Manchester United were held to a dull, scoreless draw by Londoners Chelsea on Saturday in Manchester. In a game where 3 points could have lifted the Red Devils into the top half of the table, the attack lacked the quality to break down a disciplined and resilient Chelsea side. After a formidable display against PSG, United fans had their hopes up for the game against Chelsea. Unfortunately, Chelsea’s parked bus tactics were met with an LVG-Esque backward and forward passing game from United.
Maguire, Greenwood, and Cavani were back in the matchday squad after missing the Paris trip. Ole’s choice of excluding Alex Telles and keeping Tuanzebe and VdB on the bench may have also surprised a few people. Luke Shaw and AWB partnered Maguire and Lindelof in defense. Fred and McTominay retained the holding midfielder positions, with Mata, James, Bruno, and Rashford up ahead. Manning the goal was world number 1 David de Gea.
Contrary to their showing against PSG, Manchester United had a drab start to the game as their passes failed to trouble the Chelsea back 5. Both teams approached the game with caution and were hesitant to throw players ahead in the attack. United’s first attempt on target came in the 25th minute off of a Maguire header. In a fairly uneventful first half, the Red Devils came close with a couple of chances from Mata and Rashford but failed to find the back of the net.
Chelsea started the second half strongly as Timo Werner and Pulisic began finding passes around the box, but were unable to beat United’s defense. In the 58th minute, Ole made a statement of intent bringing on Pogba and debutant Edinson Cavani. Cavani almost made the headlines with his first touch but his header found the side netting. Manchester United kept pressing Chelsea and a breakthrough seemed inevitable. Marcus Rashford struck a curler destined for the top corner in the dying minutes, only to be denied by Mendy. Edi Cavani had some good sights on goal but his old mate Thiago Silva thwarted his attempts. Manchester United and Chelsea shared the spoils in a slow and dull game. With a key game against Leipzig in midweek, United will look to bounce back and succeed in their continental competition.
- The center backs were great today. There were no defensive errors and they kept Werner, Havertz, and Pulisic at bay.
- Rashford was impressive when counter-attacking, however, his finishing was poor.
- Harry Maguire played a few good long passes that could’ve kick-started a good move but the forwards were unable to capitalize.
Things to Improve
- The quality of passing between the midfield and forwards must improve. If we want to break down defensive teams, this is very important.
- The forwards did not make any good runs into the box or into space. Only Edinson Cavani beat the offside trap and drifted into the box to give the midfield some options.
- Luke Shaw and AWB’s crossing needs to improve if we wish to score more goals.
United have a tough test in the Champions League against RB Leipzig in midweek. Though they did not win against Chelsea, they also avoided a loss and kept a cleansheet. Lindelof and Maguire had great games but the real man of the match was VAR.