Manchester United blanks Chelsea in VAR-heavy affair

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Manchester United took all three points from Stamford Bridge, but VAR was the star of the Red Devils’ 2-0 win on Monday.

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Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire scored the goals, the latter getting his first PL goal for United after VAR declined to prosecute an unsavory incident by the center back on the touchline.

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United moves into seventh place with 38 points, three behind fourth-place Chelsea. It’s Manchester Unired’s first league double over Chelsea since 1987/88.


Three highlights

1. Bailly, Wan-Bissaka pass tests: Chelsea targeted the right side of United’s defense and, after an early mistake from returning center back Eric Bailly, the defenders on that side stood tall. Wan-Bissaka chipped in with an assist on Martial opener.

2. Maguire dodges VAR red card for a mindless move: There’s no debating that a prone Harry Maguire left his right foot extended and made a sneaky move to make sure he connected squarely with Michy Batshuayi‘s groin on the touchline. It wasn’t spotted by the ref, though the Chelsea bench sans Frank Lampard reacted angrily. VAR saw nothing, somehow, and perhaps was unwilling to award a yellow and not a red? Weird stuff (view video of the incident here).

3. VAR then overturns Zouma equalizer: Chelsea appeared to equalize through a Kurt Zouma header, but VAR spotted a foul on Brandon Williams that led to the goal. The problem? Manchester United’s Fred shoved Cesar Azpilicueta into the United youngster. It’s somehow more controversial given the fine margins in the race for Champions League places.

Man of the Match: It’s gotta be Wan-Bissaka for his two-way game, though Maguire was the No. 1 man of note in the contest.


Reece James belted a shot wide of the far post in the sixth minute, and Willian missed by more three minutes later.

Bruno Fernandes and Fred worked a 12th-minute exchange that led to an unproductive corner kick.

Mason Mount came on for an injured N’Golo Kante after a dozen minutes.

There was a bizarre lack of address when a prone Harry Maguire stuck his boot into Michy Batshuayi’s groin.

The first half was filled with near-misses. Willian couldn’t cue up Michy Batshuayi around the 20-minute mark. That one was the Belgian’s fault, but he was quite poor when Mason Mount set him up centrally in the 26th.

United’s Anthony Martial drove into the box and spun a shot wide 10 minutes later, but found his goal before halftime with a classy header of Wan-Bissaka’s tremendous cross.

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Chelsea appeared to make it 1-1 in the 55th minute through a Kurt Zouma header, but it was ruled out by VAR. Cesar Azpilicueta knocked over Brandon Williams, but the Chelsea defender had been shoved into the defender by Fred. Stunning.

Bruno Fernandes smashed the post in the 64th minute, and United would find its second soon afterwards when Maguire got the better of Rudiger to head home.

Giroud gave Chelsea a shout with a 77th minute header, but his front foot was offside before he headed home a Mason Mount cross.

Odion Ighalo subbed into the match in stoppage time and was deprived of a debut goal by Willy Caballero.