United they fall
Inside Blue Sat 4 Nov 2017
When Chelsea host Manchester United on Sunday, we will be hoping to extend a run of form that has seen us suffer just one home league defeat to them in 15 years.
United have left Stamford Bridge with three Premier League points just once since 2002 – on Sir Alex Ferguson's last visit in 2012, when the Blues went down to nine men in a narrow 3-2 loss – with the Blues earning an impressive nine wins and five draws from our 15 matches in west London during that time.
As we attempt to take that tally to 10 victories this week, here are some of the most memorable wins from that run...
Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United, 23 October 2016
Our most recent home league game against the Red Devils was also our most emphatic win of the last 15 years, as we romped to a 4-0 victory en route to claiming the Premier League title. Only 30 seconds had been played when we took the lead, as Pedro got us off to a flyer by latching on to a long ball and rounding goalkeeper David de Gea to slot in the opener before any United player had even touched the ball. Gary Cahill extended our lead from Eden Hazard's corner 20 minutes later and the Belgian would get the third himself with a trademark low strike, before a crowd-pleasing N'Golo Kante goal put the icing on the cake as United boss Jose Mourinho suffered an unhappy return the Bridge. The result put us back into the top four, with just one point separating first to fifth place in the table after nine matches, as a thrilling opening to the season continued.
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United, 26 April 2008
It's pretty rare that a game of this magnitude is decided by the performance of just one player, but Michael Ballack came about as close as possible in this match. The German put in arguably his best display for the club as top-of-the-table United came to the Bridge, with the Blues knowing anything other than a win would effectively end our chances of claiming the title. The visitors ignored an early warning when Joe Cole hit the crossbar, so up stepped Ballack to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and head in the opening goal on the brink of half-time. However, an uncharacteristic mistake from Ricardo Carvalho gifted an equaliser to Wayne Rooney and, as the minute's ticked by, it increasingly looked like a draw was on the cards. Thankfully Ballack was on hand to settle matters with six minutes remaining, confidently sending Edwin van der Sar the wrong way from the penalty spot after Michael Carrick had handled Michael Essien's cross. There was still time for some late drama, though, as Ashley Cole and Andriy Shevchenko both made goal-line clearnaces to keep the score at 2-1 and take us joint on points with United at the top of the table, with two matches left.
Chelsea 3-1 Manchester United, 19 January 2014
This game will always be remembered for Samuel Eto'o becoming the first Chelsea player to score a hat-trick against Manchester United in almost 60 years, and the first against any opponent in nearly two years. A little over half-way through the season, we were embroiled in a tight three-team battle for the title, with ourselves, Arsenal and Manchester City separated by just two points at the top. Any hopes United might have had of catching that group were firmly dismissed at Stamford Bridge by Mourinho's 100th Premier League win as Chelsea manager. Coincidentally, his first had also come against the Red Devils at the Bridge. This time Eto'o was the undisputed hero, as his shot deflected off Carrick and past De Gea to get the ball rolling, before slotting home from Gary Cahill's pass to double the lead before the break. Just four minutes after half-time the Cameroon striker completed his hat-trick with a real poacher's effort after De Gea had saved a Cahill header, leaving no question as to who the star of the show was.
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United, 1 March 2011
David Luiz enjoyed a full home debut to remember as he scored a vital equaliser on our way to a comeback victory over Manchester United on a cold, wet Tuesday night at the Bridge. The advantage seemed to be in the visitors' favour as they went in at the break with a 1-0 lead courtesy of Wayne Rooney, but the Blues came back out in fighting spirit. Nine minutes later David Luiz showed impeccable technique to slam in his first goal for the club. Despite now being in the ascendancy it seemed as though Chelsea would have to settle for a point, until, with 10 minutes remaining, Yuri Zhirkov went down under a clumsy challenge by Chris Smalling, allowing Frank Lampard to give us the lead from the penalty spot. The winning margin could even have been greater, as Zhirkov's shot was deflected against the post by Nemanja Vidic in the closing stages.
Chelsea 3-0 Manchester United, 29 April 2006
You would be hard pressed to find a more satisfying Chelsea victory than this, dispatching Manchester United in style in front of the Stamford Bridge fans to seal a second consecutive Premier League title. Only a point was needed to ensure we would end the day as champions of England, but a trio of goals saw us take all three points, and the trophy, emphatically. We made the perfect start as Didier Drogba flicked on Lampard's corner for William Gallas to head in the opener after only five minutes, and that goal seemed to take much of the fight out of many of the United players, although Rooney continued to attempt to spoil the party atmosphere at the Bridge. However, the destination of the title was put beyond doubt in the second half, as a brilliant solo effort by Joe Cole, in which he took three defenders out of the game with one turn before smashing the ball past Van der Sar, and then Carvalho steamed upfield to finish off a quick break with an equally fine finish and really get the celebrations started.