Manchester United defeated Chelsea on Sunday afternoon in a Premier League clash which might have crucial importance in the ongoing fight for the Champions League qualification. Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard proved to be enough to see the Blues off and Manchester United now sit pretty in second, ahead of Liverpool and Liverpool. Chelsea are currently two points off the fourth place.
But what can we learn in finer details from this match? Yes, Romelu Lukaku played one of his best matches since joining United last summer, and yes, Lingard really likes these big occasions. What else is there to be learned?
The Role Of Alexis Sanchez
This is a very important thing. It was often brought up in recent weeks how will Sanchez fit in, as currently he is still not playing anywhere near his top performances. Some of the pundits were even mentioning the fact that the Chilean is entering his thirties soon and he might be past his peak.
Yet, during the Chelsea game we could see that Sanchez was all over the pitch. He was initially thought of as a right winger in a 4-3-3 formation, but his movement was not only on that right flank. Sanchez really want to get into the action, so he often had to run inwards, but as a right footed player playing on the left flank, that did not work quite well. So, he often wandered towards the left flank, trying to influence the game from both sides of the pitch. What could be learned from this?
Sanchez is definitely not feeling comfortable on the right flank and Mourinho might shift him back on the left. That could have negative effect on Anthony Martial, but priorities must be made. That is how things look right now.
Not Applying Pressure Everywhere
This was a bit weird. With Alexis on the right and Martial on the left, United mostly tried to hassle Chelsea players when they were going outwards. Andreas Christensen played as a central of the three defenders and he was barely ever pressed. Two United wingers tried to make Rudiger and Azpilicueta feel uncomfortable and that was a bit weird as Christensen really is a good passer. Maybe United could have got more from their initial press if it was more often applied in central areas of the final third.
Ashley Young Doing Well Against Victor Moses
This was not something many people were thinking about after the match, but Ashley Young played quite well offensively. United’s left back took the most out of Willian playing as an inside forward and Moses being his only direct opponent. He often sprinted forwards, alongside Pogba, and trying to offer a numerical advantage in final third.
He even completed five dribbles during the match and four of them were in or just outside of Chelsea’s box. That is where dribbles are the most valuable. Even when you take a look at his touch map and heat map, you realize how much time he spent offering his attacking qualities, without actually paying too much attention. What this offered was a bit more balance, as he is not a real left back. It was good seeing him play well in unnatural position against a strong opponent.