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Sunday, April 16, 2017

#IBsports: Live Commentary; Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea

Welcome to IcechuksBlog live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The Blues can take another step towards lifting the title with victory this afternoon against an opponent that they have not lost against in any of their last 12 meetings.

United may boast a 21-game unbeaten run in the top flight but they have drawn 10 of those, including five out of six on home soil in 2017, and are now left battling for a spot in the top four.

Follow all of the action as it unfolds with our extensive updates below.


MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Darmian; Fellaini, Herrera, Young, Pogba, Lingard; Rashford
MANCHESTER UNITED SUBS: Romero, Blind, Fosu-Mensah, Shaw, Carrick, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic

CHELSEA: Begovic; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard
CHELSEA SUBS: Eduardo, Zouma, Terry, Loftus-Cheek, Fabregas, Willian, Batshuayi

90+2 min MANCHESTER UNITED SUB! Young has put in one of his better shifts of the season, perhaps relishing the captaincy duties. The Englishman makes way for Timothy Fosu-Mensah for the final seconds of the match.

90 min Four minutes of added time to be played at the end of the match, which now looks certain to end with United celebrating a rare win over their opponents. Fabregas booked for a dodgy challenge, which a few United players felt deserved a red.

88 min We really are into the final throes now at the Theatre of Dreams, and there is little sign of the scoreline changing. Chelsea knowing the ball around in the final third but just cannot create that killer opening.

86 min Rashford was superb during his time on the pitch, but Herrera will argue that he deserves the Man of the Match award. The Spaniard set-up Rashford's opener and then scored one of his own - not since October 2015 has he achieved both in a game.

84 min Ibrahimovic in the wars early on, clutching his ankle after being caught, but he seems to be fine to carry on. A first win for Mourinho over Chelsea as United manager now just six minutes away. Still time for a late twist here!

82 min CHELSEA SUB! The final change of the afternoon from Conte, as he brings on Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Zouma. The Blues need to go all out now in these final eight minutes, even if it means shipping a third of the match.

80 min MANCHESTER UNITED SUB! Here comes that second United change - Ibrahimovic coming on for Rashford, who really has been superb this afternoon. The oncoming Swede has 13 goals and five assists in his last 17 league games.

78 min Mourinho is getting Ibrahimovic readied to come on - not what those Chelsea defenders want to see. Neither side able to create any chances for the best part of 20 minutes now, though it would be wrong to say that it is game over for the visitors.

76 min The Blues pretty much dominating possession over the past 10 minutes, but Mourinho will not be all that concerned. United looking good value to see through these final 14 minutes or so for a first win over their opponents in 13 attempts.

74 min YELLOW CARD! Diego Costa was looking to burst through, but Marcos Rojo - who had a running battle with the Spain international in the first half - pulled back on his opponent and was shown the game's fourth caution.

72 min YELLOW CARD! Ander Herrera clips Eden Hazard and is shown a yellow as a result. A little harsh on the face of it, which he is quick to let Bobby Madley know, but it is more down to an accumulation of offences.

70 min Chelsea still awaiting their first on-target attempt of the contest. They have looked far livelier since United's second, with Pedro's cross into the box being well handled by De Gea seconds ago, but they need to improve further.

69 min SAVE! Great work from Rashford, who is looking every inch the player of 2015-16 this afternoon. The Englishman somehow kept hold of the ball under pressure from Luiz and Zouma, before guiding a shot on target for Begovic to keep out.

67 min CHELSEA SUB! The latest roll of the dice from Conte sees him turn to Willian for the final 23 minutes, taking off the ineffective Matic. Pedro sent a curler over the bar moments beforehand for the Blues.

65 min A landmark 450th appearance in United colours for substitute Carrick, incidentally, who has been introduced to just keep play ticking over in midfield. Mourinho knows that his side have done the hard work; they can now sit back a little more.

63 min CLOSE! Half of Old Trafford celebrates after Rashford picked up the ball completely unmarked and smashed the ball into the side-netting. Looked as though he had beaten Begovic, but it was inches wide in the end.

61 min Half a chance for Pedro as he drifts in at the back post but cannot direct his volley on target. Get the sense over the past few minutes that Chelsea are finally starting to find some sort of rhythm to their game.

59 min MANCHESTER UNITED SUB! Mourinho responds to Conte's change almost immediately by bringing on Carrick for Lingard. Prior to that, Fabregas picked out Costa over the top but the striker failed to control the ball inside the box.

57 min CHELSEA SUB! Conte has made his first change by introducing Fabregas for Moses, packing out the midfield with five men. Two shots on target for United this afternoon and two goals to their name - efficient as you like.

55 min Conte still yet to make a change, even when one was clearly required at the break. Been difficult to criticise anything the Italian has done since mid-October, but his side have been dreadful for the past 55 minutes at Old Trafford.

53 min That really was a big deflection off Zouma to help lift the ball over Begovic, but the attempt was on target so will be claimed by Herrera. Almost a third for United - Rashford picked out Lingard, who sent his shot over the bar.

51 min A first Premier League goal in 14 months for Herrera has made Chelsea's task all the more difficult! From the overhit Rashford free kick, Young managed to keep it alive by drifting into the box, with Herrera belting the loose ball past Begovic with the aid of a big deflection off Kante.


