- Drawing at Stamford Bridge
- Ticket Prices
- Quarterly Revenues Up
Diego Costa made sure that United’s winning ‘run’ doesn’t continue with his equaliser in injury time. We had been riding on the back of two good victories from the previous week, and though we knew that playing at Stamford Bridge was never easy, we were more optimistic than we had been on other visits to London as Chelsea were in the same murky waters that we were when it came to the Premier League.
Things had been so good against Stoke that Louis van Gaal didn’t see any need for changes and started the same eleven that he had a week earlier. Once again, many seemed unhappy with Fellaini being on the pitch, but as long as he does exactly what’s required of him by the manager, he’ll keep starting games and doing what is asked of him.
Though United were by far the better side earlier on, they had nothing to show for it as they didn’t make the most of the chances they created. It was nice to see the players go for it though, even at such a difficult ground, and we were mostly satisfied when the game was still goalless at half-time.
In the second half United were still on top of proceedings, and soon after Chelsea lost Kurt Zouma to a serious injury, Jesse Lingard showed some deft control before spinning and scoring a beauty to make it 1-0 to The Red Devils. Unfortunately they then set deeper and invited Chelsea to get back into the game, especially after Schneiderlin came on to replace Fellaini with ten minutes to go. When Memphis came on with just three minutes to go to probably waste more time, it blew back into United’s faces as a silly loss of possession by him started a sequence of errors that led to Chelsea’s late goal. Memphis passed the ball to Courtouis instead of a team-mate. At this point, Carrick was in the centre-circle urging him and Schneiderlin back to help. Blind didn’t cover himself in glory either as he was unsure on what to do then slipped when he decided. Borthwick-Jackson, who up until then had had another marvelous game, slid in to try and take the ball when it came to Costa, but instead helped it along to make it an easy tap-in for the Chelsea striker to make sure his team remain undefeated since Guus Hiddink took over and make it feel like two dropped points for United.
Cue wild celebrations by the Chelsea players and fans, similar to the ones that we were laughed at when Robin van Persie did the same against Chelsea at Old Trafford to make it 1-1 in 2013. I bet they felt like they had won the World Cup as we did back then.
On the whole, this had been another good performance by United, especially youngsters Borthwick-Jackson, Martial and our goalkeeper David de Gea. If it wasn’t for those mistakes that lead to the late equaliser (what if Fellaini was still on the pitch, would United have kept the ball better at that point?), we’d be here talking about how well things have been getting lately, but instead are bemoaning the fact that we’re farther behind the top four than when the day had started.
In other games in the league, leaders Leicester thumped City 3-1 to open a gap of five points at the top while pushing Pellegrini’s side down to fourth; Tottenham beat Watford 1-0 to stay second; Arsenal got back to winning ways as they won 2-0 at Bournemouth to go third; A Klopp-less L’pool threw a two goal lead away at home to Sunderland after 10,000 fans walked out in a protest over ticket prices to draw 2-2; Southampton beat West Ham 1-0 to climb up over L’pool into seventh place; Everton won 3-0 at Stoke; Pardew’s Palace got their first point in 2016 as they drew 1-1 at Swansea; Newcastle beat West Brom 1-0 to climb out of the bottom three; and bottom club Aston Villa gave themselves a glimmer of hope as they won 2-0 at home to Norwich.
The main headlines from those games were made by the L’pool fans who were protesting at the greed of the club’s owners as ticket prices were being bumped up from next season. This is something all football club fans should be doing as it’s becoming ridiculous that they have to pay through their noses at a time when clubs are making so much money trough TV revenues. Thankfully FSG have seen sense and have now frozen prices for the next two seasons, making this a small but important victory for those fans that walked out even though they wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing it.
Considering that from next season whichever club finishes BOTTOM will still get around £100million from the new TV deal alone, it’s about time that Premier League clubs stop fleecing match-going fans. We United fans should know as we’re required to purchase tickets for cup games even if we can’t go. Of course we can opt out of the scheme, but those that do won’t be able to apply for Cup Final tickets if United do get to a cup final (which seems rarer than prices actually going down at present).
Off the pitch, United have just announced quarterly commercial revenues of £66million, up 42.5%. Even if the club’s debt has gone up by 6% to £322m, this shows why Ed Woodward is so well liked by the Glazers. Why worry about the stagnation on the field when the money is still rolling in?
United now go back to playing two games weekly for a while as European football is back. On Saturday they travel to Sunderland (12:45pm UK time), and then head to Denmark as they play against Midtjylland in the Europa League on Thursday (6pm UK time). We will be hoping that the team comes back to Manchester with a couple more wins under their belts… COME ON UNITED!!!