Chelsea's quest for UEFA Champions League qualification took a hit at Stamford Bridge on Monday as they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the Premier League.
Anthony Martial gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of half-time with a nice header, whereas Kurt Zouma wasn't quite so lucky as he saw his equaliser ruled out by VAR. Harry Maguire proceeded to make it a two-goal lead in the 66th minute, with substitute Olivier Giroud's late goal also being chalked off for offside.
There were points in which the quick one-touch passing style of the Blues got them into some nice positions and, in the first half especially, they were spreading the ball well from pillar to post. They created plenty of solid opportunities and had United backtracking on several occasions, and logistically speaking, they did manage to put the ball in the back of the net twice.
Chelsea allowed Manchester United to slowly but surely work their way back into proceedings by allowing them to take control of the possession game. When Chelsea went forward, for all of their short bursts of pace, they just didn't have the final touch or piece of quality necessary to put the game beyond United. The hosts also need to work on maintaining their structure, especially through the middle of the park.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Frank Lampard had this starting XI playing with composure for the first 10 minutes or so in a structured 4-3-3, and then it all seemed to fall apart. He was relying far too heavily on the counterattack and clearly needs to work on getting these players into a spell of consistency with their positional play. His substitutions certainly signalled an attacking intent, but they just never followed through on that for the boss.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Willy Caballero, 5 -- While the backup's distribution was solid enough, he seemed to stumble in the big moments, such as the first United goal where he probably could've been more central.
DF Reece James, 5 -- For all of his searching balls down the wing and stern battles with Brandon Williams, James still feels like a defensive liability with his tendency to drift out of position and leave holes at the back.
DF Andreas Christensen, 5 -- The Dane's no-nonsense approach to getting the ball out of danger held up until Martial's header, which he failed to get up for -- although his nose injury, suffered moments beforehand, could be partially to blame.
DF Antonio Rudiger, 6 -- As time goes on, Rudiger seems to be reading the game better than he has in the past, with his towering presence in the air always coming in handy -- right up until he makes a vital error, as was the case for Maguire's header.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 6 -- It's all well and good being able to get in around the back but when the final ball isn't there, it doesn't mean a whole lot. With that being said, he was slightly unlucky to be blamed for Chelsea's first disallowed goal.
MF N'Golo Kante, N/R -- It was a short night at the office for Kante who went off injured within the first 10 minutes.
MF Jorginho, 5 -- From not tracking his man to rarely winning the ball in midfield, this highlighted why Jorginho isn't a natural central midfielder.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 7 -- This could've been a whole lot worse without Kovacic leading Chelsea in the middle and driving them forward time and time again.
FW Pedro, 6 -- The erratic nature of Pedro's insanely quick style causes some issues, but largely, it was a spirited display that showcased his desire to succeed in this team.
FW Michy Batshuayi, 5 -- Being a capable defensive forward is admirable but Batshuayi missed a handful of vital chances and just doesn't seem to have the sort of flair necessary to thrive in this Chelsea team.
FW Willian, 5 -- The Brazilian always seems to cope better when he's distributing the ball quickly as opposed to being exposed in high-pressure situations, which wound up being his primary issue on the night.
DF Kurt Zouma, 6 -- The defender's disallowed goal probably should've stood, and many will argue he should've started the game from the first whistle.
MF Mason Mount, 7 -- In one of his best performances of the campaign so far, Mount carried the ball well, added creativity when coming on and even struck the post.
FW Olivier Giroud, 6 -- The Frenchman got himself into decent positions and was narrowly offside for his disallowed header.