Manchester

Manchester United's Rooney misses a penalty against Chelsea during their English Premier League soccer match in Manchester. Picture - Reuters.

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An eventful game ended with Manchester United securing a 3-1 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford, although the match will be remembered more for the number of missed chances than the well-taken goals.

Man United played their worst game this season so far and yet managed to secure a win against their title-rivals, which goes to show how much the team has improved since their thrashing against Barcelona in the Champions League in May.

Though it was Chelsea who looked the more threatening, for most part of the game, United should be given credit for vastly better finishing than their rivals. Early in the first half, Chris Smalling opened the scoring with a far-post header from an Ashley Young free kick. The Chelsea defence went limp, allowing the Englishman a free header, although replays suggested that he was offside. 

At the other end, Fernando Torres found the ball in the left channel of the box and decided to square for Ramires, rather than shoot. It was a certain goal, but the Brazillian's tame effort went straight to the scuppering David de Gea. It was just the first of many misses on the day.  

Chelsea, commendably taking the game to United, conceded the second goal despite impressing. Nani, who was invovled in everything good from Man United, smashed in a screamer from outside the box, sending Old Trafford into a frenzy. Wayne Rooney then added a third after all the work was done by the forward-rushing Phil Jones.

At half-time, Chelsea manager Andre VIllas-Boas brought on Nicholas Anelka for veteran Frank Lampard. The change had the desired effect as Anelka's glorious through ball was pounced on by Torres who did justice to the fine pass with a glorious dink with the outside of his right foot - his second goal in 23 games for Chelsea.

Shortly thereafter, Nani had an effort shake the crossbar after which he won a penalty for United when Jose Bosingwa brought him down from behind. Rooney, who has been in scintillating form so far this season, slipped in his run-up, smashing the spot-kick acres wide!

The Blues went back on the attack. The goal had lifted them, and importantly, Torres. The Spaniard was threatening at every opportunity thereafter. However, his torments will continue for one moment of madness. Being let through by Ramires, with seven minutes to go, the Spaniard rounded De Gea and was on the verge of scoring his second of the night. However, his sidefoot fell wide of the open goal, evoking memories of Ronnie Rosenthal's miss 20 years ago.

That miss seemed to punture Chelsea, while United were only too happy to see the game out.