Didier Drogba, making his first start in the Premier League this season, struck the decisive blow when, in the absence of injured forwards Diego Costa and Loic Remy, he powered in a 53rd minute header which went in off van Persie to give the veteran Ivory Coast forward his first English top-flight goal since March 2012. Robin van Persie eventually replied with an equalizer deep into stoppage-time to snatch a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Chelsea were on the brink of going six points clear at the top of the table when defender Branislav Ivanovic was sent-off late on for a second bookable offence.
From the ensuing Angel di Maria free-kick, Marouane Fellaini’s header was well-saved by impressive Chelsea goalkeeper Thibault Courtois but van Persie followed up to score.
This result left Chelsea four points clear of second-placed Southampton and ensured honours were even between Jose Mourinho and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, under whom the Blues boss worked when the Dutchman was in charge of Barcelona.
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