Chelsea 3 Manchester United 1: Five things we learned from Manchester United's humbling at Stamford Bridge

Manchester United have lost the power of the comeback

Stamford Bridge

Jones is no match for Luiz in a midfield role

Both teams drafted centre-backs into midfield but while David Luiz has the skill and experience to make the transition, Phil Jones had a slightly harder afternoon. Although he did make Javier Hernandez’s consolation goal, he was a lonely bystander, in attack and defence.

Chelsea’s first goal started with Samuel Eto’o skipping away from Jones on the edge of the box, the second after Jones thoughtlessly gave away a free-kick by fouling Willian. In mitigation, this was Jones’s first game back after four weeks out, and away at Chelsea. The fact that United had to turn to him in central midfield is their real problem.

At 18, Januzaj is United’s best attacking player

Among all the mediocrity and predictably on show from United, Adnan Januzaj once again stood out, far superior to all of his older, more experienced team-mates. Almost everything good that United did came from the 18-year-old, drifting behind their lone striker Danny Welbeck.

Januzaj was brilliant at finding space, producing two perfect crosses from the left, the second of which Welbeck should have converted. He will need Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to return to the team to have his creativity fully rewarded. For now he has to cope with the heavy weight of being Manchester United’s best attacking player.

Thrilling Willian is just the direct threat Mourinho likes

Willian might not be quite as graceful or subtle as Juan Mata, but he is making it increasingly clear why he is the right man for Jose Mourinho’s new Chelsea team. Willian does not control or dictate the game like Mata but – like Eden Hazard on the other wing – he is a thrilling counter-attacker, able to tear through defences.

On Sunday he was a menace, bursting forward whenever in possession, skipping past Jones and Rafael more than once. That type of direct threat can unsettle any opposition, and is how Mourinho wants to construct his side.

Vidic couldn’t keep up with Eto’o – in 2009 or now

The last time Nemanja Vidic and Samuel Eto’o met was nearly five years ago, in Rome. That night Eto’o skipped past Vidic to put Barcelona 1-0 up in the Champions League final. Last night was not much more enjoyable for Vidic, one of his worst games in years.

He could not keep up with Eto’o or Hazard and the collective defending – his responsibility as captain – was dismal, Eto’o free to score the second and third. The tackle on Hazard for which Vidic was sent off was a picture of tiredness and frustration. Poor as he was, though, his being suspended is worse for United.

United under Moyes lack Fergie’s comeback power

Almost exactly two years ago, Chelsea went 3-0 up early in the second half at Stamford Bridge, only for Manchester United to surge back into the game and draw 3-3. Eight of the players who started for United that day started on Sunday, but the big change has obviously been off the pitch.

United, in the post-Ferguson era, do not have the same reserves of courage and belief that helped them to come from behind as well as they used to do.

Even when Javier Hernandez scored last night, it only ever felt like a futile consolation.

Further reading...

Match report: Eto'o's hat-trick creates more misery for Moyes

Moyes won't let go of title hopes but Mourinho says 'no chance'

Comment: Mourinho reaches his century in second gear but tougher tests await

Player ratings from Stamford Bridge

Premier League Sunday - as it happened

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower