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  • Writer's pictureBruno Asoka

Red Devils qualify for UCL thrashing Chelsea 4-1 at Old Trafford

Manchester United confirmed UEFA Champions League qualification with a 4-1 victory over Chelsea, extending their unbeaten run at Old Trafford to 28 games in all competitions in the process.

The goal for United going into this match was clear: if they could tie Chelsea, who were already certain of finishing their lowest in the Premier League since the 1995–1996 season, United would qualify for the top European club competition for the following season. Casemiro headed Christian Eriksen's free kick past Kepa Arrizabalaga to give his team the lead shortly after Mykhailo Mudryk squandered a wonderful opportunity at the other end. In overall, the first period was a good representation of the Blues' season; they had plenty of chances to equalize the score, but Kai Havertz and Conor Gallagher in particular were unable to even attempt their golden opportunities.

When Anthony Martial knocked Jadon Sancho's through ball into an empty net in the sixth minute of first-half injury time, it seemed unlikely that any Chelsea supporters in the away stand were shocked to see the Red Devils extend their lead. After the break, the hosts should have gone up three goals, but Bruno Fernandes could only hit the crossbar from within the penalty area. The goal just before halftime dealt a blow to the team's confidence, and even though Mudryk was stopped by David de Gea, Chelsea was fortunate not to be farther behind when Arrizabalaga sprinted to deflect Eriksen's flick away from the goal.

At times, Frank Lampard’s outfit looked like a cohesive unit, which is something of a rarity this campaign, but it was the same old story whenever they got a sight of goal, with De Gea never really troubled by efforts from the impressive Lewis Hall and Havertz. And the result was put beyond doubt midway through the second half, when Fernandes netted a penalty, after the Portuguese midfielder was fouled in the area by the disappointing Wesley Fofana.

Erik Ten Hag’s charges subsequently added a fourth through Marcus Rashford from close range soon after, and they can now look forward to elite continental football next term. Chelsea, meanwhile, did at least bag a fine consolation when João Félix embarked on a solo run and slotted into the corner. They end the season at home against Newcastle United on Sunday, and the final whistle in that match cannot come quickly enough for a Blues side looking back on a campaign to forget.

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