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Premier League Match Report & Player Ratings | Manchester United guarantee Champions League football after 4-1 thrashing of Chelsea

Goals from Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, and Marcus Rashford helped Erik ten Hag collect a guaranteed top-four place and passage into Europe’s top club competition in 2023-24

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Match Report

Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United produced one of the results of the season for the English giants after the Red Devils utterly ran through a hapless Chelsea in a dominant 4-1 win at Old Trafford.

On a night where the immediate European future of the club was at stake, United only needed a single point to fend off Jürgen Klopp’s charging Reds, but a huge home win made it all the sweeter after guaranteeing the club held off Liverpool’s late challenge for a top four place.

The Blues so nearly got off to a flyer at Ols Trafford inside five minutes after Lewis Hall was put into space down the left channel by Kai Havertz before spotting a lung-busting run by Mykhailo Mudryk, but the struggling Ukrainian could only scuff his effort well wide of David De Gea’s goal when he otherwise should be expected to at least test the United keeper.

That miss would immediately come back to bite them less than a minute later when Casemiro headed home for the Red Devils after a fantastic set-piece delivery from Christian Eriksen which saw the Brazilian veteran out-leap Wesley Fofana to give the home side an early 1-0 lead.

Chelsea was once again presented with yet another chance before the ten-minute mark, once again with a blues player clear inside 12-yards to tap home, but this time it was Conor Gallagher who could have turned goalscorer if only the ball across goal from Havertz was on the mark. Still, Chelsea had easily broken the United press twice early on, which could have been a sign of things to come.

An unfortunate moment for Erik ten Hag came about in the 26th minute when Antony was brought down under a challenge and immediately called for medical attention, which ultimately saw the young forward stretchered off in front of home support and replaced by Marcus Rashford. That means he will likely be unable to feature in the FA Cup final.

Chelsea again nearly barred down the door to climb level after Enzo Fernández delightfully slipped Gallagher through on goal with a line-splitting pass, but the England man could only rash his effort low and wide of De Gea’s far post, but it was another passage of play that offered evidence that maybe the Blues could get something tonight.

But it would be United to pop up again despite being under considerable pressure when Anthony Martial tapped home from inside 6-yards to double the advantage on the night thanks to a bit of service from Jadon Sancho who had beaten the offside trap and gotten on the end of Casemiro’s chipped ball over the Chelsea back line.

It would mean that United would hold off Liverpool’s late surge and secure Champions League football for next season amid some frustrations surrounding the club’s inability to challenge for the title, as well as questions regarding just who will be the next owner of the storied English giant.

The first ten minutes after the restart were as lively as the opening forty-five before it, with United coming close to making it 3-0 on a number of occasions, which included a long-range hit from Casemiro that sailed just wide of the mark.

The home side did make it three to the good in the 72nd minute after Fernandes was brought down in the box by Wesley Fofana, who could hardly complain at the decision before the Portuguese star dispatched his effort from the spot to put the result to bed.

United was not done during an emphatic performance at the Theatre of Dreams, with Fofana cheaply giving possession away inside his own penalty box before Rashford danced around Kepa to slide home to give the Red Devils a massive 4-0 lead.

Chelsea did find consolation on the night through second-half substitute João Félix after picking up the ball at the halfway line before driving forward into the final third and dispatching his effort past De Gea to score only the fifth goal for an away side at the storied ground since September.

In the end, Manchester United put on a display that will no doubt come across as a sign of things to come next season as Erik ten Hag continues to sink his teeth into the club, but for Chelsea, in what was another hopeless outing, many remain wondering what is to come next regarding their managerial hunt and how to arrest what has been the club’s worst-ever Premier League campaign.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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