Manchester United thrashed struggling Chelsea 4-1 on Thursday to clinch qualification for the Champions League of the next season.
The Red Devils climbed up to third place in the Premier League thanks to goals from Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, and Marcus Rashford.
Even though Chelsea spent more than £500 million on transfers, their season was terrible as they suffered their eighth loss in 10 games under temporary manager Frank Lampard.
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In contrast, Erik ten Hag’s first season as manager is successful when he also helped United break a six-year trophy drought by winning the League Cup in February.
If United can stop Manchester City from winning the triple in the FA Cup final, more victories might be on the way next month.
But when Ten Hag took over after a catastrophic 2021/22 campaign in which United finished sixth, he set one of his main objectives as returning to Europe’s top league the following season.
Arriving from Real Madrid, Casemiro has been essential to United’s comeback.
When matched up against a young Chelsea team, who were penalized for their ineffectiveness in both boxes, the 31-year-old’s class and experience stood out.
When Mykhailo Mudryk missed a wonderful opportunity to score his first Chelsea goal after five minutes, the Ukrainian should have done so.
The visitors were down just 60 seconds later as Casemiro was given a clear header to turn in a Christian Eriksen free-kick.
Chances kept coming from both sides as Fernandes and Martial both made terrible first touches, leaving Kepa Arrizabalaga as their only opponent.
At the other end, Conor Gallagher flashed a shot across David De Gea’s net and Kai Havertz headed wide.
Then, United winger Antony was carried away on a stretcher after suffering an ankle injury that puts him in serious jeopardy of missing the FA Cup final in ten days.
However, the home team ended the game as a battle in first-half stoppage time when Casemiro’s no-look ball allowed Jadon Sancho to get behind the Chelsea defense and set up Martial.
In the second half, Ten Hag’s team should have scored more goals to round off a strong performance, but Fernandes hit the crossbar and Eriksen strangely missed turning in Tyrell Malacia’s cross from close range.
After being fouled by Wesley Fofana, the Portuguese midfielder Fernandes did eventually score from the penalty spot.
More disastrous Rashford was given the opportunity by Chelsea’s defense to become the first United player to achieve 30 goals in a season in ten years.
When Fofana’s ball went astray, Fernandes pounced and set up the England international, who beat Kepa Arrizabalaga after two efforts.
The £10 million loan fee spent on Joao Felix in January for a few months with little left to play for sums up Chelsea’s season as a waste.
The Portuguese international, however, provided a late consolation that prevented De Gea from recording his 18th clean sheet of the year by rushing forward and finishing low.