After the match report, we take a closer look at a disappointing afternoon in west London.
The Match Samuel Eto'o came back to haunt United, four-and-a-half years after opening the scoring for Barcelona in the Champions League final defeat in Rome, with a hat-trick that condemned United to defeat in west London. And yet – as in that final – it had all looked so different early on, with the Reds forcing chances and keeping the ball so well that the home fans were just beginning to get edgy when their lone front man seized upon Chelsea's first real chance of the game. Understandably shaken, the Reds took time to go at the hosts again, but two smart finishes from Eto'o either side of the break took the game away. David Moyes' substitutions provided impetus, with Javier Hernandez's goal-poacher's strike 12 minutes from time raising hopes slightly, but the task was too great and Nemanja Vidic's dismissal for a challenge on Eden Hazard capped a frustrating afternoon. While Vidic's red card was slightly harsh, on another day Rafael may have followed his skipper down the tunnel for a lunge on Gary Cahill.
The Goals When things aren't going your way, goals like Chelsea's first just make matters worse. United's bright start came to an abrupt halt when Samuel Eto'o unleashed a shot that looped over David De Gea off Michael Carrick's outstretched foot. For his second, the Cameroon striker showed off his predatory instincts to bury the ball past De Gea from close range and his hat-trick was completed when Eto'o tapped home a close-range rebound after Cahill had forced a save from the keeper. Chicharito showed keen reactions to touch Phil Jones' shot past Cech for what turned out to be a consolation effort.
Star man Adnan Januzaj's lively display provided a bright spark for United. He played up front, ahead of Danny Welbeck, in the early stages and the problems he posed for John Terry and Gary Cahill show that playing as a striker is not beyond his considerable talents. Fear is something the 18-year-old is not familiar with, and the Reds will need his relentlessness to help in a swift return to winning ways.
Sub-plots Januzaj and Welbeck battled valiantly where Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie would have played if fully fit. They acquitted themselves well, but Welbeck will rue the great opportunity he put at Cech with United only one goal