Jose Mourinho playing a very clever and confident game
Chelsea, now odds-on at 4/11 with Coral to win the Premier League, threw off all the shackles at Old Trafford and were unlucky not to claim all three points.
Playing like the home side, they quickly quietened the Stretford End, with chants of “Jose Mourinho” issuing from the travelling contingent all that could be heard for the best part of 20 minutes. United started cagey, the Blues confident, acting as if they had already won the title.
It was an intriguing tactical set-up prior to the match. How would both teams play? Should United attack Chelsea, they get picked apart on the counter-attack, with an inexperienced, and frankly shaky defence. Sit back, and eventually Mourinho’s men break you down.
Already the Portuguese maestro has started showing respect to United. An old Sir Alex Ferguson trick. Being nice about teams he doesn’t consider to be a threat. Mourinho travelled to Old Trafford knowing that anything more than a point was a bonus. Chelsea’s goal was to put as big a gap between themselves and Manchester City, not United.
Mourinho already knows United are out of the title race, he isn’t worried on that score. Carrying himself with a self-assured swagger, inwardly confident he made his way to the home side’s dugout a few seconds before the final whistle was blown and congratulated the United bench.
Although the goal Chelsea conceded in the last minute was, by their standards, sloppy, Mourinho knew this was a point gained, not two points dropped. Restoring his faith in long time servant Didier Drogba, the Ivorian hassled and harried all match. A trademark headed goal from a corner beat David de Gea at his near post, and Robin van Persie only helped it on its way. Regardless, it was Drogba back to his best, and there was no stopping him.
To really put the boot into United, it was a sublime Cesc Fabregas delivery from the corner which assisted the goal. The Red Devils could reportedly have signed the Spaniard in the summer, though chose not to. They chased him for three months last year, to no avail.
This wasn’t even Chelsea at their best. No Diego Costa, Loic Remy injured, and Cesar Azpilicueta banned. Mourinho will probably strengthen in January, identifying another player who can come in and slot effortlessly into this side.
Despite a draw, don’t be fooled, Mourinho knows this is a crucial point and can now focus on entertaining QPR in their next Premier League match at home next, with Chelsea odds-on at 1/6 for the win.