Van Persie rescues Man Utd

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:24

Van Persie rescues Man Utd

Didier Drogba rolled back the years to hand the Blues the lead with a trademark near-post header – his first Premier League goal since March 2012.
Jose Mourinho looked set for victory in the battle against Louis van Gaal, but deep into injury time Branislav Ivanovic was sent off for fouling Angel di Maria and Van Persie swept home from the resulting free-kick for a share of the spoils.
Mourinho, who was clearly unhappy at referee Phil Dowd for giving Ivanovic a second yellow card for the foul, left Old Trafford with his unbeaten record in tact and his team 10 points ahead of United at the top of the Premier League.
But that will be of little consolation to the Chelsea boss who will feel his team should have won this match.
Many had questioned whether, at 36 years old, Drogba could fill the huge gap left by the absent Diego Costa, but he had no trouble heading home Cesc Fabregas’ corner in the 53rd minute.
It was vintage Drogba, peeling off his marker to glance Fabregas’ corner past keeper David de Gea.
But the striker’s job was made so much easier by the fact that 5ft 7in defender Rafael was the man marking him.
United did not look like getting back into the match with Van Persie and Juan Mata wasting good chances to level for the hosts.
Chelsea looked perfectly organised at the back, but it was left for Van Persie to snatch a point for his boss deep into added time.
The match started with Chelsea, well aware of United’s defensive frailties, winning two corners in the opening five minutes.
Oscar gained space in the box after an error by Marcos Rojo, but his deflected shot flew wide as United scrambled back to prevent an early goal.
Eden Hazard slipped by the ponderous Rafael and the Brazilian was shown a yellow card for tugging the Belgian’s shirt.
The hosts hit back and broke through Di Maria, who worked the ball to the back post where Marouane Fellaini lurked but the midfielder, making his first start of the season, could not finish. Mata then found Di Maria free in the box, but he volleyed over.
The pace of the match then decreased somewhat. Chelsea were happy to allow United plenty of time on the ball and wait for opportunities to break.
That idea backfired though as United created chance after chance.
Januzaj, playing ahead of the injured Radamel Falcao, sliced open the Chelsea back four with a peach of a pass, but Thibaut Courtois rushed off his line to deny Van Persie, who wasted another chance moments later by heading straight at the Chelsea goalkeeper.
Chelsea, a far more physically imposing side than United, used their muscle to break up the hosts’ attacks. Nemanja Matic body-checked Di Maria and Drogba went into the book for tripping Juan Mata.
Chelsea only found a sight of goal when United made mistakes. Rojo and Blind lost possession near the half way line, but neither Willian nor Drogba could capitalise.
Rojo lost possession again, but luckily for the Argentinian De Gea was on hand to deny Drogba with his feet.
Mourinho, meanwhile, remonstrated with fourth official Chris Foy after Chelsea were not given a penalty as Ivanovic tumbled to the ground after grappling with Chris Smalling in the box.
Januzaj went close with a fierce drive but Mata’s shot was not so hot. He fired well over the bar from 15 yards just before half-time.
All that good work was undone within eight minutes of the restart. De Gea saved brilliantly from Hazard but the Spaniard was picking the ball out of the net moments later when Drogba glanced the ball in from Fabregas’ corner.
Chelsea were piling on the pressure and Ivanovic brushed off the challenge of Fellaini and Rojo before firing inches wide from a tight angle.
There looked to be no way back for United, but Dowd showed Ivanovic a second yellow for a foul on Di Maria in the corner in the final minute of added time.
The Argentinian found Fellaini with his cross but Courtois saved. The ball dropped at the feet of Van Persie, who drove home from close range to send Old Trafford into ecstasy.

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