Live Commentary: Manchester United 0-1 Chelsea - as it happened

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson prior to kick-off against Sunderland on March 30, 2013
© PA Photos
Find out how Chelsea won 1-0 away at Manchester United with Sports Mole's text updates.

Champions Manchester United played host to Chelsea at Old Trafford with the visitors needing the three points to stay in control of the race for a Champions League place.

As it was, the Blues claimed a 1-0 victory thanks to a late strike by Spanish attacker Juan Mata, while Rafael da Silva saw red for United in the closing stages for a foul on David Luiz.

You can find out how the match unfolded with our minute-by-minute commentary below.


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3.03pmAfternoon all. It doesn't matter that one of these sides has very little to play for because Manchester United vs. Chelsea is a still a big encounter whatever way you look at it. It's also a match that usually produces goals.

3.06pmRight, before we delve into all the pre-match chat and statistics, the team news from Old Trafford is just beginning to filter through to us. Let's start with visiting Chelsea...

3.08pmCHELSEA XI: Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Oscar, Mata, Moses; Ba

3.11pmSo, the big news for Chelsea is that attacker Eden Hazard has missed out altogether. The Belgian has been replaced by Victor Moses, while Demba Ba has been preferred to Fernando Torres as a lone striker. There is also no place for John Terry, which in turn has seen Frank Lampard take over the captaincy.

3.13pmAnd here is how the hosts will start the encounter...

3.14pmMAN UNITED XI: Lindegaard; Rafael, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Jones, Anderson, Cleverley, Giggs; Van Persie

3.17pmWell, that isn't the most attacking of starting lineups from Sir Alex Ferguson. With Danny Welbeck injured, there is no place for either Wayne Rooney or Javier Hernandez. Robin van Persie will start as a centre-forward, with the likes of Ryan Giggs, Anderson and Tom Cleverley in midfield. Nemanja Vidic is also fit and starts in defence.

3.21pmAnd here is who will start the match on the two benches:

MAN UNITED: De Gea, Ferdinand, Rooney, Hernandez, Scholes, Kagawa, Buttner

CHELSEA: Turnbull, Ferreira, Cahill, Terry, Ake, Benayoun, Torres


3.26pmPerhaps worryingly for Wayne Rooney's Man United career, it's not that much of a surprise when he is not included in the starting lineup anymore. If you believe what you read the club would consider bids for him this summer and his selection on the bench today is bound to spark yet more speculation.

3.30pmTurning our attention to the away side and they actually have a very positive record over United since the Premier League was implemented back in 1992. They've won on 13 occasions against the Red Devils. They've also scored 55 times during the meetings between the two teams - a record that no other side can better or match.

3.35pmYou'd have to say that another win would be massive for the Blues today as well. That would put them in command of the race for Champions League football, with rivals Tottenham Hotspur to come on Wednesday night. On the fact of it, a draw wouldn't be a disaster either today.

3.40pmNot that United are here to make up the numbers. Despite the fact that they have already won the Premier League title, skipper Vidic has insisted that they want to finish the season in style:

"The most important thing is to win the games and keep that winning mentality. Sometimes when you play without the pressure you can have a good game and enjoy it more," he told PA Sport.

"There is enough of a motivation for us. We are motivated every time we step out at Old Trafford. When we go into the games we have a mentality to win which is not going to change against Chelsea or anyone else.

"The only difference is we are relaxed. We are not chasing points for the trophy. We have won that so we can enjoy the game. We will try to win. We don't want to lose the last three games. We want to finish in a good style."


3.44pmWe may also see a bit of history created today as Frank Lampard needs two more goals to become Chelsea's leading goalscorer of all time. United boss Ferguson has been talking about the England midfielder in recent days and condessed that he wished he'd signed him:

"Lampard is fantastic. Unbelievable. I don't think there's a midfield player who will ever do those 200 goals again," said the Scot. "It is quite phenomenal. I think the guy has had a great career, I must say. We looked at him at West Ham when he was a young player.

"I think you now regret not doing it. Where else could I get 200 goals?"


3.50pmRight, prediction time. Those of you that have got your money on a draw, here is a stat from Opta that may make you reconsider: "16 - Anders Lindegaard has played more PL games without ever drawing one than any other player in the league's history (W13 L3). Decisive." For what it's worth, I'm going for a 2-1 away win.

3.55pmThe players are now beginning to filter into the tunnel. It's good to see a legend like Paul Scholes present and involved again, albeit on the bench. Not long now until we are off and running at Old Trafford.

1 minGAME ON! Here we go then. Chelsea, kicking from right to left, get this Premier League fixture started.

3 minCHANCE! First sight of goal for Chelsea as Juan Mata jinks his way into the area, before picking out Ba with a lofted pass. It looks as though it will be a straightforward header for the Senegalese striker, but he gets his body in the wrong position and sends the ball over the crossbar.

8 minA first major attack for United as Rafael gets the better of Ashley Cole on the right byline. The Brazilian full-back then drills in a cross which is Petr Cech fails to hold but thankfully for him the danger is cleared.

13 minOFF THE POST! Lindegaard gets lucky as he gets down to save a poked effort by Oscar from 10 yards out. The ball spills out of the United keeper's grasp, but he is able to grab it again at the second attempt via the upright.

17 minCHANCE! A big opportunity for the Blues is wasted by Moses, who has to do better. Phil Jones slips while in possession and Chelsea break with Mata. The Spaniard squares for the Nigerian international, but his shot from the edge of the area flies well over the crossbar. He needed a lot more composure there.

22 minIt's Chelsea that are looking the more likely to break the deadlock at the moment. There is more purpose about their passing and movement. Like the start of their match against Arsenal last week, United look like a side that are on their holidays already.

