Man United vs Chelsea : McTominay double delivers big win for Ten Hag
Scott McTominay scored twice as Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-1 on Wednesday to ease the pressure on manager Erik ten Hag and put Mauricio Pochettino under the spotlight.
Ten Hag got the reaction he wanted following a horrible performance in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Newcastle, as United produced perhaps their greatest performance of the season.
United moves up to sixth place in the league, three points behind champions Manchester City in fourth.
Chelsea remains tenth despite spending over £1 billion ($1.26 billion) on new players in three transfer windows.
Pochettino’s appointment was supposed to usher in a swift turnaround in fortunes, but the Argentine has only won five of his first 15 league games in charge.
Ten Hag has come under growing scrutiny following allegations of discontent in the locker room.
But, among four changes, dropping Marcus Rashford to the bench paid rewards, as the Dutchman was rewarded with a considerably more energetic and enterprising performance.
Chelsea drew level at halftime thanks to goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.
United had 18 shots on goal before halftime, the most in a half in the Premier League in 20 years, but only one goal to show for it.
A VAR intervention to award a penalty after Enzo Fernandez stepped on Antony’s foot provided the home team with a golden opportunity to open the scoring.
But Sanchez deflected Bruno Fernandes’ penalty kick to his right, and Alejandro Garnacho fired the rebound beyond.
United’s willingness to pour forward was also creating opportunities for Chelsea to counter-attack.
Mykhailo Mudryk hit the outside of the post, and the Ukrainian should have put Raheem Sterling through on goal if it hadn’t been for a terrible pass that snuffed out another promising burst.
Sanchez was called upon once more to save a thunderous effort from Garnacho, while Antony’s search to end a 24-match goal drought continued as he blasted tamely into the arms of the Spanish international.
On 19 minutes, McTominay stroked in his fifth goal of the season to become United’s top scorer in the Premier League, breaking Chelsea and Sanchez’s resistance.
The Scottish midfielder should have had a second goal moments later, but Sanchez stopped both his header and follow-up effort superbly.
Chelsea equalized before halftime, making the hosts pay.
Cole Palmer was allowed to jink his way around the outside of the box before slotting into the far corner, out of reach of Andre Onana.
Chelsea could have turned the game around early in the second half if Nicolas Jackson hadn’t squandered a great opportunity by heading over unmarked from a corner at the back post.
United, on the other hand, were immediately back on top.
Garnacho cursed his luck as a curling attempt drifted inches wide.
The Argentine did, however, have a hand in the game-winning goal, as his cross was blasted in by McTominay’s header 21 minutes from time.
McTominay should have had a hat-trick after swerving dreadfully wide with only Sanchez to beat.
United’s carelessness allowed Chelsea to nick a late point when Armando Broja headed against the crossbar.
However, that would have been more than the Blues deserved as Pochettino battles to mold Chelsea’s plethora of young talent into a cohesive one.