Controversial goal by Drogba led Chelsea to a 2 – 1 away win against Manchester United.
In a match hyped up as a must-win game for both teams, Chelsea staked a bigger claim towards the title of English champions in the first half of the game.
Aided by Manchester United’s midweek exertions in Munich, Chelsea appears the fresher team of the 2 and took full advantage of Manchester United’s sluggish start.
A mazy run by winger Malouda left United’s skipper, Neville, stranded. With all the time in the world, the Frenchman picked out English midfielder, Joe Cole, whose clever flick left United’s keeper Van Der Sar with no chance at all.
The appointment of Mike Dean as the match official had supporters from both sides on the edge of their seats. Having the record of awarding the most penalties so far this season, he was inevitably the centre of controversy for the game.
A trailing leg by Zhirkov left United’s midfielder, Park Ji-Sung, tumbling in the penalty box. Claims for a penalty by both the home crowd and United’s players were blatantly ignored.
Chelsea fans were left fuming next, when Dean denied their team a penalty when Neville unfairly barged into Anelka in the penalty box.
Yet another questionable decision from Dean left Berbatov complaining as the Bulgarian international seemed to have been fouled by Frank Lampard in the box but the referee passed it off as a good tackle by the Englishman.
With both sides getting more physical as the game progressed, it was hardly surprising to see players from both teams getting booked for some rough tackles.
Half-time couldn’t have come sooner for Sir Alex Ferguson, as his team looked like a pale shadow of their usual selves. The veteran Scotsman stormed off to the tunnel as soon as the referee signaled for the end of the first half.
Chelsea was ahead and looked good for their lead as both teams headed off to the dressing room.
The start of the second half couldn’t have been more different from the first. The United players had a spring to their steps as they came out of the block, hoping to overturn the score line.
Once the whistle blew for the second half, the United attackers ran at Chelsea’s defenders with a vengeance that had the men in blue camping in their own half of the field.
Against the run of play, Chelsea’s substitute, Drogba, then scored a controversial goal as he appeared to be offside as he smashed the ball past Van Der Sar.
Federico Macheda then gave United hope with his attempt to score in the 81st min. However, the young Italian striker’s effort proved to be too late as Chelsea ran the clock down to put themselves in the driving seat to lead United by 2points.
The title looks to be heading towards Chelsea with 5 games remaining, but with the season we’ve had so far, it will take a brave man to declare that there won’t be any more upsets along the way.