By Mark Weasley
It was a year ago this month that Chelsea beat Manchester United 4-0 away at Stamford Bridge that heralded a shift in power on the managerial landscape at Stamford Bridge. The Red Devils were second best as Chelsea decisioned us, and the defeat was made much worse when Jose Mourinho remonstrated with his opposite number, Antonio Conte about the manner in which the Italian celebrated the 4th goal scored by Kante, insisting it was “humiliating” to do.
Blues and United are now on different pedestals now, as Chelsea are now playing catch up to both Manchester clubs, sitting fourth on the league table and looking nowhere close to The Red Devils. United have made a blistering start to the league season, scoring countless goals and offering defensive solidity Mourinho teams are known for but in somewhat remarkable terms, the foundation for United’s success has been fuelled by Chelsea.
The likes of Mourinho, Matic, Mata and Lukaku have all proved integral to United sitting joint top at the summit of the table. All four men have links with Chelsea and just few at Stamford Bridge will not grimace as they see the quartet impress week in week out for their bitter rivals. Mata remains a fan favourite at Chelsea given his exploits in 2 years before Jose came on board but it is the same Spaniard Mourinho counts as one of the first players on the teamsheet for United.
Most Chelsea fans were incensed with the manner in which Nemanja Matic was sold to United. A capable player in the title-winning season last term, the Serbian was shipped off to United in a stunning £45m that felt like The Blues making a profit on a player who was outshone in midfield by N’Golo Kante who had been bought from Leicester the previous year.
As it stands, Matic has had a more massive impact at The Theatre of Dreams than Bakayoko who was signed to replace him, shoring up the middle of the park and giving his fellow midfielders the license to go further forward, none less so than Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, the pair who have benefited from this immovable presence in the centre.
Lukaku was shipped off by Jose at Chelsea as he felt the then young striker couldn’t shoulder the responsibility of leading the line for a big club. Four years on, they are reunited at United, with the 24-year-old Belgian currently top of the queue on the goalscorers chart in the Premier League with 7 strikes. Everything that seems to be United’s strength is a minus for Chelsea, who are showing nowhere near the form they showed enroute winning the league in devastating fashion last season.
Mourinho is on a personal vendetta to wrestle the title form Chelsea and stop his rival, Pep Guardiola of Manchester City from getting that recognition he craves badly by winning the Premier League title. The tables have turned in just a year and the Blues are the architect of their own misfortune. Not that we care anyway. It’s all business.