United retained their unbeaten start to the season by seeing off the challenge of a gallant Chelsea side who came to Old Trafford to attack.
In winning, United became the only side, in the Premier League, with a 100% record and also established a club record of eighteen straight home wins in league football.
Sir Alex Ferguson pulled no punches with his team selection, restoring the majority of those that were rested in Benfica. With Celverley injured Fletcher got the nod in midfield. One surprise was the fact that Rio Ferdinand wasn`t in the eighteen at all.
United – De Gea, Smalling, Jones, Evans, Evra, Anderson, Fletcher, Nani, Young, Rooney, Hernandez
Subs – Lindegaard, Fabio, Giggs, Park, Carrick, Valencia, Berbatov.
United got the game underway and could have gone a goal down early on. A good move from Chelsea involving Sturridge, Lampard and Cole saw De Gea pull off a good block, with his legs, to deny Ramires from eight yards out.
Thankfully, any early nerves were eradicated in the 8th minute when United took the lead. Young was felled some twenty-two yards and when he took the free-kick it was Smalling who rise above everyone else to head powerfully past Cech
United 1 Chelsea 0 (Smalling – 8 minutes)
But some lax defending from Anderson almost saw Chelsea pull level. A loose ball was picked up by Torres but his shot was scuffed and drifted wide of the post.
The game, an open affair, continued to generate chances but, as the half wore on, it was becoming noticeable that Nani was becoming more of an influence giving Cole a torrid time.
Thankfully, De Gea was on top of his game and pulled off another smart save this time after Mata and Cole had combined to deliver a good cross for Ramires to unleash a shot.
Eight minutes before half time the lead was doubled. Nani collected a diagonal ball from Evans and ran at the Chelsea defence before unleashing a shot that Cech never even got near.
United 2 Chelsea 0 (Nani – 37 minutes)
United were two goals to the good in a game that had been very even up to this point. But there was still time for a third on the stroke of half time when Jones pushed on into the penalty area, found hi sway blocked, only for Terry to hack his pass against Nani with the ball falling for Rooney to slot home form close range.
United 3 Chelsea 0 (Rooney – 44minutes)
Half Time – United 3 Chelsea 0
Chelsea made a change at half time, Anelka came on for Lampard, with the Frenchman`s first contribution being to set up Torres for a neat finish from an acute angle.
United 3 Chelsea 1 (Torres – 46 minutes)
Buoyed by the goal, Chelsea pushed forward and forced four corners in the space of two or three minutes. But form the fourth United launched a lightning counter attack which resulted in a Nani shot hitting the bar.
With the rebound falling invitingly for Nani there was a tangle with Bosingwa which saw Nani tumble to the floor and United awarded a penalty. Rooney stepped up hoping to score his second of the game, unfortunately as he shaped to kick the ball his standing leg gave way and the ball sailed harmlessly wide.
Sir Alex made two changes just past the hour mark bringing on Valencia and Carrick for Smalling and Anderson. Smalling appeared to limp away, straight down the tunnel and looks to be a doubt for the trip to Leeds in the Carling Cup.
Chelsea, to their credit, continued to try and get back into the game and one piece of skill from Torres saw him get through our rearguard only for his shot to be blocked by De Gea with Torres then blasting the rebound over the bar.
Rooney then saw an effort hit the post and in the ensuing melee Hernandez was the subject of an awful tackle from Cole that saw Cole receive a yellow card and Hernandez limp away to be replaced by Berbatov.
With 83 minutes on the clock, Torres once again danced through the United rearguard, strode past De Gea but, inexplicably, shot wide with his left foot with the goal at his mercy.
United could have added a fourth in stoppage time but when Rooney beat the offside trap and squared to Berbatov the ball wasn`t quite accurate enough and the Bulgarian`s rushed shot was cleared off the line.
All in all quite a game!
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