Vincent Ralph rates the Chelsea display player-by-player:
Petr Cech 7
The Chelsea goalkeeper had little to do and had no chance with United’s consolation goal. In fact he was apparently so bored that he felt the need to liven things up by going tantalisingly close to gifting Javier Hernandez a tap-in, only for some nifty footwork to save the day.
Branislav Ivanovic 7
The right-back got forward time and again and was integral in much of Chelsea’s forward play. However, there were occasions when he was turned inside-out by the footwork of Adnan Januzaj, although the young Belgian’s build-up play came to nothing time and again.
Cesar Azpilicueta 7
Had problems early when Rafael and Antonio Valencia pushed forward down the right, but as Chelsea grew into the game so did Azpilicueta. The fact that Valencia managed to deliver a number of good crosses was negated somewhat by the lack of a quality attacker on the end of them; but the man currently keeping Ashley Cole out of the team will have to learn to prevent those crosses, or at least further reduce them, in the future.
Gary Cahill 9
Cahill was immense throughout and grabbed two assists for good measure, squaring for Eto’o to score his second and then seeing his header pushed into the path of the Cameroon striker for his hat-trick strike. Cahill also did what he needed to do at the back, and rarely gave Danny Welbeck a sniff.
John Terry 8
Like his centre-back partner, Terry did exactly what we have come to expect of him. He was sturdy and resolute throughout and won a number of aerial battles. He kept United at bay with some ease, with most of the visitors' attacking threat coming from wide rather than through the middle.
David Luiz 7
David Luiz may soon find his midfield position taken by the player he was once swapped for (along with plenty of cash). But for now, as Nemanja Matic watched on, the Brazilian carried out his duties well. He sat in front of the back-four, tracked back when needed and was a nuisance throughout. He was a big part of the reason United had so few attempts to break through the middle.
Willian is an outstanding footballer and he proved it yet again this afternoon. While much of his work goes unnoticed he was integral in pulling Chelsea through the difficult early stages and inspiring the comeback. Samuel Eto’o will get the headlines, but Willian deserves a few of his own. One driving run in the first half should have led to more, but his all-round play was very impressive.
Oscar was his usual tricky self but he was outshone somewhat by Willian and Eden Hazard. He had one effort – a bicycle kick – that he may wish he had done better with, considering how close he was to goal. Overall he did well but others did better.
It was Ramires’s great through-ball that led to Gary Cahill’s pass for the second Chelsea goal. Aside from that he did what he always does, marshalling the midfield and ensuring the back-four are protected at all times. Another selfless performance from a player who is vital to this Blues side.
Eden Hazard 7
There were moments when it looked like Hazard wanted to win this on his own, and for the opening minutes of the first half he was Chelsea’s only bright spark. Always prepared to run directly at the opposition, he appeared to be attempting to show Adnan Januzaj how it is done, but in the end he was good without being spectacular, allowing others to take the limelight for once.
Samuel Eto’o 9
What is there to say other than – class is permanent. He got lucky with the first, couldn't miss the second and the third was a tap-in, and yet he was there for all three, and much of his talent is in his ability to be in the right place at the right time. While Chelsea’s front-men have been much maligned this season, this was one performance that proved there is still plenty of quality in front of a majestic midfield.
John Obi Mikel (replaced Oscar) 6
He played Hernandez onside for United’s consolation goal but otherwise did well to ensure there was no comeback.
Fernando Torres (replaced Eto’o) 5
The Spaniard usually creates a talking point against United – be that a goal, a miss or a dismissal…but not today.
Nemanja Matic (replaced Willian) 5
The Serbian midfielder was linked with a move to United before completing his return to Stamford Bridge. Watching this match, he probably thinks he made the right decision. He came on too late to have any real impact, but his time will come.
image: © Ben Sutherland