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Blues robbed of famous win by refereeing debacle


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Robin van Persie scored a 94th-minute equaliser to deny Chelsea a deserved victory at Old Trafford.

The Blues dominated for much of the match and took the lead through a magnificent Didier Drogba header - only to be undone completely by an utterly diabolical refereeing performance by Phil Dowd.

Firstly the Blues were denied an absolute stonewall penalty when both John Terry and Gary Cahill were wrestled to the ground in the same incident, before Branislav Ivanovic was incredulously shown a second yellow card when Angel di Maria dived to win the late free-kick from which United levelled.

That decision summed up the refereeing injustice felt by Chelsea who had five players booked in addition to Ivanovic's dismissal, though United players constantly went unpunished through sheer refereeing incompetence.

And to add insult to injury, van Persie, already yellow-carded, wasn't shown a second yellow for removing his shirt during his celebration of a goal United, quite frankly, didn't deserve.

Chelsea played with a measure of control throughout, very rarely looking vulnerable despite Thibaut Courtois being called into three point-blank saves from van Persie.

The giant Belgian goalkeeper almost preserved his clean sheet right at the death when he denied compatriot Marouane Fellaini, but the depleted, disorganised Chelsea defence failed to clear di Maria's free-kick, allowing van Persie to smash the rebound home.

Ultimately it is Chelsea's fault for again failing to kill off a "big" team, much like their bottle-job showing at Manchester City back in September, but the way they were robbed of their deserved rewards here makes this result as difficult a pill to swallow as Frank Lampard's late leveller on their last journey to Manchester.

The point does at least increase Chelsea's lead over defending champions City to six points, and their lead over second-placed Southampton remains a healthy gap of four, but the two dropped here makes this feel more akin to a heavy defeat than anything else.

United rarely threatened despite retaining possession of the ball well deep in Chelsea's half, and though their shot tally of 19 suggests they posed a constant menace to the outstanding Courtois, the Belgian was rarely forced to excel himself, as even van Persie's numerous attempts when one-on-one were poorly executed.

The late goal would have been irrelevant had Dowd awarded the Blues the most blatant of penalties in the first half, with the referee instead choosing to ignore Marcos Rojo's shirt-pull on John Terry and Chris Smalling getting Ivanovic in a head-lock at the far post.

Chelsea frustrated in the first half but came into their own after the interval, and moments after Eden Hazard had produced a fine save from David de Gea, the Spanish goalkeeper was picking the ball out of his own net after Drogba's beautifully directed front post header.

United were kept in the game through a combination of Jose Mourinho's lack of desire to commit too many men to the attack and trigger-happy Dowd's careless card-waving, and van Persie's equaliser looked somewhat inevitable with every joke of a decision delivered by the official.

Ivanovic's dismissal - brought about through di Maria's theatrics - added insult to injury as Dowd managed to spot a supposed trip from 40 yards away, but not the Blues' earlier penalty appeal when stood at the edge of the box.

On a more positive note, the Blues remain unbeaten and top of the Premier League. The only regret is, again, just like last season, points have been thrown away from a winning position.

Shrewsbury Town in the Capital One Cup represents Chelsea's next assignment, but they will only have one day to recover from this debacle ahead of that fixture.

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Really even you make this title, we didnt deserve to win as well

Mourinho is great manager, but he isnt superior one

If there is something I didnt like from him, this is the one

Against top side, he make our strong squad become the inferior one, and the mentality when we ONLY leading one goal, is really really bothering me

If mourinho still like this, he dont push forward and dont install the team mentality and believe they are strong enough to not sit back and shit after only little lead

So we will see again, inferior mentality and deep defensive strategy almost throughout the match for many matches againts top side when we play at their home

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Amazingly we had 8 yellow cards and 1 red card in that game compared to United's 3 yellow (!) cards. And it's not like we were far more physical than them, most of our yellow's were very petty. The one on Fabregas was a joke as well as several others.

It's almost as if Dowd wanted to send off one of our players.

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very nice read as always. Thanks mate :)

must be noted that it was a very abysmal performance from Hazard having dismantled a weak team in champions league one would expect the same if not a much better performance from him. Also Hazard and Drogba each squandered their clear goal scoring opportunity which on a better day should have seen the back of the net. :(

Certainly feels like a defeat especially when we concede during the stoppage time.

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Actually, Van Persie did get a yellow card for removing his shirt during the goal celebration but unfortunately, that was his first booking of the game.

And maybe this is just me but the title stating we were robbed of a famous win kinda make it sound like we were a small team, close to a victory at Old Trafford.

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