With the 2 teams that were picked by both managers, it came as no surprise that Chelsea have been by far the more superior side in the 1st half and they came close on a number of occasions but poor finishing and decision making let them down too many times.
Joe Cole, who has been very poor recently, was accorded a big chance but he initially messed it up but was afforded another opportunity by poor defending and he hit the bar with his effort.
Just as the game seemed to be heading for a goalless 1st half, Didier Drogba was able to shake off his markers and put in a great cross that was met quite superbly by Michael Ballack as the Chelsea players celebrated by holding up a jersey with Frank Lampard’s mother, Pat, who died on Thursday.
In the 2nd half United played better and got their equalizer when Ricardo Carvalho played the ball blind to Wayne Rooney, who went across John Terry and placed the ball immaculately past Petr Cech.
In incredible show of petulance and bad team spirit Michael Ballack and Didier Drogba on who should take a free kick and it continued for a minute. Amazing!
In the dying minutes of the 2nd half Michael Carrick gave away a penalty for Michael Ballack to smash into the right corner sending Edwin Van Der Saar the wrong way.
United tried to equalize but Andriy Shevchenko and Ashley Cole cleared off the line as Chelsea held on for a very good victory.
I had said it that United have been playing badly for a long time and this match just bore me out as they were average again today. It is not that easy for them to keep possession as they do not have the kind of players that can hold on to the ball and keep it for a period of time.
They tend to play best when they are playing at 100mph and like Ferguson likes to say its itchy bottom time.
Petr Cech 6 He made a number of decent saves as he helped to preserve their amazing unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge.
Paolo Ferreira 5.5 He was not his usual poor self but he was partly to blame for the equalizer as he could have taken his time playing the free kick but he played it in a hurry to Carvalho.
Ashley Cole 6 He was better in defense than he was going forward but his save on the line against Ronaldo was crucial. If only he could stop acting like a kid whenever a decision goes against him.
Ricardo Carvalho 6 He was imperious again in defense and would have got ha higher grade if not for his gaffe for Rooney’s equalizer.
John Terry 6.5 He led by example and nullified most of what United tried to throw at his side. For once he acted like a peacemaker not like a spoilt brat unlike some of the players on the pitch.
Mikel Obi 6 He was steady and had a very effective game in both defense and offense as his passing was crispier than normal.
Michael Ballack 7 He was the man of the match with his 2 goals as well as his all round play that was exemplary. His only black mark was his spat with Drogba as to who should take a free kick.
Michael Essien 6.5 He was the best player in the 1st half but when switched to right back, his influence waned a bit but it was his cross that led to the penalty.
Joe Cole 5 He was very poor again as he flitted in and out of the game with not much contribution of the positive kind.
Salomon Kalou 5 He did some good things that caught the eye but his final ball and lack of awareness counted against him as he runs with the ball very well but his final ball always seems to be very poor.
Didier Drogba 5.5 He did not have a bad game it is just his behavior that gets on almost everyone’s nerves. He set up the 1st goal and then drifted out of the game but then came to life towards the end.
Nicholas Anelka 4.5 He did not do anything when brought on and hopefully he would improve as a Chelsea player because as yet he is a big money flop.
Andriy Shevchenko 6 His line saving stop against Fletcher is what earned him this mark.
Claude Makele He was not on long enough to be graded.
Avram Grant 6.5 Fair play to him for his choice of players and hopefully he would be able to get to the Champions league final. He did not really make any decisions to change the game but his starting 11 deserved to win.
Edwin Van Der Saar 5.5 His kicking is becoming atrocious and his indecisions are becoming a worry.
Wes Brown 5.5 He did not look as steady as he did at the Nou Camp as he made a number of mistakes at the back.
Mikael Silvestre 5.5 He did not come forward to any effect and was not that secure at the back either.
Nemanja Vidic He was not on the field long enough to be graded.
Rio Ferdinand 6.5 He would have earned my man of the match if not for the fact that his team lost and more crucially his bratty behavior. In the week that Fabio Capello was talking about how responsibly a captain should act, it must have disappointed and disgusted him the way Ferdinand behaved.
Anderson 6 He brought energy to United’s midfield and had a decent enough game.
Michael Carrick 4.5 He was very poor as he was at the Nou camp with the crowning glory being his stupid decision to handle at such a crucial time.
Darren Fletcher 6 He is not the most gifted of players but he gives a lot to his side and he did so today.
Nani 4 He was far and away the worst player on the pitch. He is maddening to play with and to watch as he makes the most awful of decisions. Almost everything he did today was wrong.
Wayne Rooney 5.5 He took his goal well but apart from that it was apparent that he is not fit and went off with a hip injury that has been bothering him for a while now
Ryan Giggs 5 It seems that 1 of the best players to have played for United is coming to the end of his career as he contributed very little to this game.
Owen Hargreaves 5.5 He was not great but he was not bad either with his usual high energy style of play.
Cristiano Ronaldo 5.5 He almost equalized for United but he would have been very disappointed to have started this game on the bench.
John O’shea He was not on the ball long enough to be graded.
Alex Ferguson 3 It was a completely inane decision to start with the team he started with and it might come back to hunt him big time if Barcelona put his side out in the champions league and Chelsea go on to win the league.