Manchester United striker Antony Martial

Manchester United confirmed UEFA Champions League qualification with a 4-1 victory over Chelsea, extending their unbeaten run at Old Trafford to 28 games in all competitions in the process.

United’s task going into this clash was simple – earn a point against lowly Chelsea – who were already guaranteed their lowest Premier League finish since the 1995/96 campaign – and a place in next season’s premier European club competition would be theirs.

Shortly after Mykhailo Mudryk had missed a glorious chance at the other end, Casemiro sent them on their way by heading Christian Eriksen’s free-kick beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga to give his side the lead.

In general, the opening period was indicative of the Blues’ campaign; they had enough presentable opportunities to restore parity, but Kai Havertz and Conor Gallagher, in particular, failed to even hit the target with their gilt-edged chances.

There was unlikely to be a Chelsea fan in the away end that was surprised to see the Red Devils double their advantage in the sixth minute of first-half injury time as Anthony Martial tapped Jadon Sancho’s through ball into an empty net.

Within seconds of the restart, the hosts should have been three to the good, but Bruno Fernandes could only strike the crossbar from inside the penalty area.

The strike shortly before the breaj was a blow to the morale of a team already low on confidence and, although Mudryk was denied by David de Gea, Chelsea were lucky not to be further behind, as Arrizabalaga needed to scramble to palm Eriksen’s flick away from the goalline.

At times, Frank Lampard’s outfit looked like a cohesive unit, which is something of a rarity this campaign, but whenever they got a sight of goal, it was the same old story, with De Gea never really troubled by efforts from the impressive Lewis Hall and Havertz.

Given Chelsea’s struggles in front of goal, it could be argued the game was already over, but the result was put beyond doubt midway through the second half when Fernandes netted a penalty after the Portuguese was fouled in the area by the disappointing Wesley Fofana.

Erik Ten Hag’s charges subsequently added a fourth through Marcus Rashford from close range soon after, and they can now look forward to elite continental football next term.

Chelsea, meanwhile, did at least bag a fine consolation when Joao Felix embarked on a solo run and slotted into the corner. They end the season at home against Newcastle United on Sunday, and the final whistle in that match cannot come quick enough – this has been a season to forget for the Blues. — Flashscore

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *