It was a grisly evening in Manchester, and the football wasn’t much better. United saw the lion’s share of possession in the opening few minutes, though soon relinquished control of the game, and Chelsea settled into long stretches of blunt build-up play. At one point in the first half, an entire ten minute stretch passed in which United didn’t have a single touch in the Blues’ third of the field.
Gradually errors crept into the game, and a few chances opened up. On the half-hour, Chelsea keeper Édouard Mendy narrowly escaped embarrassment when he unthinkingly dragged a short pass just wide of his own goal. At the other end, Fred was caught napping in the middle of the pitch by Christian Pulisic, though his effort was deflected wide by Victor Lindelöf.
The best opportunity of the half came ten minutes before the interval, when some one-touch passing from Bruno Fernandes and Juan Mata caught Chelsea’s defence out of position, and sent Marcus Rashford through. He might have done better one-on-one, though Mendy was able to deflect the low drive wide with his legs. At the other end, Chelsea felt they should’ve had a penalty when Harry Maguire wrestled César Azpilicueta to the ground in the penalty area, though the infraction escaped unpunished.
United saw more of the ball early in the second half, but again lacked the quality to break Chelsea down. By the hour, Solskjær shook things up with a double substitution, introducing Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba for Juan Mata and Dan James. Cavani almost scored with his very first touch in a United shirt, flicking a low Bruno Fernandes cross just wide at the near post.
That, however, was as exciting as it got. Despite the late introduction of Mason Greenwood, United looked as toothless as their visitors. Only in stoppage time did either goalkeeper have a meaningful save to make, when Mendy dived at full stretch to turn a curling Rashford effort behind, and salvage a point for his side.