Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: Morata's header makes it another unhappy return for Mourinho's men

A single goal from Álvaro Morata was the difference in the Premier League title clash between Chelsea and Manchester United.

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: Morata's header makes it another unhappy return for Mourinho's men
Above: Álvaro Morata celebrating his goal in the 1-0 win over Manchester United | Photo: Getty Images/Darren Walsh - Chelsea FC
CHELSEA
1 0
MANCHESTER UNITED
CHELSEA : COURTOIS, AZPILICUETA, CHRISTENSEN, CAHILL, KANTE, ZAPPACOSTA (RUDIGER, MIN. 66), FABREGAS (DRINKWATER, MIN. 79), BAKAYOKO, ALONSO, MORATA, HAZARD (WILLIAN, MIN. 87)
MANCHESTER UNITED: DE GEA, BAILLY, SMALLING, JONES (FELLAINI, MIN. 62), VALENCIA, HERRERA, MATIC, YOUNG (LINGARD, MIN. 78), MKHITARYAN (MARTIAL, MIN. 62), LUKAKU, RASHFORD
SCORE: 1-0, MIN. 55, MORATA
REFEREE: ANTHONY TAYLOR BOOKED BAKAYOKO (MIN. 20) JONES (MIN. 49) HERRERA (MIN. 51) FELLAINI (MIN. 71)

It was another unhappy return to Stamford Bridge for Manchester United manager José Mourinho, as a single goal from Álvaro Morata saw the Red Devils defeated 1-0 by Premier League title rivals Chelsea. 

The first 45 minutes brought nothing but end-to-end entertainment with excellent chances for both sides, starting with Morata's disallowed goal followed by opportunities for; Marcus Rashford, Tiémoué Bakayoko, Romelu Lukaku, Davide Zappacosta and Andreas Christensen but despite that the scoreline remained untouched. 

Antonio Conte's side picked up the momentum at the beginning of the second period with a good chance for Eden Hazard before Morata opened the scoring in the 55th minute, United's frustration began to show as the half went with numerous chances for substitute Marouane Fellaini but the Belgian could do nothing to prevent another defeat at Mourinho's old stomping ground. 

 

Providing an invigorating back and forth 

Mourinho will have headed back to Stamford Bridge wanting to get one over his former employers, that was only intensified by keeping up on Manchester City who recorded a 3-1 win over Arsenal earlier in the afternoon but were met by a Chelsea side looking to get back on track after their defeat in Rome midweek and it produced a very entertaining 45 minutes. 

It would only take seven minutes for the ball to end up the back of the net, as Morata forced defender Phil Jones to put the ball beyond David De Gea but referee Anthony Taylor waved up for a foul from the Spaniard. 

United went down the other end almost instantaneously and had their own excellent chance, Ashley Young hit a looping cross into the area which found the head of Rashford but the youngster could only guide it onto the roof of the net. 

Bakayoko had started life at Chelsea well since his summer move from AS Monaco, and the 23-year-old had two great chances in quick succession to give his side the advantage. The first arrived from Zappacosta's cross into the danger zone, Bakayoko did well with his technique to hit the effort with the goal gaping but he sliced wide of the mark. 

He had another crack it as he ran at the United defence who seemed to be inviting a shot from the Frenchman, he took them up on their invitation but his bobbling effort just went inches wide of the mark. 

Despite been under the quash slightly United nearly found themselves ahead, Lukaku was also looking to impress against his former side as he picked up the ball on the edge of the area and the Belgian did well to spin and release the shot which forced Thibaut Courtois to get down to his left. 

Much to the nature of the clash thus far Chelsea went straight up the other end of the pitch and had another good opportunity, Hazard's fierce effort could only force De Gea to parry into the air and Zappacosta was waiting to bundle it home but it was only into the side-netting. 

The chances died down from there on in but with five minutes to play until the break as Conte's side wasted another excellent opportunity, Cesc Fàbregas' corner was whipped in well as Christensen rose highest but he managed to put his header over from the crossbar from six yards. 

 

Finally breaking the deadlock 

Conte's carried on where they left off in the first period as they looked to add some end product to their opportunities, Hazard looked to make that difference as he peeled away from his marker in the 54th minute but his effort was straight at De Gea. 

The goal for The Blues seemed inevitable at any point and it would only be a minute after Hazard's wasted opportunity that they would find themselves ahead, it was a deep cross from César Azpilicueta which found the head of Morata and it didn't look like the summer signing hadn't scored since September as he looped the header beyond De Gea. 

 

Trying to take something away from the capital 

Chances were proving to be few and far between for United as frustrations among the Mourinho camp began to increase as the seconds ticked down, the manager decided to go route one with the introduction of Fellaini and the Belgian proved influential for both sides in the final moments. 

He bullied his way through the Chelsea defence in the 68th minute as he powered down on Courtois' goal, he laid it off to Rashford but his effort was deflected behind with the resulting corner coming to nothing. 

Fellaini nearly gifted a second to the home side in the 75th minute as he was caught in possession by Bakayoko, he streaked through on goal with De Gea to beat but fired wide at the near post. 

​Things were beginning to grow desperate as the clash entered the final five minutes, Anthony Martial managed to scampered clear in the area before playing it through to Rashford but the youngster's cross just missed Fellaini at the back post. 

Fellaini had the last bite of the apple for United to try and take a point back to the North West, he did well to bring the ball down on his chest but Courtois was on hand again to save down low to his right-hand side.