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Chelsea 4-3 Manchester United: Player ratings as late meltdown leaves Red Devils’ UCL hopes in tatters

Manchester United left Stamford Bridge pointless as Chelsea performed a late comeback to claim a 4-3 victory in a breathless encounter in London. 

After a last-minute heartbreak at Brentford on Saturday, the last thing United needed was a poor start. However, Conor Gallagher’s fourth-minute opener gave Erik ten Hag’s side a mountain to climb.

When Antony’s reckless challenge inside the box resulted in a penalty in the 19th minute, it seemed like Chelsea had Man Utd on the ropes. 

Cole Palmer was clinical from the spot, doubling the home team’s lead amidst one of United’s weakest spells in the second half of the season. 

But the visitors refused to give up, even though they found clear-cut chances at a premium across the opening half an hour. 

United needed a boost, and Moises Caicedo provided one. Antony’s wayward first touch bounced straight to the Ecuadorian’s feet, but his sloppy back pass for Benoit Badiashile turned into an assist. 

Alejandro Garnacho sniffed around, anticipating a mistake, as he intercepted the ball and broke one-on-one with Djordje Petrovic before slotting a low finish past the Serbian goalkeeper. 

It took Man Utd only five minutes to restore parity. Diogo Dalot whipped in a delightful cross to the back post from the left flank, with Bruno Fernandes picking out a bottom far corner with a close-range free header.

Ten Hag’s side nearly undid their impressive comeback on the stroke of half-time when Gallagher found the gap between Harry Maguire and Dalot, only to see his thunderous effort rattle off the near post. 

Even though United hauled back a two-goal deficit to enter the break all square, a point wasn’t enough to keep the Red Devils’ Champions League aspirations alive.

With that in mind, they came flying out of the traps at the start of the second half as Maguire spurned a decent opportunity to turn the game on its head only three minutes after half-time. 

Following a near-anonymous performance, Rasmus Hojlund left the field for Marcus Rashford. United completed an outstanding turnaround only three minutes after the Englishman’s introduction.

Antony sent a teasing cross with the famous ‘trivela.’ Garnacho was in the right place at the right time to head home from point-blank range and make it 3-2 for Man Utd.

Everything seemed to be going United’s way in the remainder of the game. Chelsea’s set-up fell apart, allowing Ten Hag’s side to control the tempo before a fairytale became a nightmare.

Dalot’s dismal challenge on Noni Madueke in the 99th minute sent Palmer back to the spot, and the former Manchester City ace was relentless, sending Andre Onana the wrong way to restore parity.

Only a minute later, Man Utd poorly defended a corner kick, leaving Palmer alone on the edge of the box. 

Onana would’ve probably thwarted his shot, but the ball took a slight deflection and finished in the back of the net. 

Palmer’s hat-trick condemned Man Utd to their first Premier League loss to Chelsea in seven years and landed a hammer blow on the Red Devils’ top-five hopes. 

Player Ratings

Andre Onana – 6/10

Despite conceding four times, the Cameroonian goalkeeper made numerous crucial saves and was powerless in every goal situation.

Diogo Dalot – 6/10

Conceding a late penalty cast a shadow on the wing-back’s decent showing and a beautiful assist for Fernandes. 

Harry Maguire – 4/10

The former captain will hope to forget this game in a hurry. When it looked like he was back on the rails, another disappointing performance reignited fans’ fears amidst Lisandro Martinez’s absence. 

Raphael Varane – 6/10

Far better than his centre-back partner but had to come off at the break due to injury. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5/10

Though tonight’s match was a noticeable improvement on Saturday’s clash at the Brentford Community Stadium, it’s clear Man Utd must sign a new right-back in the summer.

Kobbie Mainoo – 6/10

United’s homegrown starlet fought tooth and nail to give his team a foothold in the middle of the park, but it wasn’t his best performance. 

Casemiro – 6/10

Casemiro should’ve alleviated some pressure on Mainoo, yet his questionable match fitness came to the fore in a high-octane fixture.

Antony – 7/10

Had he not given away a cheap penalty, this would’ve been his best game for United. Confident with the ball at his feet, the tricky winger delivered a headline-making assist.

Bruno Fernandes – 7/10

Other than the goal, Fernandes was an omnipresent figure in United’s build-up play, even though his passing wasn’t always as sharp as he would’ve wanted.

Alejandro Garnacho – 9/10

There’s nothing more Man Utd fans can expect from the Argentine prodigy. He did everything in his power to inspire United to a much-needed win, only to see his defenders let him down.

Rasmus Hojlund – 4/10

Whether it was his or someone else’s fault, Hojlund spent 66 minutes in ‘stealth mode.’ 

Substitutes 

Jonny Evans – 5/10

Spent just 20 minutes on the pitch before an injury forced him off. 

Willy Kambwala – 6/10

Held up his end of the bargain in a challenging duel against Nicolas Jackson. 

Marcus Rashford – 5/10

A faceless performance off the bench. 

Scott McTominay – 4/10

The Scotland international was unfortunate to deflect Palmer’s winner behind Onana’s back.

Mason Mount – N/A

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