, Alonso and Moses. He just left them on. No change. No adjustments. Nothing. That was poor coaching in the 2nd half and kudos to the Special ONCE for taking advantage.

  • Lol no one said we should call for Christensen head, but the fact he remains he is mainly at fault for at least the last 2/3 goals conceded and possibly even all 3. That is just a fact, I will leave the ?calling for his head? part up to you rooy.

  • If conte is to criticize, Morata is to criticize, or any player at all we can?t leave out the fact that his mistakes has possibly cost us taking all 6 points from Barca and Man U. He is still a better option than Luiz or Cahill tho and hopefully learns from mistakes and grows up to be a better CB.

  • Has anybody else noticed that under Conte we seem to have an incredible number of players injured in training – Luiz, Bakayoko, Barkley all injured but not in an actual match. It makes you wonder – Are they actually injured or has Conte fallen out with them? There is definitely something odd going on. Even the players he is picking. Hazard may be frustrating at times with his inability to shoot at times by who in their right mind takes him off at 1-1 with 20 minutes to go? Morata is a nightmare to watch. Giroud would be nowhere near as frustrating yet Conte stick with Morata. It is almost like he wants to be sacked.

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