It’s a huge game at Stanford Bridge with Manchester United travelling to the capital to take on Chelsea. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have not won a league game there for more than a decade and a Chelsea win would give the blues a seven point lead over their title rivals.
Chelsea are the 7/5 favourites for this one with Manchester United at 21/10. The draw is 9/4. If this match finishes in a draw Paddy Power will refund all losing first goalscorer, last goalscorer, scorecast and correct score singles on this match.
Full-time: Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United: Mata 43, Ramires 53 – Luiz OG 3, Van Persie 11, Hernandez 74
5.52pm: Full-time: Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United
5.51pm: United happy to run down the clock here. This is a big three points for United and Chelsea’s first defeat all season. There is no doubt the two red cards changed the games. Before that at 2-2 it looked for all the owrld as if Chelsea would go on to win.
5.50pm: Valencia bursts through a weary Chelsea defence and, incredibly, as he bears down on goal, hits his shot approximately 20 yards wide. That was pretty atrocious to be fair.
5.48pm: There are a massive five minutes of added time to be played. Valencia is brought down and the referee whips out a yellow card. For a minute I thought Mikel had been booked for a second time but it was for Valencia for simulation.
5.45pm: RVP has gone down injured but Luiz plays on and Chelsea come forward. The ball eventually goes out of play but unsurprisingly Luiz is now feeling the wrath of Sir Alex and the United fans.
5.42pm: Five minutes to go and Chelsea are really trying but there’s nothing going for them. United win a free-kick in their own half and they’re happy to run the clock down now. I doubt there’s going to be many nice tweets about Mark Clattenburg knocking about.
5.38pm: A standing ovation as Chelsea are awarded a free-kick and then Daniel Sturridge comes on for Eden Hazard as Di Matteo has one last throw of the dice. Unfortunately those die have been slightly weighted by Mark Clattenburg and they’re in United’s favour.
5.36pm: What can Chelsea do to get back into this with nine men? The draw is 10/1 in-running.
5.34pm: Mikel has been booked for complaining after the goal and there were big questions about whether Hernandez was offside. I’ve seen the replay and to be honest he probably was. United are getting the breaks here today no doubt about that.
5.32pm: GOAL! Hernandez makes it 3-2. RVP sees his shot saved by Cech and the ball rolls agonisingly towards goal before squirming off the post and hacked away. It comes to Rafeal though who smashes a shot against Hernandez and in. United lead.
5.31pm: Wayne Rooney makes way for Ryan Giggs.
5.31pm: United have 20 minutes to try and break down the nine men and they are 4/6 to win.
5.30pm: Juan Mata has been one of Chelsea’s best on the pitch today but he comes off for Ryan Bertrand as Chelsea try and hold on to the draw with nine men.
5.28pm: Now there’s a bit of needle on the benches. Fergie may be 70-years-old but he loves a bust up and he’s giving it plenty towards the Chelsea as the fourth official steps in. I’m not sure why Fergie is doing it. Maybe just for the craic.
5.24pm: Red card! Torres gets a second yellow card for a dive. The Spaniard looked like he was about to be substituted for Sturridge when the ball went out of play but that’s all changed. Torres ran forward and nutmegged Johnny Evans who appeared to dive in. Torres went down but the referee deemed it a dive and the striker gets a second yellow and an early bath.
5.23pm: Oscar is making way for the defender Azpilicueta who signed from Marseille. Di Matteo is setting his side up to try and contain United it seems.
5.21pm: Ferguson smells blood. Cleverley is coming off for the in-form Javier Hernandez and United fancy their chances of getting a winner. They are 6/4 in-running.
5.19pm: Red Card! RVP sends Ashley Young through on goal and the winger is sent sprawling by Ivanovich just outside the box. The referee has no choice but to send off the Chelsea defender and that could be a game-changer.
5.18pm: United have held on to the ball for a few minutes now and slowed the game down. Ferguson will be happy with that because Chelsea were absolutely flying. There’s half an hour left on the clock for one of these sides to produce a winner.
5.12pm: Hazard almost puts Chelsea in front. His shot is drilled towards the near post but De Gea blocks with his feet. The noise in Stamford Bridge is coming from the home fans and Chelsea look more likely to take the lead.
5.10pm: GOAL! Ramires makes it 2-2. It looks like the chance is gone after Mata is sent wide but his cross comes to Mata who stands it up in the six yard box. Ramires leap is better than Cleverley’s and he nods it down and into the back of the net. Chelsea have all the momentum here.
5.08pm: Appeals for a handball against Luiz after a Valencia cross but nothing doing. You’ve seen them given but it would have been harsh. The defenders arms were close to his body and he didn’t move them to block the ball at all.
5.06pm: Chelsea have a free-kick after Rafeal took out Luiz and from the free-kick there is plenty of tugging and pulling between Luiz and RVP. The decision goes the way of the United striker as Luiz tried to remove his shirt.
5.03pm: Plenty of people questioning David De Gea’s positioning for the Juan Mata free-kick but I’ve seen it plenty of times and have to say it is a world-class strike. I don’t think the keeper can do anything about it.
5.02pm: Second half gets going. No changes for either side.
4.47pm: Half-time: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United. This has been another thrilling game on Super Sunday and there’s still another 45 minutes. Fantastic.
