88 min Yes, it’s McTominay. Meanwhile Dalot gets a cross in but puts it too close to Sanchez and too far from the onrushing Rashford. Erik ten Hag takes a note.
87 min There’s a bit of messing about on the touchline, and then Ally McCoist has to name the player of the match. Surely McTominay.
85 min Another classy cross from Reece James finds Enzo Fernandez in the six-yard box, but he gets ahead of the ball and can only flick it.
82 min As Chelsea break through Sterling, Dalot gets a yellow card and gives away a free kick in a dangerous area. Fernandez’s shot is easily blocked, and then Rashford comes for a cameo – not on the left but up front, replacing Hojlund, who has now played 763 mins in the league without scoring.
81 min McTominay, by the way, has six goals this season and five in the last eight league games.
80 min A weak header by James allows United to string together an elegant move. Fernandes to Reguilon, Reguilon to Garnacho, who shoots wide. United have now had 27 shots. Their average this season, before today, was 14 per league match.
78 min Mudryk has gone off, replaced by Broja, so Chelsea are now going 4-4-2.
76 min Reece James whips in a cross so good that it could be by Trent Alexander-Arnold, but nobody is there to meet it.
74 min United go on the break and Garnacho is clean through, only to be well foiled by Sanchez.
As it stands, Villa are third, just above City. “If Villa can maintain this form,” says Andy Flintoff, “then neither of these teams will be anywhere near fourth.”
72 min McTominay has a chance for a hat-trick! Sanchez passes out to Antony, who slips in McTominay. For once his touch lets him down and he scoops the ball wide.
Meanwhile Man City have gone 1-0 down at Villa Park.
70 min Reguilon did well on the underlap, fiddling the ball out to Garnacho. His cross curled in and McTominay nodded it in at the far post, simple as you like … But hang on, the VAR is on the case, looking at a push by McTominay. The goal stands!
It’s that man AGAIN!
69 min A spell of United pressure ends with Antony shooting over the far corner. Raheem Sterling is about to come off…
67 min The commentators debate what’s the best these teams can hope for this season. Fourth, says one. As high as that, says the other. The camera, rather cruelly, homes in on Sir Alex Ferguson.
65 min A sweet move from United – Reguilon finding Antony who finds Garnacho. He can’t decide whether to cross or shoot and ends up doing both at once, or neither.
63 min Fernandes leaves Caicedo for dead and gets a shot in, which goes for yet another corner. McTominay gets his head to the ball, but can’t get enough purchase on it to trouble Sanchez.
61 min Shaw has a shot, hitting it well on the half-volley with his right foot, and United think it’s been blocked by a Chelsea arm. The VAR doesn’t agree, and fair enough – the defender hardly had time to get out of the way.
60 min As the hour mark looms, Garnacho pays homage to his mate Dalot by overhitting a cross. Meanwhile Marcus Rashford trots down the touchline for a warm-up.
59 min A Chelsea counter is curtailed by Reguilon, with a fine sliding tackle, much appreciated by the sort of fan who likes to tell the players to get in there.
57 min Caicedo manhandles Hojlund, giving away a free kick. Erik ten Hag’s body language seems to eb saying it should have been a booking.
55 min Shaw plays a loose ball forward, giving Palmer the chance to release James down the right. His cross is crisp but comes to nothing, and he may have been offside anyway.
53 min Instead of end to end, it’s now mid to mid. But then Dalot crosses to Garnacho… and he tries something acrobatic, which goes way over. “He should realise,” says a voice on the commentary, “he’s had his one for his lifetime.”
50 min There were a couple of substitutions at half-time: James for Cucurella, understandably, and region for Lindelof, so Shaw has shunted across to centre-back and Rashford, if he comes on, still won’t get his preferred wingman.
47 min Chelsea win a corner and Shaw kicks the ball away again, unpunished. That would have been a very stupid way to get sent off.
From the corner, Jackson heads over the bar at close range.
”United just can’t hold onto a lead,” says Eric Anderson. “It’s kamikaze stuff… showing off, trying to get double hat-tricks. Now, watch, they’ll go in to meltdown and Chelsea will win 3-1.”
Just as I type that, Gaby Logan says that Ten Hag’s United have won all the league games in which they’ve led at half-time. It’s Erik v Eric.
