The champions-to-be, driven forward by their South Korean midfielder, played with greater appetite to shake a laboured Chelsea
Red joy will lead to gleaming gold and blue is nowhere to be seen. Manchester United – 31 home games unbeaten – played with greater appetite and a superior speed of passing from the start. The early whirlwind shook a laboured Chelsea, who never recovered.
Often the early exchanges shape the pattern of a game and so it was here. Park Ji-sung created the opening goal and his habit of coming off the left, often interchanging with Ryan Giggs, helped his side gain midfield sway. Chelsea, with Michael Essien, Mikel John Obi and Frank Lampard, should have had an advantage in the centre over Giggs and Michael Carrick, but with Park cutting in and Wayne Rooney dropping back they were never comfortable.
United won the key individual battles. Antonio Valencia was too forceful for Ashley Cole; Carrick monitored Lampard's runs and Rooney's movement demoralised Mikel. With Park playing so narrow one would have expected Chelsea to exploit the width on their right, and it was no major surprise when Carlo Ancelotti brought on Ramires at half-time to do that. But United manned the spaces outside the box and defended confidently. Though Lampard touched in Ramires's cross the home side were comfortable, the ball appearing drawn towards the head of Nemanja Vidic. Perhaps if the Football Writers' Association voted for their player of the year by AV, the defender would have got the recognition he deserves.