Yorke Double Caps United Party
Manchester United 3-2 Chelsea (Sky Sports)
FA Carling Premiership
Ben Reynolds reports
Chelsea and Manchester United served up a bank holiday lunchtime feast as they produced five goals in Uniteds triumphant homecoming after securing the Championship on the south coast two days ago.
With the Premiership won, United were still concentrated - there was the small matter of keeping their season unbeaten at Old Trafford.
Two goals from Dwight Yorke and one from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer secured the points, for what they are worth, for United, Chelseas repostes arriving courtesy of Dan Petrescu and Gianfranco Zola.
Basking in the afternoon sunshine, players enjoyed an unusual amount of space as the game had the feel of a Charity Shield match, although it meant so much more for Chelsea.
Just two weeks ago, Europe beckoned from all angles for Gianluca Viallis men. Still in the European Cup before their titanic struggle with Barcelona, in contention for a top three place, and an FA Cup final against Aston Villa to look forward to.
Now they may have to rely on an FA Cup win to guarantee European football next season, a horrifying prospect given their galaxy of international stars who thrive on such competition.
United fielded an almost full-strength team, missing just Jaap Stam (ankle knock). That allowed Ronny Johnsen to make his first Premiership start of the season. For the strikers, they played under the watchful eye of new signing Ruud Van Nistelrooy, aware of yet more competition for places next season.
United were still celebrating their glorious entry onto the pitch when Tore Andre Flo tested Raimond Van der Gouw with a fine header within the first minute, the Dutchman at full stretch to tip over the bar.
At the other end Ed de Goey had a 15 minutes to forget. After nine minutes his poor clearance fell to Ryan Giggs, who bamboozled the Chelsea defence before squaring the ball to Yorke who comically missed an open goal from eight yards. Luckily for the 28-year-old the flag had already been raised for offside and his blushes were spared.
However a minute later De Goey waited too long to make a clearance from a back-pass, allowing Yorke to charge him down and rebound the ball straight into the net.
Petrescus goal came courtesy of a mistake from Phil Neville who failed to clear a lobbed ball into the box, the Romanian bringing the ball down and firing past Van der Gouw. The Blues were ahead 14 minutes later when Zola volleyed into the ground for the ball to bounce over Van der Gouw and reduce the already quiet crowd to silence.
Solskjaers equaliser felt inevitable given the charitable nature of both sides, but he did well to fire inside De Goeys near post from 16 yards after good work on the edge of the box from Phil Neville.
The second half failed to match the first for incident, perhaps epitomised by Paul Scholes yawning as he was brought on for Roy Keane just after the break.
Dennis Wise volleyed just over and Solskjaer headed likewise from a fine Phil Neville cross, and while it was understandable for United to drop their game, Vialli will be disappointed that his side could not raise theirs to inflict Uniteds first Premiership defeat at Old Trafford this season.
Instead Yorke grabbed his second with 20 minutes to go, pouncing on a rebound after De Goey had saved David Beckhams shot. Still the Londoners failed to chase the game as it petered out into a comfortable win for the celebrating Reds.
Man Utd: Van Der Gouw, Neville (Berg, 32), Johnsen, Silvestre,
Neville, Beckham, Butt, Keane (Scholes, 50), Giggs, Yorke, Solskjaer (Cruyff,
Subs not used: Sheringham, Fortune.
Booked: Solskjaer, Beckham.
Chelsea: De Goey, Lambourde, Leboeuf, Thome, Melchiot, Petrescu
(Sutton, 73), Wise, Deschamps (Morris, 46), Ambrosetti (Harley, 46), Flo, Zola.
Subs not used: Hogh, Cudicini.