Batshuayi blows his big chance and Chelsea waste early Kovacic brilliance as Man Utd keep up jinx – The Sun

Batshuayi blows his big chance and Chelsea waste early Kovacic brilliance as Man Utd keep up jinx – The Sun

MICHY BATSHUAYI was caught in the unmentionables by Harry Maguire. And Chelsea were caught out by Batshuayi's unmentionable finishing.

Add in two more kicks in the balls from VAR – with a pair of disallowed goals – and it was a night of frustration bordering on despair for Blues' boss Frank Lampard as Manchester United made it three wins in three clashes with his side this season.

No player deserves to be judged purely on one game. But fourth-placed Chelsea, stylish if sometimes tame in build-up, were neutered by Batshuayi's display up front.

The lowest blow was Maguire – lucky to avoid a red card on video replays – thumping the second of United's spectacular scoring headers, following Anthony Martial's opener.

Injured Blues' frontman Tammy Abraham actually reinfored his breakthrough season by his absence as poor Batshuayi suggested his confidence has dropped as much as Maguire's naughty stray boot did in their controversial tangle.

But with Mateo Kovacic fizzing forward with energy, quick feet and positive passing, Chelsea were clearly superior to a laboured United team in the opening half-hour.

And when Mason Mount was introduced early on, after N'Gole Kante went off injured, the Blues looked even more comfortable, albeit rarely offering the thrust of a true, top-drawer team.

Three times before the break Batshuayi wasted decent shooting chances.

Twice he under-hit drives to the far corner. But first and worst was a left-footer on the swivel, hit wide of the near post after Mount threaded the ball back invitingly.

The Belgian seemed to lack the poise, hunger and eye of an elite predator.

But when you have barely played for your parent club in two years, with three loan spells away, perhaps that is to be expected.

And a few of Batshuayi's touches actually opened up neat link-play with his midfielders, but as the sole frontman in a short-passing side so much more is needed from the spearhead.

There was little Chelsea could do about United's shock opener just before the break, albeit from the visitors' first real spark of quality and only first-half effort on target.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka conjured space from a tight spot on the right after twisting Willian both ways. And his curving cross was as sublime and precise as the glancing header Martial met it for the breakthrough.

A goal from nothing with class in everything about it.

Chelsea's passing remained slicker than United's after the interval but their grasp on proceedings was never the same.

Once more their play was pretty where it did not matter, and primitive where it did – in the final third.

United, though, scarcely deserved their second goal on 66 minuteswhen Maguire darted across the box from a corner to flash the ball into the bottom corner.

Either side of that killer strike, VAR erased goals from Chelsea subs Kurt Zouma, for a push by Cesar Azpilicueta, and Olivier Giroud, who was adjudged offside.

Predictably it was Batshuayi who made way for Giroud, whose sheer presence in the box offered more in 22 minutes than had the ex-Crystal Palace loanee in 68.

Lampard, though, should be equally worried by the way the Blues struggled to reassert themselves, United's graft usurping Chelsea's craft.

Mount did drill a free-kick off the post, but by then the match had the same air of inevitability as did Batshuayi's substitution.

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