By Gary Watton
April 16 2017
After two failed attempts to even score, let alone win, Jose Mourinho's Manchester United belatedly got their act together against the Premier League leaders. This time, the consensus of opinion is that the special needs one outwitted his Italian opposite number by playing two pacey attackers in Lingard and Rashford up front. Maybe it is time for Conte to now think outside of the box too, as his team are staggering at a time when rivals Tottenham Hotspur are flying. It's hard not to be envious of Tottenham at present: they trust their young talent, they play English players, and they are free-scoring - everything that Chelsea are not. More alarmingly, they have reduced the gap at the top of the charts from ten points to four points in the space of a mere fifteen days.
Conte by contrast turns to Loftus-Cheek in the dying seconds of a match. His faith in Costa is now also going unrewarded, as the team have been carrying the Spanish marksman in recent weeks. Ahead of the pivotal cup semi final at Wembley, the manager needs to find a formation that stops Rose and Walker marauding down the flanks again, as they did back at the start of January, giving the likes of Moses a torrid time. Maybe Costa should be ditched in favour of Willian and brought on as an impact substitute. His scoring record against Tottenham after all is negligible. Similarly, we need to pack our midfield, as last time out they swarmed all over us. Perhaps we should forego a big target man and jettison wide attacking players in favour of playing through the middle and playing balls over the top for Hazard and Pedro to run onto if/when Tottenham push out and play a pressing game.
Whatever happens, I am expecting the Blues to play like the away team, perhaps only enjoying about forty per cent possession. It would be good to see us boss the occasion and put the norf London wannabes in their place, but I fear it will be another tiresome case of trying to scratch out a win - if we're lucky.
Manchester United 2 CHELSEA 0; half time: 1-0
CHELSEA team: Begovic; Azpilicueta; Luiz; Kante; Moses; Cahill; Zouma; Matic; Costa; Pedro; Hazard. Used substitutes: Fabregas, Willian, Loftus-Cheek
CHELSEA leading scorers:
Costa eighteen goals
Hazard fourteen goals (including two penalties)
Pedro eleven goals
Willian seven goals
Fabregas six goals
Alonso five goals
Batshuayi five goals (including one penalty)
Cahill five goals
Moses four goalspqs: qs:
If you do not already have an account Click here to Register.