Manchester United secured a vital 2-0 away Premier League win over Chelsea in the race for European places on Monday evening, in a closely fought game which was dominated by VAR.
Twice Frank Lampard’s men had goals ruled out as the Blues were left frustrated by the video assistant referee.
Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud both had headers disallowed once they had undergone a review, while – most controversially – United captain Maguire avoided punishment for an apparent kick on Michy Batshuayi.
United will be overjoyed by a victory that moves them to within three points of their hosts who currently occupy fourth place.
So without further ado, let’s see how a night of controversy unfolded…
Both managers made a few surprising selection calls ahead of the game. Lampard again chose Willy Caballero over Kepa in between the sticks for the Blues.
And Olé Gunnar Solskjaer handed centre-back, Eric Bailly, his first start since the 4-0 opening day victory over Chelsea at home in August.
Decisions that definitely got fans talking prior to kick-off…
Interesting team selection.
No Kepa speaks volumes.
If Big Willy performs tonight, surely he’s in for the Spurs game as well.
Anyway, Come On Chelsea ?#cfc#CHEMUN
— Mark Worrall (@gate17marco) February 17, 2020
Bailly without injuries could be the best CB in the league. The guy has all the attributes to do well and has just been really unlucky. Perhaps this’ll be the revival of his United career #CHEMUN
— ???? (@AFCMahad) February 17, 2020
??Chelsea started on the front foot and Reece James had the first meaningful effort at goal. The teenager struck it sweetly enough but it just flashed past De Gea’s far post.
6′ – Reece James has the first shot of the match. A powerful low driven effort going just wide #mulive
— utdreport (@utdreport) February 17, 2020
Reece James comes close to making it 1-0 with a great shot after brilliant midfield work from Mateo Kovacic. Positive signs for Chelsea #CFC #CHEMUN #MUFC
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) February 17, 2020
??Kanté was taken off injured inside the opening 10 minutes and United ‘s new boy Bruno Fernandes almost capitalised on Chelsea being a man light…
Bruno Fernandes starting with the give n’ gos.
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) February 17, 2020
That Fred and Bruno Fernandes link up. United nearly score from some beautiful one/two play between our midfielders.
— The Man Utd Way (@TheManUtdWay) February 17, 2020
In a lacklustre half, United were lucky not to be reduced to ten men as Maguire appeared to kick out at Batshuayi… and he was fortunate not to receive his marching orders for petulance.
Hallmarks of Son v Rudiger in that Maguire challenge on Batshuayi. Son was sent off on VAR review. Maguire possibly a little lucky given the similarities, although who knows where the line is these days.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) February 17, 2020
Mason Mount replaced Kanté and he was soon pulling strings in Chelsea’s midfield. Midway through the half, he put it on a plate for striker Batshuayi but the Belgian got his angles crossed.
Safe to say, Chelsea fans were fairly dismayed by his effort…
Batshuayi is the worst professional striker I’ve ever laid eyes on in my entire life
— Rash (@CarefreeRash) February 17, 2020
Giroud must have done something terrible to be behind Michy Batshuayi in the pecking order – the bloke can barely kick a football. Imagine getting that shot off target, wide open after that excellent work by Mount.
— Charlie Skillen (@charlieskillen) February 17, 2020
A frustrating first half for Batshuayi and one which was only compounded by Antony Martial heading United into the lead just before half-time.
How Martial attacked that cross is what we need from him more. Fantastic goal
— O O (@otoiks) February 17, 2020
Chelsea thought they had equalised through substitute Kurt Zouma’s header but it was ruled out for a push on Brandon Williams.
Cue yet more frustration from the home support…
“It’s not football any more,” chant #cfc fans. VAR rules out Zouma goal for foul on Williams by Azpilicueta who had been pushed on to him by Fred. VAR all over the place. VAR turning atmospheres fractious.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) February 17, 2020
Chelsea every right to feel aggrieved. Maguire fortunate to stay on after kick. And Fred pushed Azpilicueta, who then fell into Williams. #MUFC
— Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) February 17, 2020
No way you can rule this goal out… Fred CLEARLY pushes Azpilicueta first and into Williams!
Chelsea fully within their rights to be fuming at how this match has been refereed! #CHEMUN
— Samantha Quek (@SamanthaQuek) February 17, 2020
As Chelsea’s anguish continued, United almost scored…as Fernandes hit the post with a free-kick.
Then they did, as Maguire who arguably shouldn’t have been on the pitch, thumped in a header… as those of a blue persuasion buried their head in their hands.
Chelsea have a goal disallowed incorrectly
Maguire scores when he should of been sent off 14hours ago
Whoever’s been in control of VAR tonight – sack em
— Tass (@FaZeTass) February 17, 2020
And when Lampard’s men thought it couldn’t get any worse… it did. An evening of huge frustration was complete when yet again Chelsea were denied by VAR.
This time it was Giroud who was left frustrated…
It was a controversial night at the Bridge and much of the discontent was voiced towards VAR at full-time…