It was the first time the Reds had failed to score in a home league game since December 2009, against Aston Villa, and the hosts ended a clash that often lacked any real intensity with 10 men after Howard Webb decided to flash a red card at Rafael in the closing stages.
Sir Alex Ferguson handed a chance in midfield to Tom Cleverley and Anderson and the Brazilian made an early impact inside the opening couple of minutes by imposing himself on the proceedings. However, the Blues created the first chances with Demba Ba backpedalling to head a Mata cross off target under no pressure and Rafael making an important block when Ba looked to profit from another Mata centre, which Anders Lindegaard could only paw at.
Rafael was soon up at the other end, beating Ashley Cole and seeing his cross squirt out of Petr Cech's grasp before being cleared to safety. Cleverley then swept well wide after an intelligent chested lay-off by Robin van Persie but Chelsea had the best effort of the half in the 14th minute. A mistake by Patrice Evra high up the pitch granted Oscar the freedom of the flank to latch onto Frank Lampard pass and accelerate forward. As he continued unchecked, it needed Lindegaard to push the Brazilian's shot onto an upright.
There were plenty of shots on goal but most of them lacked any real threat. Ryan Giggs rolled an effort at Cech following snappy passes by Rafael and Anderson while Victor Moses blasted over when a Phil Jones slip presented the ball to Ramires and he, in turn, fed Juan Mata. Lampard and Ba also had attempts and United almost carved out a rare clear sight of goal when Cleverley's pass released van Persie but his drive was blocked by Cesar