Terrific Chelsea hit six past Louis van Gaal's Manchester United
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea hit six past Manchester United to open the new Barclays Premier League season, with Diego Costa scoring a brace.
The match kickstarted the new season and with both team's strengthening over the Summer, it made for a feisty and intense affair between two clubs challenging for the title this season. Mourinho gave new signings Diego Costa, Felipe Luis
and Cesc Fabregas
their debut for the club whereas Louis van Gaal handed seven Premier League debuts to Danilo, Dede, Inigo Martinez, Alex Sandro, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria
, showing just how different the team has become since last season.
The game kicked off infront over a packed Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea having the most possession within the first 15 minutes of the game, with the biggest chance going to Willian, whose shot was expertly saved by the fingertips of Manchester United's Player of the Season last year, David de Gea, who sprung to his left to divert Willian's low drive away from the bottom corner and out for a corner kick, which the United defence easily dealt with.
However a few minutes later, Hazard went on his trademark run, easing past Herrera to find Costa, who played it forward towards Fabregas, who dinked the ball over to the opposite wing where Willian was in some space. The Brazilian then curled the ball towards the far post where Hazard ran towards and using the outside of his boot, directed the ball under the dive of David de Gea to make it 1-0 Chelsea within 21 minutes of the game. It was poor defending from Dede to allow Hazard that much space at the far post.
United did their best to level the game before half time, with Herrera finding himself some space to work the ball towards Rooney, who took a couple of touches before firing the ball towards the top right hand corner, which forced Courtois into a terrific diving save which even the United fans applauded. That save allowed Chelsea to go into the break leading by one goal to nil, with Hazard causing the most damage to the new Manchester United defence with his acute finish into the bottom corner. Not the best of starts for Louis van Gaal.
United kicked off the second half and looked more attacking, with Di Maria now going onto the wings and Herrera pushing more forward. United won a free-kick outside the box and up stepped new captain Wayne Rooney, who measured his angles to perfection as he hit the ball up and over the wall, curling into the top right hand corner, leaving Courtois hopeless as it struck the inside of the crossbar and into the back of the net. United were back on level terms just 7 minutes since the restart, showing that van Gaal's team talk obviously worked.
Wayne Rooney's free-kick was struck sweetly enough to beat Courtois and put United back on level terms at 1-1.
United looked revitalised after Rooney's strike and pushed more men forward to try and take the lead for the first time in the match, however Chelsea were able to regain possession and Cahill played a long ball up to Hazard, who went past Dede with ease and found Willian waiting in the six yard box who wrapped his foot around the ball and left de Gea stranded as it smashed the roof of the net to put Chelsea back in-front. Dede was the man at fault again which wasn't the best way to make his Premier League debut.
However, United didn't give up and just two minutes later, they were on the attack with Fellaini, who played the ball down the right to Danilo, the new full-back then passed it to Mata who took the ball around the challenge of Fabregas and found Di Maria, who put the ball on his preferred left foot and struck it with power and accuracy towards Courtois, who wasn't strong enough to beat it away as it went through his arms and into the back of the net. United has equalised once again with a lucky but well worked goal.
And just before you knew it, they were on the attack again after breaking down a Chelsea attack, with Herrera finding Rooney, who played it towards his left where Mata had found some free space, and the former Chelsea playmaker hit the ball on the half-volley, taking it away from the fingertips of Courtois and into the back of the net. It was a truly fantastic goal which put United in-front for the first time in the match, and with just over 25 minutes left to play, it would make for a grand stand finish.
Louis van Gaal's men were hanging on by a thread, with all the pressure coming from Chelsea approaching the final fifth-teen minutes of the game, and a lazy challenge from Fellaini gave Chelsea a free-kick on the edge of the area. Hazard was the man to take the responsibility and the Belgian used the same technique as Rooney as he guided the ball up and over the wall and into the top corner, beating de Gea and levelling the game up at 3-3 with both teams still trying to win the game.
Eden Hazard's free-kick was expertly taken as he guided it past de Gea to level the game at 3-3 going into the final 15 minutes.
In big games like these, you need big players, and up stepped new signing Diego Costa, who within a space of four minutes, managed to find himself two goals to put Chelsea all but over the finish line. Hazard was able to find some space to make the killer pass to Costa who chipped it over de Gea to put Chelsea ahead at 4-3. Then just four minutes later, the tall centre-forward was put through by Fabregas and took the ball around de Gea to make it 5-3 Chelsea with the game all but over. The United defence was getting tired and that led to the goal.
And to rub salt in the wounds, Loic Remy made it six as Dede failed to deal with a simple pass which allowed Remy the freedom of the final third as he advanced past de Gea and calmly placed the ball into the bottom of the net making it finish at Stamford Bridge 6-3 to Chelsea, with both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa getting their brace and really kickstarting Chelsea's season. As for United, more work is needed in the defence after a poor performance from new signing Dede.
United have Aston Villa next at Old Trafford with the club needing to win that game comfortably to register some points of the table. It was a great win for Chelsea and a real advertisement for Premier League football. It was a very end-to-end game, with some stand out performers in both teams. Hazard undoubtedly won the man of the match award for his sublime attacking performance which led to most of the Chelsea goals.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's post-match comments
"It was a great perform by my team as we showed some great attacking play. We dominated the opposition and our training for this has paid off. Louis' team played well also, they got past our defenders numerous times. Overall, I am very pleased with the game and it is a real advert to what this league offers almost every week."
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal's post-match comments
"I am content with the performance of the team. We played some good football out there and we played well over the course of the game. It is not the ideal start for me but I am sure we will bounce back next week at Old Trafford. Chelsea played very well and are a dangerous team on the break, which is why we lost today. Our defenders weren't able to cope with the pace and that's something we need to learn from."