WHEN the end-of-season DVDs come out, this match will deserve a disc all of its own.
And there will be plenty of categories to choose from – comedy penalty starring Wayne Rooney, miss of the season by Fernando Torres, sensational goal featuring Nani and X-rated tackle from Ashley Cole.
The scoreline does not begin to tell the story of one of the most amazing games ever in Premier League history. Honestly, you could replay it again and again and never get bored.
It could have been 6-6, 7-7, 8-5 – anything.
Yet, at the end of it all, United made it five wins out of five to register their best start to a season in the top flight for 26 years – before Alex Ferguson was manager.
Even better the noisy neighbours, Manchester City, dropped points at Fulham giving Fergie’s men a two-point lead at the top. United have scored a staggering 21 goals so far in their league campaign, averaging more than four a match.
This was also their
18th straight home league win equalling a record that has stood since 1904-05.
But it was difficult to understand how Chelsea were 3-0 down by half-time having played some great stuff.
And had Torres hit the target after pulling the visitors back to 3-1, the Blues might have gone on to rescue a point.
The Spaniard was much more like a £50million striker than the 50p one he has looked like since his switch from Liverpool. However, his blunder here is one which will haunt him for many a year.
Torres was so often the thorn in United’s side as a Red and, when he went through with seven minutes left latching on to Ramires’ pass, he got most of the job right.
He cleverly switched the ball from his right foot as he skipped round David De Gea but, with the goal gaping, he somehow shot wide from six yards.
Robert Earnshaw can rest easy. His howler for Wales against England has been relegated to second place in the miss of the season contest. Torres has it in the bag.
Manager Andre Villas-Boas, who lost his first league game as a boss since the season before last – stretching back 37 matches – felt Chelsea should have had a point.
The visitors could have been ahead inside two minutes when De Gea saved with his foot from a Ramires shot. But in the eighth minute Ashley Young’s free-kick sailed over to the far post where Chris Smalling got in front of Frank Lampard to head in.
Torres then scuffed a good chance wide after Anderson gave the ball away.
Ramires could not do any better, either, when the Brazilian’s mis-hit from Cole’s cross allowed De Gea to save.
By 37 minutes United were 2-0 up as Nani collected out wide, went past Juan Mata and unleashed an absolute screamer which gave the diving Petr Cech no chance. Chelsea could not believe they were two behind and it got worse on the stroke of half-time.
Phil Jones exchanged passes with Rooney and battled his way into the box.
John Terry came across with a sliding clearance which hit Nani and, as luck would have it, fell into the path of Rooney who made no mistake for his ninth goal of the season.
Villas-Boas replaced Lampard with Nicolas Anelka at the break and moved Mata in-field – and the benefit was instant.
Anelka played a defence-splitting pass for Torres, who coolly flicked past the helpless De Gea.
It was only Torres’ second goal in 24 games as a Blue but it was one which had been coming.