October 24, 2020
Manchester United drew 0-0 with Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It was a better result for Frank Lampard than it was for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and perhaps it will be seen as a defensive display for both teams who will be happy to keep clean sheets. Chelsea hardly pressured United to go in front and United had a fair few chances to win the match. Edinson Cavani made his Premier League debut and almost scored with his first touch, having another chance late in the match after Mason Greenwood played a good ball into him. It was not a defeat, as have been the case in the last two matches at Old Trafford, which is the main positive to take here.
It was a pretty even start to the match for both United and Chelsea. At times, Lampard’s side looked under pressure and seemed to play behind the ball which is not the same of the Chelsea teams of the past and a worrying warning sign for Lampard and the club, but that is their problem at the end of the day. Christian Pulisic had the first chance in the 18th minute of the match with a right-footed shot from outside the box. Harry Maguire had a chance, from a header, in the 25th minute but it was blocked. Scott McTominay also came close for United in the 29th minute with a right-footed shot from outside of the box.
Bruno Fernandes had an opportunity to put United ahead in the 31st minute of the match, shooting with his right foot from outside the box forcing a save from Edouard Mendy. Pulisic then had two chances in as many minutes, one of them saved by David De Gea the other blocked. Marcus Rashford, one of the two top scorers at the club so far this season, forced a save from Mendy and then the Chelsea goalkeeper made a poor error to give away another corner, which United failed to capitalise from. Luke Shaw was the first player to be booked, seeing a yellow card in the 39th minute for a foul on Reece James.
Former Chelsea attacking midfielder Juan Mata could have put United into the lead in the 41st minute of the match with a left-footed shot from just outside the box, which was saved at the bottom left corner by Mendy. McTominay then had a chance a minute later with a header from right in the centre of the box, which did not hit the target after a corner taken by Mata. Kai Havertz was the second player booked in the match, in added time at the end of the half. United had seven shots in the first half; three of those were on target. Chelsea had three shots; one of those on target. The second half would need to be so much better for both teams.
With a start to the second half similar to the first 45 minutes, Solskjaer made his first change, a double substitution in the 58th minute of the match with Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani, making his United debut, replacing Mata and James. Almost immediately, Cavani nearly put United ahead with his first touch of the match after Fernandes took the corner short to Shaw before getting the ball back and putting it into the area for Cavani to work his magic with. Sadly it was not an immediate spark of magic from his first touch in a United shirt. I am sure there will be more to come from the Uruguayan, who seems hungry to continue his career at United.
United would needed to become more clinical in the latter stages of the second half with the match thill there for the taking. Chelsea were getting forward more after bringing on Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount for Timo Werner and Havertz but still there were a team that seemed a long way from the team they once were. United had another chance just before the 80th minute with Pogba lacking conviction with his effort. Chelsea then made their third change with Hakim Ziyech coming on for Pulisic. United then on Mason Greenwood for McTominay in the 83rd minute. He played in a good pass to Cavani, which was missed by Rashford’s effort was the best chance to win the match, which was saved by Mendy.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay (Greenwood 83′), Fred; Mata (Pogba 58′), Fernandes, James (Cavani 58′); Rashford
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Tuanzebe; Matic, Van de Beek
Bookings: Luke Shaw 39′, Fred 47′, Marcus Rashford 76′; Kai Havertz 45+1′
Written by John Walker