Manchester United enjoyed a 3-1 victory over rivals Chelsea in a rather bizarre match, a win which saw United continue their perfect start to the league.
The game had everything; plenty of chances for both sides, a missed penalty from Wayne Rooney, and perhaps the most unlikely of all, a Fernando Torres goal.
On his 100th Premier League appearance for United, Nani was our Man of the Match for the second time this season. The Portuguese winger was an abundance of energy throughout proving a handful for a Chelsea side which Fernando Torres may have described as old and slow.
It took Nani a while to get going but when he did he submitted a contender for goal of the season when he picked up Evans’ long pass, skipped past a couple of blue shirts before thumping the ball past Petr Cech from outside the box. The Chelsea keeper could do nothing as Nani’s fierce shot whipped past him straight into the top corner. It was a mesmerising goal which fully justified the cartwheel-into-back flip with which he celebrated.
Nani was persistent in attack all day making runs at and through the Chelsea defence and his passing was mostly spot on. He provided the assist for United’s third goal, gifting Rooney with an open net. He ran in behind the Chelsea defenders to take the ball slipped through by Jones for him, a penalty box scramble followed when Nani tried to flick the ball back into the box. However it was Nani who prevented Chelsea from clearing the ball as he was able to pass the ball to a waiting Rooney who applied the easy finish.
The tricky winger’s attacking also won United a penalty. He ran the ball from the half way line before cutting inside past the Chelsea defence and thumping a shot against the crossbar in a frantic end to end move. As Nani followed the reflection up to try and finish his own move he was felled from a sloppy reach for the ball from Bosingwa.
Nani looked as though he could have spent all day beating Ashley Cole on the right as he kept the Chelsea left back in his pocket for the majority of the game. Nani’s quick feet and trickery have constantly improved throughout his time at United, leaving a player who can now beat player after player whilst running with the ball at his feet to create chances. He was effective on the right wing as he constantly out-paced and went round Cole to get crosses in or cutting inside to bear down on the Chelsea Penalty box.
For anyone watching the match on Sky Sports they pointed at a rather interesting stat. A comparison between Nani’s first 100 Premier League games and Cristiano Ronaldo’s first 100 Premier League games for United showed they had scored the same number of goals at 19. However it also showed that Nani has created 33 assists whereas Ronaldo had only made 12. Something I don’t think many of us have realised.
Nani gave Chelsea a pretty difficult day as they could not pin him down allowing him to run free in attack beating their players and creating chances for him and others. With a goal and an assist Nani has proven to be just another player impressing in the United attack this season.