United v Chelsea: Story of the match
Manchester United were held to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford as Chelsea left the Reds still looking for a first home win of the Premier League campaign.
Goalmouth action at both ends was at a premium as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard’s sides slugged it out stubbornly.
Marcus Rashford came close in both halves, particularly with a very late curling shot that was beaten away by Edouard Mendy, and new boy Edinson Cavani was also a whisker away from a debut goal.
But in the end it was honours even and our first home point of the campaign.
FIRST HALF - REDS UNDER SIEGE BUT RASHFORD HAS BEST CHANCE
Solskjaer selected the same XI that had beaten Newcastle in the Premier League last weekend 4-1, despite our excellent midweek Champions League away win against Paris Saint-Germain.
There was no early opposition goal to overcome like at St James’ Park but, nevertheless, the Reds had some questions to answer as Chelsea dominated the first half-hour. Fortunately the visitors didn’t turn that superiority into major chances. They only had a Reece James free-kick that attempted to catch out David De Gea and a couple of Christian Pulisic efforts to show for their efforts.
United, though, had the best opportunity to take the lead when Marcus Rashford burst away on the counter-attack but saw his shot strike Edouard Mendy’s outstretched leg.
It was a confidence booster for the Chelsea goalkeeper who, minutes earlier, had almost passed the ball into his own net for what would have been a bizarre opener for United. The Reds then posted up the second best chance of the half when Juan Mata’s snapshot forced another save from Mendy as Solskjaer's side began to get some momentum going forward.
SECOND HALF - CAVANI CLOSE BUT NO DREAM DEBUT
With Lampard’s side continuing in control, possession-wise, Solskjaer made United’s first changes 13 minutes into the second half.
Paul Pogba replaced Mata and Edinson Cavani came on for James, and it was almost an immediate masterstroke by the boss as our new no.7 Cavani flicked a whipped cross from Fernandes into the side netting from the edge of the six-yard area. It would have been a dream opening minute for the Uruguayan.
Chances though continued to be rare as both sides struggled to break the deadlock. Rashford had a 69th-minute opportunity when brilliantly sent on his way by a sweeping long ball from captain Harry Maguire but the striker was eventually blocked out.
Mason Greenwood came on as an 83rd-minute sub for Scott McTominay as the boss looked for a late winner. But it was Rashford who almost snatched it with a cracking shot just as we entered stoppage time, only for Mendy to save superbly, keep a clean sheet and preserve a share of the points for Chelsea.
Old Trafford action gallery
Check out some of the best pics from United's home clash with Chelsea.
United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay (Greenwood 83), Mata (Pogba 57), Fernandes, James (Cavani 57), Rashford.
Subs not used: Henderson, Tuanzebe, Matic, van de Beek.
Booked: Shaw, Fred, Rashford.
Chelsea: Mendy, James, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Chilwell, Jorginho, Kante, Pulisic (Ziyech 80), Werner (Abraham 71), Havertz (Mount 71).
Subs not used: Caballero, Rudiger, Kovacic, Giroud.
Ole says United could have won it
“Obviously there are two good teams out there. There are some quality defenders and definitely two quality keepers as well. Their keeper made two fantastic saves from Marcus. Those were maybe the two brightest moments in the game and he [Edouard Mendy] pulled off some fantastic saves. All in all it was an even game but I thought if there was going to be a winner it should have been us with those chances. It could have been us.”
De Gea happy with clean sheet
"I think for us it is very important to start to keep clean sheets, especially at home. Today we defended really well, we didn’t concede many chances. We always try in every training session to improve, to make the team better defensively, to work with each other and talk to each other. It was important today to get a clean sheet against a top team. That’s the way to keep going and the way to winning games."
MAN OF THE MATCH
United supporters voted Victor Lindelof our Man of the Match, in recognition of the Swede’s diligent defensive performance. The cultured centre-back was excellent throughout the Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, playing as part of a back three alongside Axel Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw.
Lindelof continued that good form against the Blues at Old Trafford, this time in a more traditional defensive four with his regular centre-back partner Harry Maguire, who returned from a slight injury. Reds legend Gary Neville described Lindelof and Chelsea defender Thiago Silva as the best players on the pitch during his Sky Sports commentary, and the fans have agreed with that educated opinion.
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