27 minSAVE! Giving Lampard time and space just outside the penalty area is never the best of ideas, but United get away with it on this occasion as the midfielder drills in a shot. However, it's not a clean connection and Lindegaard is able to get down and hold the ball with ease.

33 minCHANCE! If you want to give an example to a youngster of how not to strike a ball, Tom Cleverley has just provided it. Ryan Giggs's dangerous cross is pushed clear by Cech and when the rebound drops to Cleverley 20 yards from goal, leaning back, he sends the ball well over the crossbar. Had he got it on target, Cech would have been struggling.

38 minIf truth be told, there is very little happening at the moment. Chelsea's dominance from earlier has subsided and now neither side are creating too much in the way of goalscoring chances. This match really needs a goal.

42 minCHANCE! A big opportunity for Robin van Persie, which you would expect him to convert considering his recent form. Giggs picks him out with a ball through the Chelsea defence, but the Dutch striker's instant shot from inside the area goes just wide of the upright. That's better from the home team.

45 minHALF-TIME: Man United 0-0 Chelsea

4.50pmWell, that wasn't the best half of football, it has to be said. Chelsea have arguably been the better of the two sides, but they haven't created too much. As usual, Mata has been Chelsea's best player and if they can get him on the ball more, they could well win this match.

4.53pmFrom United's point of view, they need some more creativity on the pitch. To be fair to Anderson, he's played well, but apart from that the quality has been lacking from midfield. Maybe bringing on Shinji Kagawa could be an option, while Rooney or Hernandez could partner a rather isolated Van Persie.

4.58pmFor Chelsea, there is not too much you would change in all honesty. They are missing the presence of Hazard, which was highlighted when Moses blazed the ball over the bar despite being well placed. The Belgian would probably have made more of that opportunity. That can't be helped though so Rafael Benitez will probably be asking for more of the same.

5pmHere's what Robbie Savage made of Antonio Valencia's performance, which is hard to disagree with: "Antonio Valencia has no desire, he's not as dynamic as he used to be. He looks as if he's feeling sorry for himself. Chelsea have created more in United's final third," he told BBC Sport. The United winger has been very poor today.

45 minRight, the players are back with us and United have restarted the encounter. They will be attacking the Stretford End.

50 minBoth teams have been sloppy at the start of the second half. Neither is able to keep hold of the ball and have been quite wasteful in all honesty. Meanwhile, the first booking of the match has gone to United skipper Vidic for a foul on Ba.

55 minThe news on Hazard is that he has picked up a calf problem. He travelled with the squad but it has been decided that he shouldn't be risked so he's in the stand today. The Blues are missing him, there's no doubt about it.

57 minThis game is crying out for a goal and this stat from Opta has to give you hope that we will get one: "1 - Just one of the last 23 Premier League games at Old Trafford that has been 0-0 at half-time, has ended that way. Hope."

62 minA fair point from former Ipswich Town striker James Scowcroft on Twitter: "Don't think I've ever seen the ball given away as much by two top teams before. Possible sums up the Premier league at present."

67 minChelsea have started to dominate the match, without calling Lindegaard into any meaningful action. It's them that need the points more, so they really do need to start working the United goalkeeper more.

69 minSUBSTITUTIONS: It's time for Rooney, who has come on replace Anderson - does that man ever play 90 minutes?! Joining Rooney is Alexander Buttner - the Dutchman has taken the place of Cleverley and will play on the left wing, with Giggs moving inside.

70 minMore from Opta: "48 - Wayne Rooney has scored 48 Premier League goals on Sundays; more than any other player. Super?"

73 minCHANCE! That's better from Valencia, who actually produces a cross that lands inside the penalty area! Rooney is there to meet it, having used his teammate Van Persie as a springboard. His header is mistimed though and the ball sails harmlessly over the crossbar.

76 minSUBSTITUTION: Here comes Fernando Torres, having donned his protective mask. The Spanish striker replaces Moses and is given a frosty reception from the home faithful. They won't forget if you've once played for Liverpool!

80 minCHANCE! United almost go 1-0 up thanks to Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. The Serb throws himself on the floor to block Rafael's cross, but almost diverts the ball into his own while doing so. As it was, it ends up in the side netting. Seconds later, Jones is booked for a cynical foul on Ramires.

84 minCHANCE! David Luiz has scored some screamers recently, but he fails miserably with a free kick from 20 yards out. He goes for power rather than placement and subsequently sends the ball wide of the target and into the crowd. Time running out for Chelsea to win this one.

86 minGOAL! Man United 0-1 Chelsea (Mata)

88 minThat is a very, very big goal for Chelsea, who could well have booked their place in next season's Champions League. They work an overload at the back post and the ball eventually finds Mata. His shot deflects off Jones and squirms into the net off the upright. Quite rightly, the Chelsea players go mad - they know how important that goal is.

89 minRED CARD! Rafael (Man United)

90 minIt's all kicking off! That is so stupid from Rafael, who hacks out at Luiz in the corner flag and Howard Webb rightly sends him off. It sparks a ruck between the sets of players - this is a proper Man United vs. Chelsea game now! Both sides also make a change as Hernandez comes on for Valencia, while Chelsea bring on Ake for goalscorer Mata. There will also be four minutes of stoppage time.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Man United 0-1 Chelsea

5.54pmJob done for Chelsea - they are now in command of the race for the Champions League. It was a decent performance from the Blues and they were worthy winners. The less said about it from a United point of view, the better!

5.55pmThat's all we have time for from Old Trafford. Thanks for joining us today and be sure to check out our analysis of the clash, which will be on the site shortly. Until next time, goodbye.

Man Utd striker Robin Van Persie celebrates his goal against Wigan on January 1, 2013
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