Points shared in the south today as Manchester United pulled out a 1-1 draw at the death against Chelsea. The match was a frustrating one, full of seemingly missed opportunities, but they leave without dropping all three points against difficult opposition.
Manchester United showed a lot of promise in the first half hour of the match, and probably should have scored on two separate occasions. The first a chance for Rashford, getting past Cucurella and onto a Bruno Fernandes through ball, only for Kepa to close him down before he could get off a clean shot. He would make another chance for himself on the break several minutes later, shooting powerfully from a wide angle and forcing a save.
The second chance, and the most clear chance of the match to that point, was a miss by Antony. Lisandro Martinez won a header near the halfway line, sending Bruno forward and searching for options. Antony was the most central one, and was free for a shot from the top of the box with much of the goal to aim at, but his right footed shot was smashed wide of the target.
Graham Potter made an early change in the first half, subbing on Matteo Kovacic for the struggling Cucurella in an effor to strengthen midfield. It certainly worked at the end of the half, allowing the Blues more of the ball, but Aubameyang wasn’t able to capitalize on a couple decent opportunities. The teams would go into the break level at 0-0.
A change came early in the second half for United as well, with Fred coming on for Jadon Sancho. The English winger had another quiet day, and with limited forward options ten Hag instead opted to strengthen his numbers in midfield after Potter did the same.
The game came to an unfortunate pause around the hour mark after Raphael Varane went down with an apparent non-contact knee injury. He was distraught as he received treatment and left the pitch, though he did walk off without much help. The hope is obviously that he’ll be ok without missing too much time, or the World Cup with France next month.
The game slowed down a bit, Chelsea had a good chance to score through Trevoh Chalobah on a corner but his header went over. United responded with a decent spell of possession however, and Bruno Fernandes forced a save from Kepa with a decent shot from distance. A couple bad efforts followed, one from Bruno and one from Eriksen, as United simply tried to make things happen entering the final stage of the game. Scott McTominay and Anthony Elanga came on for Eriksen and Rashford respectively, as ten Hag looked for a final push.
It looked sure to end 0-0 until McTominay gave away a penalty by grabbing Broja on a corner kick. Jorginho converted and gave Chelsea the lead. It was an idiotic play by the Scotsman, grabbing and dragging down Broja before the corner had even been played. It capped a frustrating second half in which United made very little, and a game which they could have taken control of earlier.
They were rescued in the end by a Casemiro goal, a header that Kepa got a hand to only for it to just bounce in off the post and over the line to level the game. The argument could be made that they deserved something from the game, and they head home with at least a point.