Chelsea 4-3 Manchester United: Takeaways after a hectic defeat in West London

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League / Robin Jones/GettyImages

As mid-table clashes go, this will go down as one of the more memorable ones.

Both teams displayed why they have had such topsy turvy seasons so far but for Manchester United to go 2-0 down, find their way back into the game and to be eventually winning (with what should be contender for assist of the season from Antony) only to lose to two injury time goals is quite sickening in all honesty.

After conceding a late equaliser against Brentford, United would have liked to bounce back against Chelsea but now go into a Old Trafford clash with Liverpool despondent after dropping points from winning position two games in a row.

Here are 4 takeaways from this debacle of a performance:

Garnacho breaking records… again!

Starting positively because there won't be much after this, Alejandro Garnacho, who always looks lively, took both of his goals very well the second in which he headed in smartly Antony's contender for assist of the season - a scrumptious outside of the left foot cross. Garnacho now becomes the first teenager to score 2+ goals in three Premier League games in a season since Michael Owen in 1998/99.

Antony, Alejandro Garnacho
Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Defensive woes continue into 2024

Jonny Evans, Casemiro
Manchester United v Everton FC - Premier League / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

31 shots conceded away to Brentford and now 28 shots faced against Chelsea.

It is quite dismal in the regularity that teams are afforded so much freedom against United especially in dangerous areas. Chelsea's first goal albeit a deflected cross, Gallagher had time at the edge of the box just like Ajer did over the weekend and many other players have done throughout the season.

The first half was particularly worrying that our midfield was non-existent, had more holes than a string vest and was allowing Gallagher and Palmer in particular to run the show in there. United have now conceded more goals than have scored (conceded 44, scored 43) and it shows with disjointed performances in the last two away displays. I dread to think if United allow 28 shots on their goal against Liverpool it might be a good hiding and with injuries to Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans, Willy Kambwala may be starting come Sunday.

Casemiro and Raphael Varane may need to go this summer

Casemiro really looked off the pace in this game. He was letting people run off him, while he looked like he was trudging through snow in his own running. At 31, he is not going to magically get fresher legs and I think it would serve United better to have a younger profile of midfielder to partner with Kobbie Mainoo.

With Raphael Varane, it is not so much down to the performances. But rather, it is down to his availability. Rarely puts a foot wrong when he plays but can you get 10 games in a row from Varane at this age too? Departing with both would free up a lot of wages and would be planning towards the future.

Ten Hag’s days are numbered

With Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford in attendance, they won't be putting this game under the reasons to keep Ten Hag at the end of the summer. The result and the performance were both underwhelming and the team do not create enough chances consistently.

This ongoing issue of 2023/24 roots back to abandoning his own style of play, his own philosophy and patterns of play. At this point, Ten Hag may need to win the FA Cup as a bare minimum to stand any chance of keeping his job. However, in the past this was not enough to keep Louis Van Gaal his job when he finished outside of the Champions League spots in the same season.

Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag
Ten Hag stands a lonely figure / Robin Jones/GettyImages