Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1
Substitute Jesse Lingard’s goal quarter of an hour from time secured three points for United in a game that Chelsea had threatened to run away with in the first half.
Lingard, who had replaced the disappointing Anthony Martial 10 minutes earlier, headed home from Romelu Lukaku’s cross after Chelsea’s former Belgian striker had been supplied by the ever improving Scott McTominay who again turned in a solid performance in the Reds’ midfield.
United regained second place in the Premier League table behind Manchester City, while Blues’ manager Antonio Conte admitted that his side, champions last season, might not even finish in the top four this time round, having dropped to fifth.
Chelsea had opened really brightly, dominating the first 30 minutes, and effectively stifling United.
Alvaro Morata hit Marcos Alonso’s cross against the Reds’ bar in the opening minutes before Eden Hazard found Willian just after the half hour mark.
The Brazilian swept the ball past United goalkeeper David De Gea with ease.
The goal seemed to wake United from their lethargy, even though Chelsea continued to dictate proceedings.
Lukaku got ahead of Alonso to finish off a move, initiated by Alexis Sanchez and Martial, to beat Thibaut Courtois from six yards.
It was the first time he had found the net against his former club.
Chelsea should have been out of sight by the break but found themselves level.
Lukaku had the chance to ease United ahead after 68 minutes but was denied by a flying save from Courtois.
De Gea spilled a powerful Willian free kick before Lingard snatched the points for United, although Willian might have levelled matters a couple of minutes later after Andreas Christensen had found him in the box only for the United keeper to save well at his near post.
United manager Jose Mourinho said : “You can only win against the top teams with that humble attitude.
“Attitude has to be really special and I think the players showed that.
“The beginning of the game was Blue.
“In the second half the team was solid and felt more comfortable to go into attacking areas.
“The team didn’t start very well. The team didn’t start very confident.”
Conte said: “We must be disappointed for the final result. Today we had every chance to get three points.
“You must be able with experience, with maturity, to get three points.
“We are trying to solve the problem we have in the present.”