Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-1

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By Hassan Afolabi

 

Manchester United cruise to a 4-1 win over the underperforming Blues to seal passage into a 31st Champions League in emphatic fashion under the lights in Old Trafford, making the possibility of Liverpool reaching the next season’s Champions League impossible.

The host took an early lead as Casemiro, who scored that late equalizer in the reverse fixture in Stamford Bridge headed home a Christian Eriksen free-kick with less than six minutes played.

The goal is the fastest to have been scored in this Premier League fixture since a David Luiz’s fourth minute own goal in October 2012.

It was to be the start of a long night for the visitors though they only have themselves to blame as multiple chances were squandered by the likes of Mykaylo Mudryk, Kai Havertz and even Conor Gallagher.

Despite dominating much of the half, Chelsea were made to rue those missed opportunities as Anthony Martial strike to double Manchester United’s lead just before the break.

From there, it was already beyond them and Bruno Fernandes added a third from the spot after a needless challenge by Wesley on the Portuguese with 17 minutes of normal time to play.

Marcus Rashford was presented a gift to add a fourth for his 30th Manchester United goal of the season, becoming the first player to do so for the club since Robin van Persie in exactly ten years ago, as the host hit four in a Premier League game for the first time under Erik Ten Hag.

Substitute Joao Felix made a great run before firing a low shot from the edge of the area, which managed to beat David de Gea to deny the Spaniard a clean sheet while Alejandro Garnacho was denied by Kepa late on after he had hit the crossbar earlier.

The result sends United to third, ahead of Newcastle United before the final game of the season while the Red Devils also secure Champions League qualification for the 31st time, a record for English teams.

The highlight of the night was however Chelsea fans, who started to chant “You are not special, we lose every week” in the away end to take steam off United’s jubilation.

A sixteenth league loss of the season foe Chelsea is obviously no longer surprising for the traveling fans and the away end care less how their rival choose to celebrate what was at the time turning into a riot.

But as much as this does not alter the result on the night, there are reasons to worry for United, despite the big win as they were as underwhelming as can be before the break, and were let off by Frank Lampard minions’ poor finishings.

Albeit a much better United emerged after the break, Erik Ten Hag has big work to do to improve his side, as fans will demand they level up next season.

Moments like those they allowed Chelsea will not be passed by many other teams in the league and that could spell trouble for their ambitions in the future.

 

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