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Players Ratings: Victory over Chelsea keeps United in the hunt

A sad day in the history of Manchester United was marked by an important win in west London that might help define the near future. Champions League qualification has been in the balance, however events in Beswick have thrown everything up for grabs and will potentially re-shape the remainder of the season.

Rivals Chelsea were again wasteful in front of goal and finally United, with a bit of help from VAR, were able to gain ground on the competition and put themselves right back in the race for the top four (or five).

David de Gea – 7

Chelsea threatened at times during the first half but failed to get a shot on target leaving David effectively a spectator. Took a nasty knock against the post late on but gets a seven for a clean sheet and well, being De Gea.

READ MORE: Video: Frank Lampard says Man Utd skipper Maguire should have been sent off

Eric Bailly – 6

Probably not the ideal game to bring Eric back after his lengthy absence and it showed early on. Whether it was nerves or over eagerness his re-introduction to the first team was very shaky, dangerously losing the ball in the first couple of minutes and missing headers. However, he soon settled and began to grow into a game where United profited from poor Chelsea attacking. Pulled off a brilliant last gasp tackle against Kovacic in the second half that likely prevented a goal.

Harry Maguire – 7

Showed reckless indiscipline in an off-the-ball incident with Batshuayi which on another evening would have resulted in a red. This was a crucial game for United and as captain he has got to show more maturity in these types of situations. To have gone down to ten men so early on would have been a disaster for United. However, he escaped and went on to produce a wonderful header from a Fernandes
corner
to put United two up.

Luke Shaw – 6

Was not close enough to Batshuayi early on which really should have been punished by the Chelsea striker. Broke into a promising face paced break with support from James but a woeful cross probably summed up an inglorious first half from Luke. Got lucky in the second half when VAR saved his blushes following being hopelessly out of position in the lead up to Giroud’s disallowed header.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7

A mixed start to the game for Aaron which was completely overshadowed by a beautiful piece of intricate play followed by a sweet arching cross headed home by Martial at the end of the first half. Has been criticised for his poor delivery of late but more of this type of contribution will dispel such concerns.

Fred – 8

Another good showing from Fred, absolutely cannot fault him for effort. Regularly is a disruptor in the middle of the park, winning the ball back on many occasions and showing some threat in and around the edge of the box. Looks like he is developing an understanding with Fernandes. Did well to win a free-kick against Pedro that Fernandes was very unlucky not to score from.

Nemanja Matic – 6

His pace got exposed by frequent breaks through midfield during the first half, was also exposed in the box in the first 45. Not his best performance of late but in McTominay’s absence has played a key role, will start again on Sunday.

Brandon Williams – 6

A weak first half from Williams, allowed Reece James to ghost past him for a dangerous shot towards goal. This was compounded by a foul-throw and a series of wayward passes. A professional foul in the second half drew a yellow, just a blip from Brandon who is a regular fixture now in the first team.

Bruno Fernandes – 7

I don’t think the fluid defensive/midfield set up interchanging between a 3 and a 5 suits Fernandes as he seems to get disconnected from the game in spells as a result. Showed some good interplay with Fred, hopefully a sign of things to come. His wicked close range second half free-kick deserved more but showed he is going to give United more threat from set plays with an assist from a corner for Harry.

Daniel James – 5

A lot of industry, saw a lot of the ball but again looked a little lightweight in the final third. Got substituted in the second half which was a fair reflection of his performance tonight.

Anthony Martial – 8

In a game where you would hope Anthony would be peppering Caballero, he looked quite laboured at times without the support of Rashford. That was until the end of the first half when he connected with a beautiful cross from Wan-Bissaka heading United into a crucial lead going into the break.

VAR – 8

A great performance from VAR tonight compared with recent showings, is rapidly growing into the Premier League and will likely make an impression in the Euros.

Subs not rated:

Andreas Periera (James 80)

Odion Ighalo (Martial 90)

Diogo Dalot (Fernandes 90)

More Stories Aaron Wan-Bissaka Anthony Martial Brandon Williams Bruno Fernandes Chelsea Daniel James David De Gea Eric Bailly Fred Harry Maguire Luke Shaw Man Utd Manchester United Nemanja Matic