Jesse Lingard scores the opener against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
Manchester United were minutes away from a well overdue victory at Stamford Bridge, however Diego Costa – playing his first game against United for Chelsea – scored in injury time to deny Louis van Gaal’s men victory. United had played well throughout the game and the visitors deserved to pick up all three points, despite Chelsea’s late surge. Jesse Lingard scored the opener with a stunning shot on the turn to beat Thibaut Courtois in the 61st minute. David De Gea was called into action on a number of occasions making a world class save from Branislav Ivanovic’s volley and keeping out fellow Spaniard Cesc Fabregas at the near post.
Louis van Gaal was disappointed with his United side for switching off in the last fifteen minutes but praised the overall performance of the team. Here we discuss the United youngsters making waves in the first Xi and a much more exciting game – despite the disappointing end to the game.
Jesse Lingard & Cameron Borthwick-Jackson show their class against the Champions
When Eric Cantona signed for United in November 1992, Jesse Lingard wasn’t even born. The Frenchman would go on to be the catalyst for Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson – as the club would win the title for the first time in 26 years. Lingard has had a slow start to his United career. An unused substitute in two Ferguson squads, he didn’t make his competitive debut until the first game of last season – a 2-1 defeat at home to Swansea City – and even then, the youngster was substituted through injury. This season, Lingard looks fresh, fit and is starting to make that right wing berth his own. Goals against West Brom, Newcastle, Stoke City and now Chelsea show a young man growing in confidence and importance to the side.
Lingard’s goal was pure class. United’s number 35 took a beautifully cushioned first touch before spinning and powering the ball into the top corner. It was un-saveable – a touch of class. You can see watching Lingard that he is learning his role on the right hand side and is providing a better balance with Anthony Martial on the left and playmaker Juan Mata through the middle. His pace down that right hand side and, most importantly, his acceleration away when he gives a pass is an asset United must utilise as he can pull fullbacks all over the place. When looking at how much United have spent on other youngster – such as Memphis Depay – it really hits home what a talent United have in their ranks and Louis van Gaal will hope his goalscoring exploits continue on Saturday against Sunderland on Saturday.
Keeping with the Eric Cantona theme, United’s young left back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was born three months before the mercurial Frenchman retired from football for good – which of course means Borthwick-Jackson was a mere two years old when United lifted the European Cup in 1999. In those years growing up, he will have seen the likes of Mikael Silvestre, Gabriel Heinze and of course Patrice Evra – bombing up and down the left hand side for United. Silvestre often slotted in at centre half, whilst Heinze – a fans favourite in debut season – kicked up a fuss when he lost his place to Evra, and subsequently handed in a transfer request.
It was such a pity because Borthwick-Jackson was playing fantastically and I was very proud of him. It was a superb performance until the last quarter. ”
– Louis van Gaal on Cameron Borthwick-Jackson
Evra was an exceptional player for United and put in a number of good performances against Chelsea in his time at the club. Like Lingard, Borthwick-Jackson is growing in confidence since he was flung into the first team following injuries to Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and of course – Luke Shaw who he has replaced whilst the England international recovers from a broken leg. United’s number 43 is an excellent crosser of the ball and put in a number of good deliveries against Chelsea. He was an attacking threat, pressing high up – just like his predecessor Patrice Evra used to do.
He did, along with the rest of the team, ease off in the last quarter of the game and was too deep, playing Costa onside for the equaliser, but van Gaal was full of praise for his young left back. If the rumours were true that United were looking to add a left back to the squad whilst Shaw recovers, Borthwick-Jackson has shown his worth and potential in the last two games.
Better performance for United fans
The game was entertaining. United attacked. Chelsea attacked. Courtois saved. De Gea saved. It was a proper football match, unlike so many games that United fans have witnessed over the past six month. There was attacking football on show, with chances at both ends. Willian and Diego Costa were excellent for Chelsea, whilst Jesse Lingard, Chris Smalling and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson performed well for the visitors. Smalling and Costa had a great battle all match, with the United centre half again showing his quality by closely marking the Chelsea forward tightly – whilst stepping in front of Costa to read the passes into him. Costa though was full of action and running, smashing into defenders whilst darting in behind to latch onto a through pass. His performance deserved a goal, which he got in the dying minutes of the game when Daley Blind slipped and Borthwick-Jackson played him onside.
I think we played a superb game until the last quarter. We did not keep the ball and we did not play the attack in the way I think we have to do.”
– Louis van Gaal on United’s performance
For all of United’s good work, it was undone by a poor decision by substitute Memphis Depay late on in the match. Depay who replaced Jesse Lingard in the 87th minute had a great opportunity, in injury time, to either run into the corner with the ball or to easily play in Morgan Schneiderlin. The Dutch winger proceeded to gift the ball back to Chelsea, who a minute later were celebrating a late equaliser. Of course, there is a long distance for the ball to travel from Depay giving the ball away to Costa rounding De Gea – however, in games of this magnitude there are such fine lines between winning, losing and drawing in this case. Anyone that has played any sort of football will know that deep into the game when you have a chance to run down the clock – you should take it. Depay hasn’t played much football and it is difficult to come into a football match with a few minutes to play – and wanting to make an impact.
Highlighting the run of Schneiderlin – which Depay decided to play in front rather than to his feet
Despite the result, United played so much better than in previous fixtures and although there have been a number of false dawns in recent weeks – there is no doubt that if van Gaal’s men put in this level of performance – there will be a much more entertaining results driven brand of football on show.