Patrice Evra is on pundit duty. “I’ve nothing bad to say,” he beams. “Really happy.”
He is wearing no socks, and says this is because he lives in Dubai.
United have had 18 shots, Chelsea five. For shots on target, it’s seven-three. But Chelsea have edged the possession by 52 per cent to 48 – two numbers to strike fear into anyone.
United bossed the first half-hour, but missed a penalty. And then it came back to bite them as Cole Palmer’s ingenious solo effort cancelled out Scott McTominay’s well-taken opener. The last 20 minutes were pretty even, so Chelsea may be the happier team as they quaff their Lucozade.
45+8 min As Fulham score their fourth, Antony wins a free kick which doesn’t come to anything.
45+6 min The corner leads to another corner. Sanchez flaps at it, but wins a free kick as McTominay was getting too close to him.
45+5 min Cucurella, a square peg on the right, gets down the wing for once but has his pocket picked by Garnacho. Then the roles are reversed as Garnacho charges into the box and Cucurella concedes a corner.
45+3 min The crowd have gone rather quiet, possibly because they’re all in the queue for the overpriced meal deal.
45+2 min Plenty of time left for United to reply, and that’s just in this half.
45+1 min Chelsea deserve a goal… But United should have three.
45 min Palmer may have to be given an assist for this as well as a goal. He wiggled his way along the edge of the box, apparently going nowhere, but then saw a chink of light and slotted the ball into it, into the corner, past a startled Onana.
This is brilliant!
44 min Rumour has it there will be EIGHT extra minutes.
43 min The corner is taken short and passed on to Fernandes, who tries yet another shot, rather too optimistically.
42 min Bruno Fernandes fancies it, but his shot is deflected for a corner.
41 min Chelsea pass the ball around at the back. United win it back and get a free kick as Hojlund is felled by Caicedo. It’s five yards from the D.
40 min In other news, Fulham are 3-0 up against Forest and Brighton have come back from a goal down to lead Brentford 2-1. Nil-nil as yet at Villa Park. Are Man City heading for yet another draw?
39 min Now McTominay is down and receiving treatment from the physio after a collision with a defender.
37 min Garnacho takes United’s umpteenth shot, which is blocked. He evidently didn’t see Shaw overlapping into space to his left.
36 min Yet another chance! For Mudryk, racing down the left and shooting wide of the near post.
34 min McTominay sends Antony though – or would do if Antony wasn’t falling over. He remains a rather hapless figure.
33 min This is getting silly… Sterling is away, Jackson is alongside him, he should score but Onana pulls out a fine sliding stop in the David de Gea tradition.
32 min Two more chances for McTominay! A header and a shot, both saved by Sanchez at point-blank range.
31 min Sanchez blots his copybook by passing straight to Antony. He tees up McTominay, who takes United’s 12th shot of the game – blocked.
30 min There’s a pause while a linesman gets his mike sorted out. One cameraperson is so bored that he finds a famous face in the crowd: Jeremy Clarkson. No comment.
28 min Another fine move from United, involving a collector’s item: a right-footed cross by Antony. It ends up with a shot from Garnacho, also with his wrong foot.
United have had 11 shots already. And one poor penalty.
27 min Jackson looks larger to atone for his mistake, but he is being well policed by Maguire. The Premier League player of the month for November, no less.
25 min Chelsea do look as if they have a goal in them. They cruise into the box, Sterling goes down with Lindelof in the vicinity, but the ref isn’t interested.
24 min A moment of calm allows me to glance at the mail. “Don’t know if you agree Tim,” says Ross O’Connor, “but it seemed to me the way Fernandes did that little skip before hitting the pen he could only possibly hit it to the keeper’s right. That plus it being a generally weak effort made it a relatively easy save.” I do agree.
22 min Another yellow for United as Garnacho is booked for dissent. That’s two silly booking already, both down the United left. Reguilon and Rashford may be coming on earlier than they expected.
20 min That was a lovely move, after Jackson was dispossessed by Amrabat. Fernandes slipped Garnacho through. He pulled back to Maguire, whose shot was blocked, before McTominay, near the penalty spot, stepped in – flicking the ball up with his right foot and volleying with his left. Classy!
There it is!