Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Chelsea vs Man Utd

Written by Sam Hopkinson

The Blues were hopelessly pedestrian against Watford on Wednesday—so many players look like they’ve given up on this season. Sideways passing and little invention led to Chelsea having just (ONE) shot on target all game against a newly promoted side. Fabregas and Oscar were both poor, and despite his energy Willian wasn’t exactly Messi either. On this form there is zero chance Chelsea qualify for European competition next season. Manchester United finally managed to entertain Old Trafford with 3 goals against Stoke, but is this the Reds finally turning a corner or an anomalous decent performance? This is United’s chance to score in consecutive games.

DEFENDER

John Terry

So this is Terry’s last season in a Chelsea shirt—leaving with not a bang, but a whimper. If he had known what a nightmare season this would be, might he have chosen to retire after winning the title in May? Almost universally despised by most other fans, John Terry will always be Stamford Bridge’s champion—a warrior on the field. Although he had a good game against the Hornets, he was almost caught out a couple of times by Odion Ighalo, whose pace highlighted what Terry lacks nowadays.

MIDFIELDER

Juan Mata

Arguably the best player to have been allowed to leave Stamford Bridge in recent years, Mata hasn’t particularly impressed since moving to Manchester United. A player noted for being a creative virtuoso, he simply hasn’t been allowed to play his preferred game under Louis Van Gaal. Perhaps with United rediscovering how to score, Mata’s chances of earning goals and assists will improve. One of the problems LVG faces is how best to incorporate the Spaniard and Wayne Rooney into the same first XI.

STRIKER

Wayne Rooney

Seven goals, six games—is this the renaissance of Wayne Rooney? It was Anthony Martial and not Rooney who put in a star turn against Stoke, but it is the England captain’s form that is under such scrutiny. As United’s last talisman, Rooney’s goals are worth more than just points on the league table. He is a decent leader, but it’s hugely difficult to lead when the team are impotent and losing. At least this way Rooney can lead by example and maybe actually earn that starting place in Roy Hodgson’s team this summer.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Diego Costa

His antics cost him yet another booking against Watford, but the Spanish international has looked much hungrier and sharper recently than he has in a long time. He drew one or two top drawer saves out of Gomes and made strong runs into Watford’s penalty area but often had few options once he got into a good position. This version of Diego Costa actually has a chance of scoring though, which is more than can be said about the pale shadow who limped around the field under Mourinho.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn't have football, he'd probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.