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Five best Chelsea v Manchester United matches

Original article published 18 October 2022

It's a clash of the giants on Saturday evening when Chelsea take on Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, a fixture which conjures up memories of some classic battles down the years.

It was 117 years ago, on Christmas Day, 1905, when Manchester United and Chelsea met for the first time, at Bank Street in the Manchester suburb of Clayton in the old Second Division. The game ended, unremarkably, 0-0 but lit the fuse on a rivalry which has endured for well over a century.

Since that first meeting these two juggernauts have met countless times, nearly all of them providing far more fireworks than that first encounter, and here are five that definitely set a few pulses racing.

WhatChelsea v Manchester United, Premier League
WhereStamford Bridge, London
When17:30, Saturday 22nd October, 2022
How to watchSky Sports
OddsChelsea 10/11, Manchester United 14/5, Draw 13/5

Charlton and Greaves lay on Old Trafford masterclass

Manchester United 5 Chelsea 2 - First Division, 23rd August, 1958

The Busby Babes up against Drake's Ducklings and a meeting of two of the hottest properties in English football - and Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Greaves didn't disappoint.

It was the opening game of the 1958/59 season and came just six months after the Munich Air Disaster. Sir Matt Busby was out of hospital and he and his coaching staff had rebuilt the Red Devils with 20-year-old Charlton at the heart of it.

Chelsea had themselves been reborn under the legendary Ted Drake and arrived at Old Trafford at the start of that season led by 18-year-old boy wonder, Greaves.

And the two English starlets didn't disappoint, Charlton scoring a hat-trick, Greaves two, as United raced out of the blocks with a 5-2 win.

United would eventually finish second that season though it was Greaves who pipped Charlton to the Golden Boot with 32 goals.

Manchester United 4 Chelsea 0 - FA Cup final, 14th May, 1994 

Double delight for King Cantona

United made history at a wet Wembley by becoming just the fourth club in the 20th century to complete the "Double".

That didn't look likely during a first half dominated by Glenn Hoddle's Chelsea, Gavin Peacock going closest by hitting the woodwork. But the script was rewritten after the break.

Referee David Elleray awarded two penalties in the space of six minutes and Eric Cantona converted both, a Frank Sinclair slip enabled Mark Hughes to nip in for the third and Brian McClair completed what turned out to be a rout in injury time.

Taibi traumas derail treble winners

Chelsea 5 Manchester United 0 - Premier League, 3rd October, 1999

And so to a name to bring any United fan out in a cold sweat - Massimo Taibi. The Italian keeper, signed as a replacement for Peter Schmeichel, only played four games for the club and this was the last of them. And it's easy to see why he was jettisoned.

Sir Alex Ferguson's recent treble winners arrived in London on the crest of a wave having gone unbeaten in the league for 29 matches. They looked simply unbeatable.

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Within 30 seconds of the start, however, they looked eminently beatable as Taibi's first rush of blood saw him beaten to the punch by Gus Poyet and Chelsea were 1-0 ahead.

Chris Sutton added a second before Nicky Butt saw red after just 21 minutes, reacting badly to being taken out at the neck by Dennis Wise. Taibi gifted Poyet a third, Henning Berg put through his own net before Jody Morris popped one through the hapless keeper's legs.

Gianluca Vialli and Chelsea celebrated though United would have the last laugh, defending their title by a massive 18-point margin.

Sorry Terry's Moscow nightmare

Manchester United 1 Chelsea 1 - Champions League final, 21st May 2008

From Russia with love, though big JT wasn't feeling the love as United won the Champions League at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

It was the first all-English final and the stars seemed to be aligned for Fergie, the match marking the 100th anniversary of United's first league title, the 50th anniversary of Munich and the 40th anniversary of their first European Cup triumph.

For Chelsea, this was new territory and started badly with Cristiano Ronaldo putting United ahead. However, Frank Lampard equalised for the Blues just before the break, the rest of the game passing off fairly uneventfully until Didier Drogba was red-carded in the last throes of extra-time.

And so to penalties. Chelsea were faultless, United less so with Ronaldo missing, which meant Terry had the chance to win the Champions League with the last kick, only to slip and hit the post.

Edwin van der Sar then saved from Nicolas Anelka and United, as with their previous Champions League success in 1999, had somehow snatched victory against the odds.

Comeback kings leave Villas-Boas on the brink

Chelsea 3 Manchester United 3 - Premier League, 5th February, 2012

If there was one thing we knew about Fergie's United it was that they were masters of a comeback, and this one at Chelsea pretty much summed them up. It also put another nail in the coffin of Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas.

Chelsea had gone into the game on a run of just two league wins in eight and their Portuguese boss was under massive pressure. He needed a response and boy did he get it.

Jonny Evans put through his own net after 35 minutes and then within five minutes of the restart Juan Mata and David Luiz had also scored putting Chelsea 3-0 up and out of sight. Or so we thought.

Fouls on first Patrick Evra and then Danny Welbeck gave Howard Webb no choice but to award penalties and Wayne Rooney converted both.

Chelsea, under pressure off the pitch and under the cosh on it, simply had no response and there was a sense of inevitability when Javier Hernandez tucked away the equaliser six minutes from time.

Three league games later, Villas-Boas was gone.

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