50 min YELLOW CARD! Cahill goes in high on Fellaini, catching the Belgian right on the calf and rightly earning a yellow card in the process. Rashford swings in the free kick but it has far too much pace on it.

48 min No changes made by Conte at the break, incidentally, both in terms of personnel and tactics. The Italian made a deliberate point of sending Willian to warm-up, though, so maybe an early change could be made.

46 min RESTART! The omens do not look great for Chelsea at this point, as they have lost four of the previous five matches they have trailed at the break, with their single shot on target in the first half - their lowest of the season - not providing much hope of a comeback.

The first half ends with Young hammering the ball over the bar from right on the edge of the box after Valencia slipped it through for Herrera, who did well to spot his teammate. It is an opening 45 minutes dominated by Manchester United, but it would be unfair to say that they deserve anything more than a one-goal lead having managed just the shot on target against a below-par Chelsea.


45+1 min The Blues come forward and Pedro looks as though he is shaping up for a shot, but he instead looks to pass it. The ball is blocked and then Costa smashes the ball well wide of the target. Two minutes of added time to be played.

44 min Incredible. If ever a moment summed up Chelsea's half, it is Azpilicueta losing his footing when in space to send his cross out for a goal kick. A shocker from the makeshift wing-back, who has barely been involved.

42 min CLOSE! Rashford causing all sorts of problems for the Chelsea defence, retaining his balance and sending a cross into a dangerous zone for Cahill to head on to the roof of his own net. United would love a second before the break.

40 min Five minutes from half time now and United may live to regret not making the most of their dominance. For all their attacking purpose they have only managed one shot on target, while Chelsea have not even managed that many.

38 min Luiz gets across well to end a potential United attack down their left-hand side. Even Kante has just miscontrolled the ball to concede a throw; something which pretty much tells those visiting fans that it may not be their day.

36 min Costa sent Rojo to the ground incidentally enough but landed heavily on him, with the United man responding with a little clip. Very little in it and referee Bobby Madley right to just give them both a talking to.

34 min Half-time cannot come soon enough for Conte at this rate, whose side looks more akin to the Blues outfit that struggled for results back in the earlier stages of the season. Rojo and Costa at it again, with both falling to the ground.

32 min YELLOW CARD! A late challenge on Pogba sees Costa become the first Chelsea player to be cautioned. The Blues seeing more of the ball in the last few moments but still yet to put an attacking move together.

30 min SHOT! Young is picked out in space but can only drag his shot wide. The Blues are all over the place at the back with 30 minutes on the clock, which is either down to the late change in personnel or United's tactics - probably both.

28 min Just waiting for Chelsea to spring into life at the moment. They spring a rare counter than culminates in the ball being lost on the edge of the box, in turn seeing United then burst forward in numbers themselves.

26 min Fellaini given a talking to by the referee after taking Luiz out of the game. The flow of this game has shown no signs of changing; United pretty much dominating possession and looking lively in the attacking third.

24 min Opener goalscorer Rashford with a decent delivery into the box after drifting out to the right-hand flank. Begovic could only get a hand to the ball, but thankfully for him it did not fall to the feet of a home player.

22 min A quarter of the match now played at Old Trafford and it is still United in the ascendancy. The goal came at a good time for them, giving that three-man forward line some added confidence to get at their direct opponents.

20 min Conte's men have not got going at all so far, even with some sloppy passes from their opponents into midfield. The gamble to go with Rashford, Young and Lingard in attack from Mourinho paying off well at the moment.

18 min CLOSE! Rashford and Lingard link up on the edge of the box, with the latter then playing in Young down the left. The winger went for one of those shot-cross attempts, sending the ball inches wide of the post.

17 min Chelsea showing signs of growing into the match a little more over the past few minutes. Costa did well to hold off Bailly and then fell over, but somehow conned Bobby Madley into awarding a free kick.

15 min Things threatening to boil over for the first time today, and there is little surprise to see Costa the man at the centre of it. Costa fails to get to a high ball and decides to shove over Bailly, who was unhappy with the excessive contact.

13 min Chelsea not dealing with that injection of pace up top very well at all. Rashford looking to peel off Cahill and Luiz at every chance, much like with that opener when springing on to a fine Herrera through-ball.

11 min Big challenge from Cahill to prevent Rashford from getting in behind for a second time. The England forward has now scored in back-to-back league games for the first time since September 2016 - a return to his form of last term's breakthrough.

9 min Rashford was handed a rare start through the middle this afternoon, and he has rewarded his manager with United's earliest Premier League goal of the season. A contentious one, though, as a handball in midfield started the attack, which ended with Rashford played through and superbly tucking past Begovic.


7 min The first half-chance of the afternoon falls the way of Rashford, who snatches at his attempted shot. Good harrying from both him and Lingard in attack to create the opening, which he should have been testing Begovic from.

5 min The visitors happy to take a more defensive approach in these early stages, which will no doubt please Mourinho. The Portuguese has put his former side's likely title success down to being the 'best defensive team' in the division.

3 min Chelsea looking to put together the first serious attacking move of the match as Hazard finds some space, but his attempted pass is well cut out by Fellaini 40 yards from goal. The hosts now knocking the ball around in defence and midfield.

1 min KICKOFF! We are up and running at Old Trafford in this standout fixture of match week 33 in the Premier League. As predicted, Azpilicueta has been shifted to the left flank to accommodate the late introduction of Zouma in central defence.

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