Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea: Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard fire hosts back to second
By Jack Wilkinson at Old Trafford
Last Updated: 25/02/18 10:20pm
Romelu Lukaku scored one and set up another as Manchester United came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford on Nissan Super Sunday.
The Belgium international scored his first goal against a top-eight club this season with United's equaliser (39), after Willian fired the dominant champions ahead (32).
Lukaku then crossed for substitute Jesse Lingard to head the winner 15 minutes from time.
The victory sees United reclaim second place in the Premier League from Liverpool and open a potentially crucial six-point gap over fifth-placed Chelsea in the race for the top four.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Valencia (6), Lindelof (6), Smalling (6), Young (6), Pogba (7), Matic (8), McTominay (6), Martial (6), Alexis (6), Lukaku (8).
Subs: Bailly (5), Lingard (7).
Chelsea: Courtois (7), Rudiger (5), Azpilicueta (6), Christensen (5), Moses (6), Alonso (6), Drinkwater (6), Kante (6), Willian (8), Hazard (6), Morata (7).
Subs: Fabregas (5), Pedro (5), Giroud (5).
Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku
Chelsea's positive midweek performance against Barcelona may have been marred by Lionel Messi's away goal but the champions showed no sign of self-pity as they flew out of the traps, the restored Alvaro Morata turning Marcos Alonso's cross onto the bar inside five minutes.
Such was the dominance of the visitors' bright, exuberant start that it took United until the 27th minute to register an effort on goal.
First Lukaku had a shot blocked before, a minute later, Alexis Sanchez's toe poke at the end of flowing counter was comfortably saved by Thibaut Courtois.
But just as it seemed the hosts had found a foothold in the game, Chelsea struck as Willian played a one-two with Eden Hazard and bludgeoned a shot through David de Gea's defences.
It was no more than Chelsea deserved, as was the lead at the break, but United's only moment of quality denied them that as Sanchez and Martial combined at the end of an intricate move to free Lukaku, who slotted the equaliser home from six yards.
Chelsea continued in the second period from where they had left off, though, as Willian released Morata through on goal on 49 minutes, but Chris Smalling, having initially lunged in, recovered to block the Spaniard's shot.
Danny Drinkwater's dipping 20-yard strike drew a fumble from De Gea shortly after, before his counterpart Courtois pulled off a stunning fingertip save to deny Lukaku an acrobatic second on 67 minutes.
Paul Pogba started in a midfield three along with Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay, while Victor Lindelof partnered Chris Smalling in the United defence. Alvaro Morata got the nod up front forr Chelsea with Eden Hazard and Willian. Danny Drinkwater replaced Cesc Fabregas in midfield.
But having been denied, Lukaku turned provider, curling a fine cross from the right onto the head of Lingard, who steered his 13th goal of the season beyond Courtois to ensure Jose Mourinho got the better of old foe Antonio Conte.
- Manchester United have won two of their last three matches against Chelsea (L1) - one more than they managed in their previous 14 combined against the Blues (one).
- Chelsea have lost back-to-back away Premier League matches for the first time since November 2015, when they were managed by Jose Mourinho.
- United have lost just one of their last 35 home league matches against the reigning top-flight champions (W20 D14).
- Chelsea lost a Premier League match in which they scored first for the first time since last April against Crystal Palace - they had won 22 games consecutively when scoring first before today.
- Romelu Lukaku found the net against one of the sides currently occupying the top eight of the Premier League for the first time this season - he had played 10 games without scoring before this match.
- Jesse Lingard has scored 13 goals in all competitions for Manchester United this season - only Lukaku (22) has scored more.
Jose Mourinho: "We beat a very good team, and to beat a very good team you need to be organised, but you need to also to have a humble spirit where everybody works, everybody fights, everybody tries to follow a game-plan. I repeat - we beat a very good team."
Antonio Conte: "I think we should have got something from the game. The draw was the right result but we are talking about a defeat, that's all. In these types of games you have to be clinical to finish the game. If you keep the game open when the opponent is up you can pay the price."
Man of the Match - Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku's shortcomings in the big fixtures have often overshadowed what has undoubtedly been a positive start to life at Old Trafford, but, today, the big Belgian silenced his critics.
With the kind of flat-track bully display he usually reserves for the so-called lesser clubs, once he got going, Lukaku was at the spearhead of the late-surging United attack, and his influence was telling.
Chelsea travel to Manchester City next week on City on Nissan Super Sunday, while United visit Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football, both live on Sky Sports Premier League.