CHELSEA 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
Diego Costa’s late strike gained a point for Chelsea as they took on Manchester United at home and extended their unbeaten run to 12.
The Spaniard waited until injury time to fire home, cancelling out Jesse Lingard’s earlier clinical finish, salvaging a draw for the Blues.
Chelsea, who remain 13th in the league table, started slowly and once again Brazilian midfielder Willian was the only player to shine in blue early on.
Manchester United, still in fifth place, took the initiative in an entertaining spectacle, producing a performance that will be encouraging to fans.
Chelsea suffered a fresh injury blow as centre back Kurt Zouma was stretchered off just before the hour mark and now faces an agonising wait to find out how long he will be sidelined.
The first goal came for Louis van Gaal’s side in the 61st minute after great build up play saw the ball fall to Lingard in the area who slotted home impressively on the turn past a helpless Thibaut Courtois.
Guus Hiddink’s men showed their character when Costa equalised in the 91st minute and arguably could have snatched a victory when the Spaniard was denied by the superb David de Gea in late late injury time.
The Chelsea boss said: “I think we deserved a point, United started well, we dropped to far back and for the first 20 minutes they dominated us.
“Afterwards [the goal] I think the team reacted very well.
“I’m happy with the reaction of the team, it’s not easy because I think Man United did a good job – they are not an easy team to beat.”
It’s the first time Chelsea have drawn four consecutive home games in the Premier League and Hiddink has now drawn six out of his nine games in the league.
The positive impact of Eden Hazard off the the bench as he fights back from injury will have pleased Chelsea fans, adding dynamism to their forward play.
Van Gaal cut a frustrated figure after the game, believing his side threw away a thoroughly deserved the victory as they continued to show promising form.
“I think we played a superb game,” said the United manager.
“Its unbelievable – when you play against a team like Chelsea you have to reward yourself, and we could have scored after the first goal.”
United remain fifth in the Premier League but are now six points adrift from fourth place Manchester City.
The United boss said: “The gap is now bigger than before and that is not good.”
It is telling that despite United’s impressive performance it was Chelsea who had the better of the chances, with the United keeper De Gea giving a performance worthy of man of the match.
Newcastle are next to be welcomed to the Bridge on Saturday before Hiddink’s men cross the channel to face Paris St. Germain in the Champions League on Monday February 16.
Image courtesy of Chelsea TV via YouTube, with thanks