Talking Points: United 0 Chelsea 0
Manchester United and Chelsea played out a tightly contested 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.
We’ve detailed anything you may have missed, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men earned a much-deserved point against Frank Lampard’s Blues.
Ole mentioned in Friday’s press conference that he was considering a few alterations to our pre-match routine for home matches, and the boss decided the team should stay in a hotel the night before the Chelsea game. Explaining the choice, he told MUTV: “I am pretty sure the wives and girlfriends are not happy with me, but we want to stay together as a group. One of the strengths at United, always, is that we're a family and we're close together. Everyone knows now that we don't share dressing rooms and we can't have meetings for as long, so it is a chance to at least have 15 minutes eating together and we felt that was the right way to go.”
Old Trafford action gallery
Check out some of the best pics from United's home clash with Chelsea.
When the United team was announced an hour before kick-off, there was, unusually, as much interest in the bench as in the starting line-up. That was because the Reds’ new recruit Edinson Cavani was included in the matchday squad for the first time. The Uruguayan was introduced on 58 minutes and was inches away from scoring within seconds of his introduction, but his outside-of-the-foot effort rippled the side netting. Overall, he enjoyed an encouraging debut, but fans will no doubt get a better look at the striker over the coming weeks, and in more open and attacking contests.
To say it was pouring down in Manchester on Saturday is an understatement. We’re used to a wet day in this part of the world, but at times it was biblical in the build-up as well as during the Chelsea clash - one look at the players and coaching staff could tell you that! The unpleasant weather did perhaps have an impact on the pace of the encounter, with both sets of players seeming to make sure their footing was sound before taking a forward touch. Although, despite the cautious approach at times, it was United who spent more time on the attack, and registered 14 shots to the visitors' six.
Facing the pace and precision of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic, the Reds’ backline had to be at its very best on Saturday to emerge with a clean sheet. Marshalled by skipper Harry Maguire, who returned to the side, our back four put in a solid performance and gave the visitors’ talented attackers very few shooting opportunities. On the rare occasions they did breach the defence, David De Gea was on hand to rebuff every shot he faced. In particular, the Spaniard held a curling Reece James free-kick and a Pulisic effort from inside the box, both during the first half.
The stalemate at Old Trafford brought to an end an impressive recent sequence for United in which we’ve scored in all of our last 29 matches in all competitions, dating back to the 0-0 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in February when Bruno Fernandes made his debut.
HOW THE TABLE LOOKS
That draw at Old Trafford leaves United 15th in the standings with a game in hand on the majority of sides in the division. Ole’s men are also just three points off a Champions League spot at present, in what is a very congested Premier League table. Next up for the Reds in this competition it’s Arsenal, who have picked up nine points from their opening five matches. The Gunners will visit Old Trafford next Sunday, 1 November, a few days after we host RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
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