Ander Herrera produced another midfield masterclass against Chelsea to steer Manchester United to an historic win at Stamford Bridge.
The midfielder was simply irresistible, seemingly always in the perfect position to win the ball or move play up the pitch.
And he produced a truly Paul Scholes-esque kind of run from deep in midfield to head Man United into the lead from Paul Pogba’s cross, setting in motion a performance thronging with strength and intellect during which Chelsea could not lay a glove on the visitors.
As these numbers show, Herrera was the most important player during a textbook big-game performance from Solskjaer’s team.
Ander Herrera won more tackles (6) and made more interceptions (5) than any other player on the pitch vs. Chelsea.
🎵Ole, Ole Ander Herrera 🎵 pic.twitter.com/vAueBWAaVE
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 18, 2019
There was a point, at around 75 minutes, when even the BBC commentators stopped pretending to convey any semblance of a contest between Chelsea and United.
Chelsea’s players were visibly deflated. Their attacks were going nowhere and every time the ball went into Jorginho or N’Golo Kante, he was there. He was always there.
There is more to Herrera’s big-game performances than hard work on the training ground. The Spaniard has a kind of appetite for these encounters, as if activating a second set of gears, which takes his presence on the pitch from useful midfielder to United’s iron fist.
Herrera pressed, won the ball, broke up play, pressed some more, scored, pressed some more, won the ball, kept pressing, fouled somebody, and only had to be restrained from pressing by the full-time whistle.
You can understand why Chelsea players had given up long before the game was over.