Jesse Lingard back in the United team at the expense of Ashley Young. Talk about bitter sweet. On the one hand, Young being dropped is good news but, on the other, Lingard playing is not good news.
Having finally managed to make the Manchester United management see the error of their ways when continually selecting Wayne Rooney, it is now time for them to see who is Manchester United quality and who isn’t. Neither Young nor Lingard would get into a fully fit Manchester United team and it would not be too disappointing if they were both sold in January.
Blind has already proven that he is a more than capable partner for Eric Bailly in central defence and should be playing there with Shaw restored to the left. Smalling is another one who would be welcome to depart in the next transfer window.
Also, what is wrong with Mkhitaryan? He doesn’t get into the matchday squad, never mind the team and, to perpetually say he is injured without giving any explanation or return date, is a little annoying to the supporters. He is certainly better than Young and Lingard combined!
So to the game. Chelsea, having left Willian on the bench again, (so much for being player of the season at Stamford Bridge, just ask Juan Mata!) started with Victor Moses at wing back and took the lead within a minute.
Pedro chased a ball which De Gea left to Smalling and Smalling left to De Gea. Both of them left it for Pedro to tap into an empty net. Further proof, if any were needed, that Smalling is not of the required standard for Manchester United.
United then huffed and puffed without creating anything other than making Chelsea look comfortable on the ball. When chasing a game players such as Fellaini and Lingard are not going to be of much use.
After 21 minutes it was 2-0 for Chelsea when United failed miserably to defend a corner and the ball fell kindly to Cahill who, unmarked and five yards out, couldn’t miss.
Mourinho is currently using players out of position in the same way as van Gaal before him. It didn’t work then and it isn’t working now. Antonio Valencia is NOT a wing back because he can’t defend.
Daley Blind is NOT a full back he is a defensive midfielder. So both full backs were players being played out of position. Consequently, Chelsea could get crosses into the box at will.
The only other incident of any note was when David Luiz kicked Marouane Fellaini with all six studs showing. Everybody in and out of the ground knew it was an immediate red card offence, except the referee, who completely bottled it and handed out a yellow.
United continued to look anything but dangerous until the half-time whistle. Hopefully, Mourinho would say something that would make for a different second half. Change the shape, change the personnel just change something because nothing was working in the first half.
The second half saw the introduction of Juan Mata and, after seven minutes, Marcos Rojo. Mata replaced the totally ineffectual Fellaini and Rojo came on for the injured Bailly. Blind moved to his slightly more favoured position of central defence and Rojo took over at left back.
Initially it made little difference as Chelsea easily absorbed a couple of tepid attacks from United before extending their lead to 3-0 through Hazard who nobody wanted to tackle so he tried shot which found the bottom corner.
Anthony Martial was introduced in the 65th minute, no doubt with the instructions to score three goals and be a hero. He didn’t and, therefore, he wasn’t. He did, however, do one good thing which was to replace Lingard who had been awful.
There was still plenty of time left for N’Golo Kanté to waltz through the United defence, who looked frozen to the spot, and slot the ball in the corner to make it 4-0.
After 77 minutes Willian came on for Hazard and Batshuayi for Costa as Chelsea decided to relax a little. After all, if they wanted another goal, United were just as likely to gift it to them as make them work for it.
The scary part of this defeat, apart from the abject performance, was the shots of Mourinho on the touchline looking a little like he did during his last game in charge of Chelsea. Let’s hope he can convince the players that he is not that same person. It would be a shame to think that the defeat by Leicester signalled the end of the successful part of José Mourinho’s managerial career.
The fact is though, that if he can’t resurrect it at United, then he is finished at the big clubs.