Down The Wings

Manchester United Fan Blog

Match Review: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images )

Manchester United hold league leaders Chelsea to a point at Stamford Bridge.

How did Manchester United set up?

Michael Carrick’s midweek selection signalled some sort of difference to previous management. The likes of Donny van de Beek were introduced alongside Anthony Martial while Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford were demoted to the bench.

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For the Chelsea game, one could argue United reverted back to type. Barring Cristiano Ronaldo’s shock omission and Harry Maguire’s suspension, the setup foreshadowed a “backs against the wall” kind of afternoon.

The team:

David de Gea (GK); Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB), Victor Lindelof (RCB), Eric Bailly (LCB), Alex Telles (LB); Nemanja Matic (DM), Scott McTominay (RCM), Fred (LCM); Marcus Rashford (LW), Bruno Fernandes (CF), Jadon Sancho (RW)

How it went down?

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Just as the setup suggested, Manchester United were up against it from the moment go.

Anyone who watched the first half on Sky Sports would have seen the most abhorrent stats from a United perspective. From possession to corner to passes in the final third, United were second best in all aspects.

There was a constant onslaught from the blues, United’s full-backs were folding under the pressure of Marcos Alonso and Reece James with the latter’s recent form meriting that kind of concern.

United’s lack of threat before the interval was embarrassing, Fernandes was sloppy in possession and felt his typical urge to being involved with everything. Marcus Rashford offered very little offensively and when tracking back. Chelsea created chance after chance, big changes were required at halftime, the only positive was United were yet to concede.

Second half

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United came out in the second half looking like a different side. Carrick’s counter-attacking plan was evident in the first half but United failed to muster any kind of quality possession in the first period.

Within minutes of the restart, United had taken what was an unexpected lead. Chelsea’s pressure earned them a set piece in United’s left-hand channel but the clearance was key. In a move Solskjaer would have been proud of, Fernandes launched the ball away from United’s area into Chelsea’s half. The ball was aloft and dipped in a way that Jorginho failed to control. The Brazilian’s mistake allowed Sancho and Rashford to pounce in a wolf-like manner.

What Sancho did to score the goal is key. For what to most would look like a simple one-on-one, Edouard Mendy’s lofty frame meant it would have been a challenge to slot the ball past him. Rashford’s run along with Sancho’s nonchalant body feint tricked Mendy into committing in the opposite direction for Sancho to find the net. Two in as many games for the winger can only breed confidence here on in.

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Following the goal, United took control for the first time, Rashford and Sancho’s runs caused the Chelsea defence all kinds of issues and United could have found another during this period of ascendancy. What perhaps prevented United from getting a stronger foothold and another goal was that Sancho had seemingly picked up some sort of injury and wasn’t running as aggressively, he was replaced with Cristiano Ronaldo being introduced in the 64th minute.

The change meant United lacked that same dynamism in forward areas and instead invited pressure. One of 15 Chelsea corners provoked their equaliser as Wan-Bissaka’s attempt at a clearance hacked at the back of Thiago Silva’s ankle which Anthony Taylor immediately deemed a penalty. Jorginho converted from the spot to even the score.

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Both sides created chances with the two teams trying to find the winner. The two clear-cut chances fell to two players you’d rather not leave the stakes of the tie to. Fred’s chance came as Edouard Mendy’s poor pass out of the back was found by the Brazilian midfielder who perhaps panicked and sort of passed back into the goalkeeper’s hands. A well-timed pass or a better finish would have seen United take the lead again.

Towards the end, Toni Rudiger failed to convert, sending a volley in the box into the stands.

Full time: 1-1

Jadon Sancho(50), Jorginho (69,p)

Man of the Match – Jadon Sancho

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The winger takes the award for me, Fred performed admirably showing the energy and desire, that’s been spoken about in the past but that moment of quality from Sancho was brilliant to see. His confidence is on the up!

Bigger picture

The Chelsea earmarks a serious end to the former regime with Ralf Rangnick likely to charge for the Arsenal fixture this Thursday. A lot of work needs to be done, these players have been able to let their standards slip after being babied over the last few years. Now we can look forward to a disciplined way of playing that both excites and wins games.

Founder, Editor, Writer.

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