Manchester United Shows Signs of Life vs Chelsea in First Half

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It’s not so much a battle for the top four anymore as it is a stumble. You’ve got three teams- Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea all essentially playing hot potato with that fourth and final UEFA Champions League qualification slot.

For United especially, they came into the Premier League weekend’s headliner fixture, at home against Chelsea, with riding a lot of dreadful streaks. The list of abominable stats included: lost seven in their last nine games, scored two goals (both penalties) in the last five games, no goals from open play in almost nine hours of football, the worst overall run of form since 1962 and two shots on goal in the last two games.

Well, the first half was a stark departure from all that as Juan Mata scored in the 11′ and United headed to halftime with more favorable statistics.

Mata’s scoring strike means that United scored a goal in open play for the first time in 537 minutes of football.

United held a 56%-44% advantage in possession and a were ahead on corners 5-3 at the break. Unfortunately, David de Gea continued his recent slump and once again made another terrible gaffe as Marcos Alonso equalized for Chelsea in the 43′.

De Gea stopped the first shot, but he was unable to corral it, and Alonso knocked home the rebound to make the game level at the break. (Seriously, what is wrong with De Gea lately? It’s quite puzzling)

Thus one other United streak of misery will continue beyond this game. The Red Devils have not kept a clean sheet since the goalless draw with Liverpool on February 24, the worst run since 1971.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, also contributes to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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