Chelsea show fighting spirit to grab dramatic draw vs. Jose Mourinho's Man United
LONDON -- Three thoughts on the dramatic 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
1. Barkley snatches draw in thriller at the Bridge
Ross Barkley struck a 96th-minute equaliser for Chelsea against Manchester United to spark a chaotic ending to this 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
United had looked set to claim their first Premier League win at Chelsea since 2012 after Anthony Martial struck twice in the second half following Antonio Rudiger's 21st-minute opener.
But Barkley's leveller, after Rudiger's shot following David Luiz's header against the post was saved, was enough to extend Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season under Maurizio Sarri.
The celebrations of Barkley's goal led to a tunnel confrontation involving Jose Mourinho, who reacted to Marco Ianni, one of Chelsea's coaching staff, appearing to taunt the United bench by running into the technical area.
The incident led to a delay in the game restarting, but the game was over seconds later, with United having gone so close to claiming a crucial win.
United's first-half performance was so poor that they could not have complained had they gone in two or three goals down.
But Mourinho's team were transformed after the interval, and they arguably deserved to come away with the three points.
Barkley's goal denied them the win, though, and led to the scenes at the end of the game that will almost certainly prompt an investigation by the Football Association.
2. Chelsea show crucial fighting spirit
Quality is the most important ingredient for any team hoping to win a league title, but fighting spirit is not far behind, and Chelsea showed it in huge amounts to snatch a point from this game.
The ability to score so late in games was a hallmark of Sir Alex Ferguson's great Manchester United teams.
It was something that Manchester City also displayed on numerous occasions on their way to winning last season's Premier League, so Chelsea will not underestimate the value of Ross Barkley's late, late strike.
There was less than 40 seconds remaining of the six minutes of added time when Barkley scored.
United were camped in their own penalty area, defending for their lives as they attempted to hold on to a huge win.
But Sarri's players refused to throw in the towel, and they were rewarded when Barkley scored.
This may ultimately look like two points dropped if Liverpool and Manchester City pull clear in the title race, but it may also prove to be the point that made all the difference for Chelsea.
And it will also give them the confidence and belief that they can salvage any situation going forward, no matter how much of a lost cause it appears at the time.
3. Lukaku blows hot and cold
Romelu Lukaku touched the ball just nine times during the first half, including a woeful header from six yards which flew high and wide over the Chelsea crossbar.
It was 45 minutes that the Belgium striker would want to forget, when he showcased all the worst sides to his game for Manchester United.
But after the interval, he was transformed, playing a key part in the build-up to Martial's goal when his link-play with Paul Pogba in the early stages of the move saw him touch the ball more times than he did in the whole first half.
Consistency has been Lukaku's big problem for United this season, and he showed just why he can be so frustrating during this game.
His first-half performance bordered on lazy, with the former Everton man doing nothing to chase down the Chelsea defenders and go in search of the ball.
He offered nothing. When he doesn't score -- he hasn't scored for United since mid-September -- Lukaku can be a luxury.
But in the second half, he was hungry, determined and a constant threat to Chelsea because he upped his game and increased his work-rate.
If he continues to struggle to hit the back of the net, Lukaku will not lose his place if he plays as he did in the second half at Stamford Bridge.
But he can't allow himself to perform as poorly as he did in the first half.