Manchester United drew 0-0 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Both teams matched each other evenly with United the team to be disappointed from the match which now sees Manchester City 12 points clear at the top of the table with United a point better off than third placed Leicester City, who lost to Arsenal earlier in the day. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be happy with the point but not with the fact that they failed to score, which is starting to become a worry at this stage of the season. United will face Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening before the Manchester derby at the Etihad next Sunday, which will see Pep Guardiola rubbing his hands with joy based on United’s current goalscoring form.
Chelsea started the match well with Mason Mount showing his ability on the ball, getting it forward and pestering United at the back, which is obviously the weak spot in the squad this season. United made a block on an attack which saw Hakim Ziyech play a pass into Mount, between Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka but United managed to nullify the attack. Chelsea won a corner a few minutes later but that came to nothing. United won a free-kick in the 13th minute with Bruno Fernandes gating half a sight on goal before Mount got into the way. Marcus Rashford forced a save from Eduoard Mendy a minute later, bending his effort over the wall. David De Gea then made a save at the other end following a Mateo Kovacic shot on goal.
There was a possible penalty decision with VAR deliberating after Callum Hudson-Odoi seemingly handled the ball inn his penalty area with Mason Greenwood on the hunt for the ball. After the referee ws made to look at the screen, nothing was given as the ball might have touched Greenwood’s arm too, making it an unfair penalty if it was given, which is fair enough. United did not seem to appeal for the penalty, which suggests there was nothing in it anyway. United then got caught upfield with Mount finding Hudson-Odoi on the right before exchanging passes with Cesar Azpilicueta, firing a bouncing ball from the edge of the box, which was far wide of the target, luckily for United, who needed to up their game.
United then started to find the ball more and get upfield with it, which is the way Solskjaer will have ordered them to play ahead of kick-off. Chelsea’s press was a problem for United though and they would need to find a way to break through and find a goal, otherwise a tactical Chelsea side could steal a victory with United’s defence the weakest area on the pitch at this time. In the 36th minute, Chelsea came close to getting something after Antonio Rudiger pinged a lovely ball over to the right, finding Hudson-Odoi who was hugging the touchline. He delivered a cross into the box for Olivier Giroud, who stretched to get the ball after Lindelof lost him but he did not get a touch on the ball and another Chelsea attack came to nothing.
In the 41st minute of the match, N’Golo Kante got himself into a tangle with Fred as Chelsea were upping the tempo of the match again. With possession in United’s favour, Chelsea failed to clear their lines and a Fernandes shot was deflected behind for a corner, which was better than their last but still cleared by Azpilicueta to deny United anything from the match so far. Towards the end of the half, there was slick passing from both teams with Lindelof playing a route one ball, which nearly tore open Chelsea, then nodded from Fernandes to Rashford before Kante nipped in and put the ball out for another corner, which United failed to get the benefit of. Two minutes were added on at the end of the first half with the scores still 0-0 at the break.
At the start of the second half, Chelsea made their first substitution with Hudson-Odoi being replaced by Reece James after United had found a way though the defence in the first half, now seemingly with Tuchel looking to thwart that. However, after seeking the substituted player on the sidelines, he seemed to be carrying an injury towards the end of the first half, which is the reason for the substitution. In the 50th minute of the match, Fred became the first player to be booked after he fouled Mount from behind. United then started to get into the game, showing some good play on the attack to get a chance around the 60 minute mark, which was denied by Mendy. Ben Chilwell was then shown a yellow card a minute or so later, becoming Chelsea’s first booking.
In the 65th minute of the match, Chelsea made their second substitution with Olivier Giroud being replaced by Christian Pulisic with United still not looking like making any changes, which seems a little late with more inspiration needed to break down this Chelsea side who were doing all they needed to stop United at this point, not that United have been attacking them for long spells of the match. Both teams for nullifying each other so far, which is a fair match but both teams need to find a winner in this match to start to work towards the end game of the season which is to secure top four and UEFA Champions League football. Fred had a good chance in the 68th minute, shooting with his right foot, which was wide of the target, unfortunately for him and United.
In the 78th minute, after a good period of play for United, Chelsea made their third substitution with Timo Werner replacing Ziyech. United made their first substitution with Anthony Martial replacing Greenwood in the 79th minute. United had a good chance late in the game with Scott McTominay breaking forward with Daniel James, Rashford and Martial, playing the ball into the box, a Chelsea defender stopping the cross and James recovering the ball. He ran to the left, tried to play Luke Shaw forward but he didn’t want to be caught offside, letting the ball go out of play. Chelsea then got on the attack, trying to find a winner from this stalemate with three added minutes at the end of the half. United overcame late pressure with the match ending 0-0.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Greenwood (Martial 79′), Fernandes, James; Rashford
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Diallo, Matic, Van de Beek
Bookings: Ben Chilwell 62′; Fred 50′, Harry Maguire 79′
Written by John Walker