Sweeping Turkish side Fenerbahce away at Old Trafford in Europe’s second string competition may have given Manchester United the false impression that their season was on track.
Jose Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge overshadowed all the pre-match talk, as the action on the pitch became a secondary in the thoughts of many, something which may have accounted for United's lapse in concentration in the opening 30 seconds.
United have not won a Premier League game in the capital since May 2015, when they beat Crystal Palace 2-1, a trend that continued on Sunday as Chelsea scored four unanswered goal in west London.
Mourinho received hugs, smiles and handshakes from former players including Blues’ captain John Terry, however there was a frostier greeting from playmaker Eden Hazard. The turn in form of Hazard symbolised the beginning of the end for Jose Mourinho in his second spell at Stamford Bridge which ended in December 2015.
Mourinho has unpleasant homecoming
It was always going to be a tricky return to Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho. The Manchester United manager bemoaned his side's fixture list in the league. In a bid to freshen his team he made five changes from the midweek European victory. Chelsea in contrast have had eight days rest period since their last outing
Over the years Chelsea fans became used to an animated Special One on the touchline. Now, in the opposite dugout, the Manchester United manager was withdrawn. In part, that was due to the electric pace the home side began the game at, as former Barcelona midfielder Pedro settled any nerves around the ground just 30 seconds in thanks to an error-ridden visiting back four.
Chelsea’s tactical set-up with Pedro, Hazard and N’Golo Kante dominating the midfield left the away side struggling to replicate the discipline displayed at Anfield six days ago.
N'Golo perfects his role
Arguably the Frenchman's best game in a Chelsea shirt, as he settles into London life. The summer signing from Leicester replicated the form in which won the East Midlands club the league last season, as Chelsea now look capable of challenging in the top-half of the table once again. He single-handedly occupied the space in the middle of the park, releasing the ball to Hazard and Pedro to devastating effect. Manchester United midfielders Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini struggled to dictate the game and get creative players in England midfielder Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford who occupied the wide positions, as the young Englishmen were forced to spend more time defending than attacking.
The Frenchman's prize for impressive afternoon was scoring the last of the four, his first goal in a Chelsea shirt.
Ibra becoming a problem?
It’s been over a month since the 35-year-old scored in the league. The Swede netted against city rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on 10th September in vain. Along with having to re-organise the club's defence, Mourinho will have to solve the attacking situation. Unlike club captain Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems to be undroppable for Mourinho. If United are to get back to winning ways the manager will have to reassess his attacking options too. Ibrahimovic isn't getting much in the way of service at the moment from Lingard and Rashford, the latter looks more suited to playing alongside the his more experienced colleague than running down the line to little impact. The big Swede looks static at times and, at the moment, doesn't look a natural fit.