Manchester United came back from a late Chelsea goal at the end of the first half, scored by Kyle Scott. Regan Poole sent a promising ball into the box towards James Weir, but Joseph Colley buried the ball into his own net whilst trying to clear the threat. United extend their unbeaten record at home and earn their plaudits for a better performance after their 2-0 capitulation away to Southampton nearly a week ago.
Warren Joyce made a few changes to his team following on from their 2-0 defeat to Southampton on Monday. Sam Johnstone replaced Dean Henderson and Demetri Mitchell replaced Tosin Kehinde. The defence was made up of Sadiq El Fitouri, Axel Tuanzebe, Regan Poole and Joe Riley, with Scott McTominay playing as the holding midfielder. James Weir returned to midfield, playing alongside Devonte Redmond, Matty Willock and Josh Harrop, with Mitchell leading the line. United looked more determined heading out to face Chelsea, days after Joyce called then deluded and questioned their ambition. United started well on the attack with Mitchell looking like the player that could do the business today. Josh Harrop got forward in the initial stages of the match, putting a good chance together for United.
Chelsea put it out for a corner, which failed to threaten the visitors. United look a little more resurgent in their attempts to impress their manager, who was less than impressed almost a week ago. Chelsea imposed on United’s defence, breaking through with Dominic Solanke, who was thwarted by Johnstone, who was on the ground and used his feet to clear the ball. United then cleared, albeit to a Chelsea player, which amounted to nothing damaging. Chelsea looked a little more organised heading into the tenth minute, but United still had that determined mind about them, which could carry them through to turn their criticism from Joyce into praise. Warren Joyce’s side are unbeaten in 20 home matches, their last home defeat was in January 2015, twelve of the unbeaten matches had been played at Leigh Sports Village.
Chelsea, on the attack, broke through United from the midfield and seemed threatening. Johnstone got to the ball to thwart their chances of scoring. United still playing well and having their fair share of attacking play so far in the match, which will impress the manager, but getting a goal will go a long way to impress Joyce, and head of the Academy, Nicky Butt who was watching in the crowd with John Murtough. Scott McTominay was shown United’s first yellow card for a foul on Solanke, which seemed to hurt McTominay too, with both players receiving treatment heading into the halfway point of the first half. After treatment to both players, play was a little disjointed but McTominay and Solanke seem to be struggling, with Chelsea replacing Solanke with Ugbo in the 30th minute and Joyce ordering Tosin Kehinde to warm up, in view of replacing the United midfielder.
Chelsea, immediately after the change had a chance on goal, which was deflected by a United player with Chelsea being given a corner, which was played short but Axel Tuanzebe closed down the visitors chance to break the deadlock, albeit a poor one. Scott, moments later shot on goal from distance, which was wide of the target. Ten minutes before the end of the half, United replaced McTominay with Kehinde, with Joyce looking to change things up after the player failed to recover from the knock he received during the foul he was yellow carded for. Chelsea again was testing United heading into the final few minutes of the half, threatening on goal, but Tuanzebe thwarted their attempts to break the deadlock. United need to turn up the pressure on the visitors, threatening to break the deadlock themselves.
Chelsea had another shot on goal in the 40th minute, which was again thwarted by Tuanzebe, who cleared the ball from the line. Chelsea, starting to take charge of the match were dangerous. United have a little work to put in to change the direction of play, which seemed to be all Chelsea heading into the end of the first half. With two minutes remaining in the first half, Mitchell got forward and threatened, trying to hold off Chelsea, but his attempts to score just did not work. Chelsea won a corner, which was too high to threaten United, with Tuanzebe clearing, Chelsea winning possession further up the field. Four minutes were added at the end of the first half, with Chelsea taking the lead a minute in through Scott. Chelsea was 1-0 up at the end of the first half. United had some work to do in the second half in order to impress the manager.
United started the second half brightly, getting forward at times, but still not threatening to level the scoreline. Harrop looked to be one of the players that wanted to level the match, playing strongly on the left-wing, letting the ball into Chelsea’s final third and trying to earn something from the match. He squared the ball to Kehinde, who only had the option to pass back, in order to keep possession. The bass then found its was to Weir, who was flagged offside, heading into an open goal, where his shot went over the crossbar, much to his blushes. United looked like they wanted something from the match, but proving that they could get something was what Joyce wanted to see. Chelsea then went into a resurgent period, looking for their second, but United kept them at bay, for now.
Axel Tuanzebe is looking like the best player on the pitch for United, doing all be can to thwart Chelsea from doing any more damage. Perhaps Jose Mourinho is watching and rubbing his hands with glee. He rates the player, as do many and he could well see his chance in the first tea, this season, being that United are challenging in three competitions next month. Just after the hour, Mitchell and Weir got forward, with the former threatening Chelsea. He shot towards goal, the keeper parried then got the grasp of the ball again. Close for United, who now seem to be banging on the door. Josh Harrop, seconds later challenged Chelsea, got his shot on target, which was pushed clear by the keeper, with United winning a corner, which came to nothing. United seemed to be back in the game and searching for that equaliser.
United had a great spell half way through the second half, taking the game to Chelsea, attacking well, but with the visiting team parking the bus, space was a problem for United, who were searching for that equaliser, banging on the door and not giving up. Chelsea was getting forward, but not in numbers as it seemed they did not want to get caught on the break. United could have this in the bag with a credible chance on goal, something to test the keeper. United made their second change of the match with Mitchell coming off for Charlie Scott. United now need to break Chelsea down without the threat of pace from Mitchell, which may be much harder for them. This could be United’s first defeat in a home league match at this level since early 2015, since then, they have scored 47 home goals, conceding just ten.
United made their third change in the final ten minutes of the match with Ethan Hamilton making his U23’s debut, replacing Harrop. United had a bright bit of play, attacking Chelsea and looking for that equaliser, which seemed like it was never coming. Regan Poole crossed the ball into the area, to the waiting Weir with Chelsea scoring the goal for United. United was back in the game. Hamilton tried to advance into the box with the ball, with United looking for their second, but he was powered out by the visitors. United looked dangerous but seem to be content with the fact they have levelled the match. United ensured that a defeat was not on the card, maintaining their home record at this level. United now have a break before facing Manchester City at the Etihad on Friday 9th September, the day before the two sides go head-to-head in the Premier League.
Goals: Joseph Colley OG 85′
Assists: Regan Poole 85″
Manchester United: Johnstone; El Fitouri, Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley; McTominay (Kehinde 35′); Weir, Redmond, Willock, Harrop (Hamilton 83′); Mitchell (Scott 77′)
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson, Doughty
Bookings: McTominay 22′