Chelsea v Manchester United: Classic Games No 1 - De Gea denies Chelsea victory in six-goal thriller
All week we have been delving back into the archives for classic games between Chelsea and Manchester United as they prepare for their crunch meeting this Sunday, but today we crown the greatest clash at Stamford Bridge between the two sides.
And we don't need to go too far back in time to remember it.
The greatest meeting between Chelsea and Manchester United in the Premier League came just last season as Manchester United fought back from three down to rescue a point against all the odds, but needed David De Gea to save them in the dying minutes.
Manchester United entered the game two points behind leaders Manchester City and could have gone level with their noisy neighbours with a victory at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately Chelsea, who were 12 points behind Fergie's men didn't read the script.
Chelsea opened the scoring after the 30 minute mark as Daniel Sturridge got to the byline and smashed the ball across goal which was bundled in by the unfortunate Johnny Evans. The Blues, still managed at this stage by Andre Villas-Boas, went in at the break one up and instantly doubled their lead seconds after the restart. Fernando Torres swung in a glorious ball to the back post which was smashed into the back of the net by the man of the moment Juan Mata.
And when Sir Alex thought things couldn't get any worse, moments later the Red Devils were three down as David Luiz headed home from 10 yards. On closer inspection the final touch actually came off Rio Ferdinand, but the Chelsea fans didn't care. They were three up against Manchester United.
However, Manchester United are famed for their ability to come back from the brink of despair and they were given a huge helping hand when Howard Webb pointed to the spot when Sturridge was adjudged to have fouled Evra. Wayne Rooney stepped up and gave Petr Cech no chance.
United were then awarded another penalty when Ivanovic was ruled to have brought down Danny Welbeck in the box. Replays showed that the England international was touched but it looked as though he kicked the Chelsea defender, not the other way round. It didn't matter though as the ref had given it and Rooney was anxiously waiting to test his wits against Petr Cech. Rooney sent the keeper the wrong way again to give United a real lifeline.
With both teams going for it, it was Manchester United who sent their fans into raptures. Wayne Rooney got the ball on the edge of the area. He turned and struck a fierce shot straight at Cech. The Czech keeper could only parry the ball out to his right. Ryan Giggs was the first on the scene. He had time to wait for the right chance. Chicharito ghosted into the box and Giggs found him with a glorious ball that gave Cech and the Chelsea defence no chance. All the little Mexican had to do was connect with the ball and the comeback was secured.
Chelsea were understandably shell-shocked and pundits asked why AVB didn't just shut up shop after 50 minutes. However, they could have snatched it right at the death. David De Gea, who had been heavily criticised following his big money move from Spain, came to United's rescue as Juan Mata stepped over a free-kick. The ball was arrowing right into the top corner but De Gea managed to get a hand to it to turn the ball around the post. One of the saves of the season.
The game had everything. Passion, drama, excitement, controversy, great goals, skill and great saves.
United went on to lose the league on goal difference. Chelsea meanwhile sacked AVB and went on to win the FA Cup and Champions League under Roberto Di Matteo.
Will the two sides produce another classic on Sunday? Let's hope so.
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