New Delhi: Robin van Persie's injury time goal to level the score against Chelsea was cheered as if it was the winner by home fans inside Old Trafford crowd on Sunday. As the ref blew the final whistle, Manchester United players embraced each other like they have done over the years on scoring late to secure improbable wins at the Theatre of Dreams.
Jose Mourinho was visibly disappointed, Louis van Gaal was relieved, but the biggest reaction to this rescue act from Van Persie was probably heard across town in the blue of Manchester from the City fans. Former England international Gary Lineker summed it up perfectly in his tweet.
That is a big goal. For Man United, for Van Gaal, for the Premier League.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 26, 2014
Manchester United probably won't challenge Chelsea fot the league title, but that point will give them a massive boost ahead of their November 2 visit of Manchester City. A defeat against the Blue would have dampened spirtis in the Red Devils' camp. But a adrenaline pumping goal in the dying seconds of a game will surely breathe new life into all players.
For Louis van Gaal, the point against Chelsea means the rebuilding process moves a step ahead. He not only managed to avoid defeat against Mourinho's side who have been rampant in the league, but his team held on their on against the Blue and were not outplayed as many had predicted. Despite his team languishing 8th on the league table, the Dutchman will know his methods are bearing fruit.
Robin van Persie has struggled off late and his form in front of goal as been patchy. With Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney around, the former Arsenal man has failed to replicate his form during the first season at United. Even Chelsea's first goal, a bullet header from Didier Drogba went in off the Dutchman's head. At such a testing time, his equalizer against Chelsea wouls have helped him regain his confidence.
The draw does not hold much significance to United as they are 10 points off the pace at the top. But taking two points off Chelsea meant Manchester City are still in touching distance of the London club. The general perception is that Southampton's challenge will eventually peter out.
If one takes a close look at the fixture list, it is evident Chelsea have played majority of their difficult games with great success. Their challengers however will face stern tests in the coming weeks, which could have enbaled Chelsea to pull further way and potentially kill the league race by the half-way mark.
Chelsea, still undefeated, are clearly the favorites, but Robin van Persie's late goal has potentially kept the Premier League race well and truly alive.