It was a wonderful advert for the Barclays Premier League but the thunderous 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea at Manchester United yesterday was overshadowed by events later on Sunday as it was reported that England coach Fabio Capello had publically criticised the decision of the FA to strip Chelsea’s John Terry of the England captaincy.
Terry was not in the Chelsea team yesterday, his injury made question marks over the pre-match handshake ritual moot. Instead, United’s captain, Rio Ferdinand, and his fellow defender Patrice Evra were singled out for booing from the home fans but Ferdinand claimed on Twitter later that the abuse had inspired him and his fellow United players to pull back a 3-0 deficit to draw the game.
He said: “I got booed by the cfc fans today,….well done guys thanks for inspiring me & the lads! That’s like fuel to me!”
Sir Alex Ferguson was pleased with the way that his team had salvaged the draw but declared that United had been the better team and deserved to win the game.
“I see it as two points dropped.” said Ferguson.
“We played so well, especially as we got off to a terrible start.
“Apart from a period of 10 minutes after half-time when we got off to a terrible start and lost two goals, I thought we were the far better team.”
Ferguson was also furious with linesman Darren Cann after referee Howard Webb failed to send off Chelsea debutant Gary Cahill after just 10 minutes when the Chelsea defender fouled Danny Welbeck on the edge of the area. Cahill seemed to have denied a certain goal scoring opportunity but Webb didn’t produce the red card.
“Welbeck’s clear through and he was brought down.” said Ferguson.
“I don’t blame Howard Webb. He needed help in that situation [from assistant referee Darren Cann] and he didn’t get it.”
Johnny Evans had given Chelsea an unlikely first half lead with an unlucky own goal before Juan Mata’s sweetly struck volley put them 2-0 up seconds after the restart.
David Luiz’s header appeared to take a thick edge off Ferdinand’s shoulder to wrong-foot David De Gea in the United goal to leave the home fans in rapture before United won a pair of penalties which were both converted by Wayne Rooney.
Substitute Javier Hernandes completed the comeback with a header 6 minutes from time although Chelsea could still have stolen the points back from United with two late chances by Mata and Cahill which De Gea saved brilliantly.