The match was just four minutes old when Wayne Rooney exchanged passes with Ashley Young, before teeing up Robin van Persie, whose shot came back off a post and rebounded in off David Luiz. United made it 2-0 eight minutes later when Valencia had all time in the world to pick out an unmarked van Persie who fired the ball past Cech.
But Chelsea showed the heart that made then Champions League winners last season, as their midfield trio of Oscar, Hazard and Mata started to impose their will on the United midfield. Chelsea got the breakthrough they deserved one minute before half-time when Juan Mata’s scored with an exquisite free-kick.
Chelsea began the second half on the ascendency as got back to level terms eight minutes after the break, when Ramires nodding in at the back post.
Then came three decision that changed the game. First Branislav Ivanović was shown a red card for a last-man challenge on Young. There can be no complaints from Chelsea about this decision.
Then Fernando Torres was given his second yellow card of the game for diving after a tackle from Evans. There was so much talk in the press last week about diving in the Premier League that I find it really amusing that the same writers who wrote that diving should be eliminated from the game are now complaining because Torres got sent off for just that. None of the media is mentioning that Torres should not have been on the pitch, that he should have been given a straight red (and not a yellow) for his dreadful challenge on Cleverley in the first half.
The winner for United came 15 minutes from time when Javier Hernández tapped in a Rafael cross. Replays show that Hernandez was offside, similar to how Arteta was for Arsenal on Saturday when he scored, but the goal stood and now Chelsea, United and Man City are all within a point of each other at the top of the Premier League.
City are there after a Carlos Tévez strike was all that separated Manchester City and Swansea City, whose goalkeeper, Michel Vorm, was hurt in trying to save the Argentinian international’s shot.
Everton and Liverpool drew 2-2 in a pulsating Merseyside derby burst into life when Luis Suarez’s driven effort deflected in off Leighton Baines. The Uruguyan international scored a second six minutes later, but Everton responded within two minutes through Leon Osman. Their first-half comeback was complete when Steven Naismith converted Marouane Fellaini’s centre.
Tottenham Hotspur replaced the Toffees in fourth following a 2-1 victory at Southampton, while Newcastle United prevailed by the same scoreline at home to West Bromwich Albion.
Om Saturday, Arsenal beat QPR 1-0, a last-gasp Hal Robson-Kanu goal meant that Reading and Fulham shared the spoils in a six-goal thriller, while Wigan Athletic got their second win of the season at the expense of West Ham United. Stoke City drew 0-0 with Sunderland.