4.45pm: Mata almost scores again. Torres puts him through one-on-one but De Gea saves well with his legs as Chelsea looked like they’d equalise. Torres then picks up a Yellow card for a nasty-looking high-tackle on Cleverley.
4.44pm: GOAL! Juan Mata with a perfect free-kick. The Spaniard bends it right round the wall and into the corner. Nothing De Gea could do, an absolutely brilliant goal.
4.43pm: Hazard then pinches the ball off Rooney who absolutely clatters him to prove a point. Hazard has probably learnt his lesson but this is a dangerous free-kick.
4.42pm: You won’t see a better save all season. From a Torres header David De Gea somehow claws the ball off the line and behind for a corner. A world class stop by the keeper.
4.41pm: Five minutes to go till half-time and Chelsea won’t want the whistle. They have had a great 15 minutes here and are desperate to get a goal back before the break.
4.37pm: Torres is brought down by Tony Valencia right on the corner of the box and this is a good chance for Chelsea to get back in to this. Unfortunately for them Luiz decides to smash it into a crowd of players.
4.35pm: Saying that Chelsea have almost scored twice. First Johnny Evans smashes the ball against his own post and from the corner Gary Cahill’s header is turned wide by De Gea.
4.34pm: Mind-blowing stat! United have been two goals up in 346 Premier League games and not lost, winning 336 and drawing 10. Incredible. Cheers @OptaJoe.
4.31pm: Someone in the office has just asked where has this United performance come from? He’s right. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side look like a completely different team to the one of recent weeks.
4.30pm: There is no doubt that Chelsea have had far more of the ball than United but they aren’t doing anything with it. When the reds get on to the ball they are breaking with plenty of pace down the flanks and causing Chelsea plenty of problems. There are definitely more goals in this game.
4.25pm: Hazard skips into a yard of space and lashes a shot just wide of De Gea’s post.
4.22pm: Michael Carrick suddenly thinks he’s Paul Scholes and executes a perfectly mistimed tackle on Mikel. The ref lets him off with a warning but Luiz almost buries the free-kick from way out. It bends and dips over the wall and De Gea, somewhat unconventionally, keeps it out with his feet.
4.20pm: Ivanovich skips past Cleverley but overhits the cross. Chelsea are struggling to get their key men on the ball at the minute. This is easily the best opening 20 minutes Man United have had all season.
4.18pm: Valencia is flying down the right for Manchester United. This time he wins a corner off everyone’s favourite tweeter Ashley Cole.
4.14pm: Anyone for a Chelsea comeback? It’s 7/1 for the blues to win this one with 75 minutes to go.
4.12pm: GOAL. United lead 2-0 and it’s far too easy. Valencia gets away down the right and drills it back to Van Persie who has sold Gary Cahill and sweeps it past Cech. United have looked phenomenal coming forward.
4.10pm: Ivanovich clatters Evra with a crunching tackle that has Fergie on his feet. Mark Clattenburg deems it fair though and he certainly won’t be getting a Christmas card from the United gaffer this year.
4.08pm: Chelsea have recovered from going behind early and settled well but United aren’t giving them any time on the ball. Rooney is playing very deep when the reds don’t have the ball and packing out the middle of the park making it hard for Oscar, Hazard and Juan Mata to play.
4.06pm: That own goal from Luiz was certainly painful for the defender.
4.04pm: Nothing Luiz could do about that one. The goal-fest has begun very early.
4.03pm: GOAL! United lead. Rooney feeds Van Persie whose shot whacks the post and then cannons off the back of David Luiz and into the net.
4.01pm: Oscar is almost in with only a minute on the clock but Ferdinand recovers to clear away with De Gea hesitating. A nervy opening from United’s back line which is as about as surprising as the Pope going to mass the way they’ve started games this season.
4.00pm: Spot on 4.00pm and Chelsea kick-off. Great time-keeping from the referee. Sir Alex will be delighted.
3.59pm: The lads are out on the pitch and everyone shakes hands which is nice to see. The Merseyside derby has set the bar, will this game raise it?
3.56pm: Players are in the tunnel and David De Gea is having loads of laughs and high fives with the Spanish contingent of Chelsea’s squad. He is obviously a great laugh on the international scene. Part of me wishes he’d stop being such a fun guy and practice collecting crosses with more confidence.
3.54pm: Not far away from kick-off and a what could be a huge turning point in the title race. Well it’s a huge turning point for now. Seven points is an awful lot of ground to lose at this stage of the season.
3.47pm: Can Rooney and RVP deliver? I’ve had a punt on Rooney to score and Manchester United to win which is a tasty 9/2 wincast.
3.41pm: Luckily for you guys one of my blog buddies Aidan has made this lovely graphic to show just how bobbins both teams are at defending and how good they are going forward.
3.39pm: Breaking down the key stats for you and the trends are all blue. Chelsea haven’t lost here in the league to United for over ten years and have only dropped two points all season. In 12 games this year United have gone behind in eight of them and defensively have been all over this place. In this fixture last year they were 3-0 down before clawing it back to draw 3-3.
3.32pm: This is all set to be an absolute thriller. Both Andy Gray and our chief sports writer Aidan Elder fancy plenty of goals in this one and over 3.5 is 13/8.
3.28pm: Team news is in.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole Mikel, Ramires, Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Torres
Manchester United: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Cleverley, Carrick, Young Rooney, RVP