Stalemate at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea and Manchester United once again can’t be separated.
The games are coming thick and fast in this unorthodox Premier League season. Every match and point is proving to become even more crucial as the weeks unwind, with the race for top 4 blossoming as we speak.
Both Chelsea and Manchester United both looked to carry their good form into their clash on Sunday afternoon, as Tuchel’s side hosted the Red Devils in a heavyweight Premier League clash.
The Blues entered the game unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel, having failed to taste defeat in their opening 8 games under their new boss. The visitors also fancied their chances, having won 5 out of their last 10 fixtures against the South-West London club.
Manchester United made 5 changes to their team that faced Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday night, with David de Gea, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford also returning to the starting 11.
Similarly, Chelsea also made changes, as Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kanté and Hakim Ziyech were all named in the first team. The Blues remained without Thiago Silva due to injury, whilst Tammy Abraham was also missing from the Chelsea bench.
The first half begun relatively quiet, with Chelsea in control of possession as they prepared to break United down.
However, controversy sparked on the 13th minute, with VAR at the centre of attention once again following an alleged handball from Callum Hudson-Odoi in the penalty area.
United at first had a free kick from distance, which was struck by Rashford and comfortably saved by Mendy. The ball was then loose in the penalty area and rickashayed from player to player, before then striking the arm of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Greenwood.
Both sets of players appealed for a handball in their teams’ favour, and there was even tension on the touchline between Thomas Tuchel and Ole Gunnar Solskjær. However after all of the drama, nothing was awarded and play resumed.
On the 21st minute, Chelsea came close to finding the opener themselves. The move stemmed from Mason Mount, who did brilliantly to switch the play to the right wing where he found Hudson-Odoi. The wing-back then linked up with captain César Azpilicueta, before firing a half-volley at goal which narrowly bounced just wide.
After just nearly conceding a penalty at one end, Hudson-Odoi very nearly put his side ahead at the other.
10 minutes later, the Blues came close again as Olivier Giroud intercepted a miskick from David de Gea and attempted to catch the Spaniard off his line from range.
Despite scoring a fantastic goal in midweek, this was one for Giroud to forget, as the Frenchman skied his effort way over the crossbar.
Giroud was involved once again on the 35th minute, fractionally missing out on Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross which was fizzed across the penalty area.
Despite Chelsea’s early control, Manchester United appeared to be finding their groove just before referee Stuart Attwell blew his whistle for half time. It was a game of fine margins, with neither side doing enough to develop a lead in the first 45 minutes of play.
As the second half arrived there was a change for Chelsea, as Reece James replaced Callum Hudson-Odoi – who looked to have picked up an injury in the first half.
Although James perhaps provided a little more defensively certainty for the Blues, they still hunted for the opener, and came close in the first 3 minutes of the second half as Hakim Ziyech was denied by David de Gea.
Chelsea started the second period strong, looking confident and secure on the ball. Solskjær’s side opted to sit back, before countering Chelsea’s attack in a move led by Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese international moved the visitors into a dangerous position, however his pass was just slightly off and failed to find the emerging run of Rashford.
This attack however brought United to life in the game, as Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay and Fred all looked to test Édouard Mendy.
However, United couldn’t find that all-important goal that would’ve given them the bragging rights they desired in the Premier League clash.
Chelsea had chances themselves in the game, with Mateo Kovačić and César Azpilicueta trying their luck with attempts on goal. Both efforts were denied by David de Gea – who has a fantastic record of keeping clean sheets at Stamford Bridge.
The best chance of the game for Chelsea came on the 82nd minute, as Reece James produced an astonishing cross into the penalty area with substitute Timo Werner ready to pounce. The cross was however intercepted by Victor Lindelöf, who managed to steer the ball away from the German striker.
As the game begun to wind down into its final minutes, United attempted to counterattack Chelsea one last time. Scott McTominay led the attack alongside a host of United players; however, his pass was intercepted by the active N’Golo Kanté, who did enough to keep Chelsea’s unbeaten streak alive with the game finishing 0-0.
After the whistle:
For the second time this season, it remained goalless between Chelsea and Manchester United. Despite what the score line suggests, the game featured plenty of action and the points could have been taken by either side.
Despite being their second 0-0 in a row, the result perhaps benefits Manchester United more due to their position in the league. The Red Devils will also be glad to push their unbeaten streak to 9 games, where they accumulated 6 clean sheets in the process. Next up for Solskjær’s side is a trip to Selhurst Park on Wednesday evening.
For Chelsea, the draw leaves them just outside of the top 4, as they remain in 5th place. Despite their lack of goals, the Blues have looked far better defensively under Tuchel as they earned their 7th clean sheet from their current 9-game unbeaten run. Things however do not get any easier for Chelsea in the next few games, as they travel to Anfield on Thursday night, before taking on Everton and Leeds in their following games.
Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United.
BBC Sports player of the match:
Harry Maguire (Manchester United).
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta ©, Christensen, Rüdiger; Hudson-Odoi (45’), Kovačić, Kanté, Chilwell; Mount, Ziyech (78’), Giroud (65’).
- Subs: James (45’), Pulisic (65’), Werner (78’).
Manchester United: de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelöf, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Greenwood (79’), Fernandes, James; Rashford.
- Subs: Martial (79’).
Chelsea (57%) vs Manchester United (43%).
Chelsea (18) vs Manchester United (11).
Shots on target:
Chelsea (6) vs Manchester United (4).
Chelsea (3) vs Manchester United (4).
Chelsea (11) vs Manchester United (12).
- (credit | BBC Sport).
- (credit | Sky Sports Football).