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Barclays Premier League

Stamford Bridge (ATT 41,615) 19th January 2014 - Kick off 16:00

Chelsea Chelsea vs Manchester United Man Utd

Chelsea 3

S Eto'o (17, 45, 49)

ft

Man Utd 1

J Hernandez (78)
N Vidic (S/O 90+1)

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Premier League: Chelsea claim 3-1 win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge

By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey.   Last Updated: 20/01/14 8:13am

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Samuel Eto'o: Celebrates opening the scoring

Samuel Eto'o: Celebrates opening the scoring

Samuel Eto'o's first hat-trick in Premier League football gave Chelsea a 3-1 win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

United had begun brightly, but it was Chelsea who broke the deadlock with one of their first attacks on 17 minutes as Eto'o saw a shot deflect off Michael Carrick and over a helpless David De Gea.

Best of the Match:

  • Man of the Match: Samuel Eto'o - A hat-trick against Man Utd, what more can you say?
  • Pass of the Match: Gary Cahill - The England defender put the cross into Eto'o for his second.
  • Save of the Match: Petr Cech - Kept out an early chance from Ashley Young and was important throughout the game.
  • Controversy of the Match: Nemanja Vidic - Late red card for the United captain and he will feel it was harsh.
  • Talking point: What now for United, can they even finish in the top four?

De Gea could do little with Eto'o's second which arrived just before half-time, as United failed to clear a corner and Gary Cahill crossed for the Cameroon star to fire home from six yards.

United looked to get back into the match early in the second half but the game was put well and truly out of their reach as Eto'o helped himself to his third just minutes after the re-start.

And it was again Cahill who played his part as he met Willian's corner, De Gea could only parry and Eto'o was on hand to turn it home from close range.

There was time for United to get on the score-sheet as substitute Javier Hernandez converted what proved to be no more than a consolation for David Moyes' side.

And to make matters even worse, United captain Nemanja Vidic was shown a straight red in injury time for diving in on Eden Hazard.

The three points sees Chelsea move back to within touching distance of leaders Arsenal and second placed Manchester City - although the win - Jose Mourinho's 100th in the Premier League - does mean the top three are now six points clear.

United stay seventh, six points adrift of fourth place and 14 points off the top and the defence of their title surely now looks in tatters.

Both Chelsea and United are in transition, but it is clear who has more work to do after Mourinho's men claimed a sixth win in seven Premier League games.

United's attacking endeavours relied on 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj and that, coupled with the gaping defensive holes Chelsea exposed, increased the sense Moyes must recruit top-class reinforcements this month to chase a top-four spot.

Mourinho's preferred Eto'o to Fernando Torres in a side showing two changes following the win at Hull.

The other was in defence, where Branislav Ivanovic returned earlier than expected from a knee injury so Cesar Azpilicueta shifted to left-back and Ashley Cole was dropped to the bench.

United, with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie again out injured, made three changes following the win over Swansea - Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Ashley Young coming in - and began on the front foot.

But the Blues went ahead when Jones backed off Eto'o, whose shot looped up off Carrick's out-stretched leg and into the top corner.

David Luiz, again playing in midfield, was booked for an over-zealous aerial challenge on Antonio Valencia which enraged the United bench.

If Luiz was the enforcer, Hazard's influence as sorcerer was increasing as he found space to run at United.

Januzaj, who could yet team up with Hazard for Belgium, was United's most creative force but no one was in the box to meet his dangerous cross.

Another Januzaj cross evaded John Terry and reached Danny Welbeck, who got a shot away under pressure from Azpilicueta, but Petr Cech saved smartly.

Chelsea doubled their advantage when the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Ramires found Cahill on the right side of the area and the defender centred around a static defence for Eto'o to sweep in.

It was a major blow prior to the interval, but the decisive one followed and featured more abject defending.

Cahill was allowed a free header from Willian's corner and De Gea saved on the line, but Eto'o poked in the rebound.

United, who saw Evra depart injured, threw on Hernandez alongside Welbeck.

The Mexican pulled a goal back 12 minutes from time when he converted Jones' shot after Welbeck's pull-back.

But that was as good as it got for United, who saw Vidic sent off and Rafael booked in stoppage time as Chelsea triumphed.

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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 16 39
2 Manchester City 17 39
3 Manchester United 17 32
4 West Ham United 17 31
5 Southampton 17 29
6 Tottenham Hotspur 17 27
7 Arsenal 16 26
8 Swansea City 17 25
9 Newcastle United 16 23
10 Everton 17 21
11 Liverpool 16 21
12 Aston Villa 17 20
13 Stoke City 16 19
14 West Bromwich Albion 17 17
15 Queens Park Rangers 17 17
16 Sunderland 16 16
17 Crystal Palace 17 15
18 Burnley 17 15
19 Hull City 17 13
20 Leicester City 17 10

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