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Eden Hazard goal against Man United drives Chelsea closer to title

By The Rainbow
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Premier League, Stamford Bridge – Chelsea 1 (Oscar 38') Manchester United 0

Eden Hazard gave Chelsea a 1-0 victory over Manchester United, and probably the Premier League title.

United dominated in possession and territory for much of the first half but created almost nothing with it. Chelsea were happy to stand off their opponents, and Kurt Zouma's marking job on Marouane Fellaini meant that Manchester United were not able to open up sides down the left or with the high ball like they had most of their recent rivals.

Wayne Rooney went closest for United early on when he clipped a shot just wide of the near post when he had time to do better, but it was Chelsea who scored the only goal of the half. Chris Smalling fired in a pass to Radamel Falcao who was tackled firmly by John Terry. The ball was swiftly worked to Hazard down the left of the box and he finished calmly past David de Gea.

In the second half, chances were again at a premium as Chelsea sat back and United struggled to create, but the hosts almost doubled their lead when Hazard hit the bar, and Falcao sliced a shot high.

Ander Herrera tried to win a penalty with a dive in the last few seconds, but was rightly turned down.

4' – ROONEY MISS – Young releases Shaw behind Ivanovic. He gets to the byline, pulls it back for Rooney, and he curls a left-footed shot wide of goal. What a miss!

35' – DE GEA HANDBALL – Young whips in a cross from a deep set piece, and doesn't beat his first man. De Gea comes out to get a high ball as Chelsea break from deep, and he uses his wrist to clear the ball outside the box. It should at least be a yellow, but nothing is given.

38' – GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United. Hazard scores – Terry tackles Falcao, and the striker loses the ball. Fabregas comes forward, finds Oscar who reverses a pass into Hazard's path, and he slides in a shot past De Gea.

45+1' – COURTOIS SAVE – Rooney flicks a pass round the corner for Falcao, and his shot is swept away by Courtois for a corner.

54' – HAZARD HITS THE BAR – Herrera's loose pass is intercepted by Fabregas, who releases Drogba down the right. He strides into the box, and his shot deflects off Smalling, over De Gea, and Hazard chases in and shins a shot against the bar from a very tight angle.

61' – COURTOIS SAVE – McNair has a strike from distance that is so well hit that Courtois can only block it away despite it being straight at him.

77' – FALCAO HITS THE WOODWORK – Falcao spins Zouma, sizes up a cross, and hits the top corner of the woodwork.

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 13 Barclays Premier League home games against Manchester United (W8 D4 L1).

Manchester United have suffered more Premier League defeats against Chelsea than versus any other side (16).

Chelsea's last home defeat in the Premier League came almost exactly one year ago (April 19, 2014 vs Sunderland).

Talk of Manchester United's first-half domination is a nonsense. Television pundits and others were praising United for their early performance, by dominating possession, and were almost wilfully missing the salient facts. Chelsea were happy to sit deep, they nullified Marouane Fellaini throughout, and restricted their chances to almost nothing compared to previous matches. When the chances presented themselves to Chelsea, they were ruthless compared to their opponents and fully deserved their victory.

Kurt Zouma (Chelsea): Obviously Hazard was vital in the victory, because he scored the goal, but Zouma's marking job on Fellaini destroyed United's usual attacking threat. With Michael Carrick already injured, and Wayne Rooney not playing in attack, Fellaini being reduced to a bystander meant United could not bully their way past Chelsea's defence, and nor could their attacking down the left flourish as usual.

Chelsea: Courtois 7, Ivanovic 6, Cahill 6, Terry 6, Azpilicueta 6, Zouma 7, Matic 6, Oscar 6, Fabregas 6, Hazard 7, Drogba 6. Subs: Mikel 6, Ramires 6, Willian 6.

Manchester United: De Gea 6, Valencia 6, Smalling 6, McNair 6, Shaw 7, Mata 6, Rooney 6, Herrera 6, Young 6, Fellaini 5, Falcao 6. Subs: Blackett 6, Di Maria 6, Januzaj 5.

Eurosport – 4/18/15, 5:04 PM
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