Soccer

Cesc Fàbregas keeps calm amid the chaos to steer Chelsea towards a worthy win | Barney Ronay

Aided by the return of N’Golo Kanté, the Spaniard stood out by doing what Manchester United could not: pass the ball with maturity, patience and craft

And then there was one. With just over an hour gone at Stamford Bridge and Manchester United trailing 1-0 thanks to Álvaro Morata’s sublime second‑half header – reward for a more purposeful Chelsea performance – José Mourinho leapt up out of his seat for perhaps the 30th time, quilted grey anorak billowing behind him, and waved his arms in a gesture of trapped rage.

Mourinho’s exasperation was directed at Marouane Fellaini, who was standing too deep inside his own half to get a flick on to a David de Gea clearance. Fellaini rumbled a little mournfully into position. Two minutes later he was booked for tailing an elbow into Morata’s face. Five minutes after that he was robbed, horribly, by Tiémoué Bakayoko, who shot just wide. In the final moments of the game, as United roused for a late grandstand attack, like a rusted trawler being hoisted from the ocean floor, Fellaini trapped an Eric Bailly punt on his velcro chest, brought it down with a roll of the shoulders and punted a bobbling shot that Thibaut Courtois palmed away. It was United’s second and last shot on target. Three minutes later Antonio Conte could be seen in capering along the touchline as Anthony Taylor blew his whistle.

Continue reading…

Leave a Reply