Scorers: Ballack(45', 86'pen), Rooney(57')
Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, A.Cole
Ballack, Mikel, Essien
J.Cole, Drogba, Kalou
subs: Hilario, Shevchenko, Anelka, Makalele, Belletti
Never been more proud to call myself a True Blue fan. Sir Alex was humbled on Saturday evening. A win over United to stretch the home record to 81 games unbeaten, catch United at the top of the table and with United not winning for the fourth match in a row now, things haven't looked as good as this, this season.
Kalou replaced Malouda and Mikel replaced Makalele from the previous match's starting lineup. Essien, who was suspended for the Anfield game, came to fill the void left by the enforced absence on Frank Lampard. Alex Ferguson left Ronaldo and Tevez on the bench and brought in Giggs and Nani on the wings. Vidic was over his illness and there were changes in midfield with Hargreaves left out; Anderson and Fletcher selected to accompany Carrick. The first half entirely belonged to Chelsea. All players looked energetic and willing to win this one at any cost.
Essien was unlucky not to score early. He brought in raw power to our midfield. United lost Vidic early. Putting his head low, his face collided with Drogba's knee. Seemingly dazed and with a blooded mouth, he was carried off in the 12th minute and eventually replaced by Hargreaves. Brown moved to center and Hargreaves played right back, I think the second time this season he's doing so. On 20 minutes, Chelsea hit the woodwork. Joe Cole's instinctive shot hit the left post of Van Der Sar.
Chelsea played with flamboyance and power and United failed to keep pace with it. They enjoyed only little bit of possession towards the end of the half, but failed to trouble Petr Cech. Chelsea finally scored the goal they deserved just as the goal moved to extra time. Drogba twisted and turned before lofting a ball to Ballack who had made a run towards the far post. The German skipper calmly scored with a fine header. Celebrations centered on a special Chelsea home shirt printed in tribute to the late Pat Lampard.
In one moment of lack of concentration, Carvalho passed the ball back to Rooney who was clear on goal and scored with ease. United scored at the Bridge after a 6 year gap. A costly mistake it seemed then from Ricky, who is arguably our best player this season. For the rest of the match one could see him trying to make up for the mistake by moving forward on every opportunity. But Rooney looked troubled my some injury and was replaced by Ronaldo in the 63rd minute. Anelka replaced Ferreira as Essien moved to right back. O'shea came in for Anderson after that.
Drogba and Ronaldo got free kicks for their respective sides but failed to score. Shevchenko came in for Kalou with 10 minutes to go. Challenging Drogba for a high-ball, Brown handled inside the box but the referee didn't spot it. He didn't spot the Carrick handball from Essien's cross some minutes later but thank God the linesman had seen that. Ballack converted the penalty easily, the second goal for him and Chelsea. Before the end Chelsea cleared twice off our own line, the first time Ashley Cole from Ronaldo, the second occasion Shevchenko from Fletcher.
United now plays West Ham at home and Wigan away while Chelsea plays Bolton at home and Newcastle away. It will be a tight affair. But for now, all focus is back on Champions League.