What was supposed to be one of the games of the week, turned out to be a drab affair. The rivalry between Manchester United and Chelsea is always a highly sought of tie and is always expected to be a high-voltage clash. But, it’s safe to say that this time both the managers seemed to adopt a more pragmatic approach after having a whirlwind of a start to the season. It was a disappointing result for us. However, Lampard should be the happier manager to have walked unscathed.
First Half Analysis – Chances at a Premium
Solskjaer selected the same XI that started in the Newcastle win. Many expected Tuanzebe to start alongside Maguire after that scintillating performance against PSG. But the gaffer preferred to give him a rest, considering that this was his first senior appearance in 10 months. The match started with both teams looking to dominate possession and both were comfortable to hold the ball. Chelsea dominated and made more chances in the first half-hour. Reece James and Christian Pulisic came closest to testing De Gea, but overall the defence held up well.
Bruno had a shot from range comfortably saved by Mendy. United’s best chance fell for Rashford after Bruno pressured and nicked the ball off Jorginho. Mata played a lovely ball in front of him, but the Englishman couldn’t finish after being 1v1 with Mendy. The Chelsea GK made a good save with an outstretched leg. It must’ve lifted the confidence of Mendy who almost passed the ball into his own net minutes ago.
We were lucky with a rather controversial foul on Azpilicueta by Maguire as the two captains handled each other in the box. Maguire seemed to have pulled down the Chelsea captain during a corner. It could’ve possibly led to a penalty being awarded to Chelsea, had there been a VAR check. Although it wasn’t a clear-cut penalty, you can get sent off for so much as to touch a player’s cheeks these days. Penalty calls at the other end were rightly denied after Rashford went down in the box. Mendy made another good save from Mata’s snapshot.
Second Half Analysis- ‘Almost’ a Dream Debut
In search of a cutting edge, the gaffer brought in Pogba and Cavani in place of Mata and James, respectively. ‘El Matador’ almost had an instant impact on the game. Bruno whipped in a dangerous cross from the left flank and Cavani flicked the ball into the side netting. What a start and what an introduction could that have been!
The Red Devils grew into the game as it proceeded. We were creating more chances and dominating possession. Rashford had yet another great opportunity to turn this tie into a win when Maguire sent a brilliant long ball. But he couldn’t react fast and was blocked off by Chelsea players. Greenwood came on for McTominay in the 83rd minute as the last roll of dice from Solskjaer to get all three points. Marcus Rashford yet again had the opportunity to take this game to bed in injury time. However, this time he hit a cracking shot which seemed destined to end up in the back of the net. But Mendy was yet again equal to it. Edouard Mendy’s saves meant that Chelsea and Manchester United had to share the spoils tonight.
Manchester United vs Chelsea – Conclusion
This was a really disappointing match as both teams lacked the cutting edge. They failed to produce anything special and it soon turned into a drab game of football. The game was void of much quality. Manchester United fans must’ve had high expectations after a convincing win over PSG and Chelsea continuing to stutter.
To take the positives from the game, it was our first clean sheet of the season, and hopefully one of many. Cavani looks match-fit and seems to be a more than capable backup striker. Maguire’s goal and our team’s performance in Paris seems to have given him a boost as he looks a bit better now. Lindelof had a good game and is willing to drive forward. We’re getting better as a defensive unit, with Wan-Bissaka getting back to his best. Rashford has the quality to be a top player but he needs to improve his decision-making. We would be looking forward to continuing our European form as we face Nagelsmann’s RB Leipzig next.