Manchester United claimed one of their most important victories of the season, a 2-1 win over Chelsea that was as much a statement of intent as it was three points. They came from behind after a sluggish first half, and finished in the style befitting Jose Mourinho’s better teams. There is plenty of life in this side yet.
Romelu Lukaku scored a fine goal and provided the winner. Scott McTominay grew vastly in confidence in the second half. And Jesse Lingard was once again decisive in a big match.
Alexis Sanchez seemed to struggle for good positioning. Paul Pogba flickered in and out of life, never consistently effective. Chris Smalling lost his man an alarming amount, and David De Gea had a rare off day.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Mourinho deserves plenty of credit for leading his team’s comeback, making the change that led to the winner — Lingard replacing Anthony Martial — and showing faith in McTominay despite a difficult start.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David De Gea, 5 — The rarest of off days for United’s maestro, who was beaten at his near post for Chelsea’s goal and fumbled the ball twice more in dangerous situations.
DF Ashley Young, 6 — Hard working in defence against a vigorous Victor Moses but offered very little going forward.
DF Victor Lindelof, 7 — Organised the defence as best he could, getting across to cover well whenever possible.
DF Chris Smalling, 5 — Lacked concentration and positional soundness for much of the game, and his passing was too conservative.
DF Antonio Valencia, 6 — Like Young, was diligent at the back but not nearly creative enough in the final third.
MF Nemanja Matic, 7 — Found his feet after some loose early passing and gradually won the midfield arm-wrestle. In control by the end.
MF Scott McTominay, 7 — Started very poorly, losing Willian on the counterattack for Chelsea’s goal, but grew in confidence throughout, venturing into the final third much more and creating the winner from deep.
MF Paul Pogba, 6 — Never truly found his rhythm, a poor header allowing Chelsea to break for their opener. Showed moments of brilliance but did not dictate the play as he did in the same fixture last season.
FW Alexis Sanchez, 6 — Struggled to get into the game, not linking up consistently with his fellow forwards. Worked hard but to little effect.
FW Anthony Martial, 7 — Lively from the off, beating men with ease. His end product was lacking to start with, but he found his way, and his assist for Lukaku’s goal was excellent.
FW Romelu Lukaku, 9 — Arguably United’s best player, with another very strong showing. Hard work and intelligent movement throughout. Scored the first with a composed finish, almost scored with a spectacular mid-air volley, and laid on the winner for Lingard with some vintage wing play, a bewildering dribble and precise cross.
FW Jesse Lingard, 8 — The main man again. Fine movement and header for United’s winner, and great defensive intensity when out of possession.
DF Eric Bailly, NA — Came on to shore up the back line, and helped United to close out the game.
Musa Okwonga is one of ESPN FC’s Manchester United bloggers. Follow on Twitter: @Okwonga.