by ‘Ifreke Inyang
The drama and controversy from the Merseyside derby spilled over, to the top-of-the-table clash between Chelsea and United at Stamford Bridge. Here are five things that still remain the major talking points, even after the game has long ended:
Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to start with two wingers
The Manchester United coach, started Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, on opposite flanks at Stamford Bridge. It was a rather interesting, but in the end an intelligent decision. Chelsea started the game with no out and out winger. Rather they handed Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar, the license to weave patterns around Torres. This gave United’s wingers the freedom to stretch play and attack down the flanks, which resulted in all their three goals.
Juan Mata’s goal
After Robin van Persie tucked away Valencia’s cut-back, Chelsea were stunned. They looked out of all sorts and could barely string their passed together. And of all a sudden, the they did not look like the team that had been grinding out wins, even when they were not at their fluent best. But a couple of minutes before the half time whistle, Mata stepped up to take a free kick and struck it so exquisitely, leaving David De Gea with no chance. The goal gave the Blues belief, as they came out stronger in the second half.
Clattenburg’s decision to send off Fernando Torres
The man at the centre, Mark Clattenburg, was spot on when he sent off Branislav Ivanovic, for pulling Ashley Cole down, as the England international seemed set to score. But the decision to show Torres a second yellow card, after a similar incident that involved United’s Johnny Evans, was rather harsh. And with 9 men on the pitch for Roberto Di Matteo’s men, there was really no way back.
The offside goal that decided the game
With Ivanovic and Torres off, Ferguson smelled blood and he promptly went in for the kill. Chicharito, who he sent on to replace Tom Cleverley, pounced on a loose ball in the box to score the third goal, which eventually proved to be the winner. The officials, however failed to spot him returning from an offside position.
“Surely, when he’s going to watch the images he’s going to realise that he made big mistakes,” Di Matteo fumed afterwards. “We are massively disappointed that these key decisions were wrong. It always seems to be in favour of the opposition. That’s a massive disadvantage for us.”
Mikel Obi’s alleged racial abuse
As if his officiating was not controversial enough, Clattenburg is now being accused of using “inappropriate language” by Chelsea, who have gone ahead to file an official complaint against him. The referee is reported to used racial slurs on Nigeria’s John Mikel Obi and Juan Mata. Although he has not spoken about the matter yet, but a statement from the Professional Game Match Officials said it “is aware of the allegations and they are being treated with the utmost seriousness. Mark will co-operate fully and welcomes the opportunity for the facts to be established. No further comment will be made until matter has been properly investigated.”