Manchester United held league leaders Chelsea to an improbable 1-1 draw struggling At Stamford Bridge.
In Michael Carrick’s first Premier League game as manager, he started with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench. In a 4-3-2-1 configuration, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford started up top with Bruno Fernandes behind them. Nemanja Matic started in midfield alongside Scott McTominay and Fred. Meanwhile, following his red card against Watford last week, club captain Harry Maguire has been suspended for the encounter.
Chelsea was missing a few players, as was to be expected. With Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly beginning in defence, Alex Telles resumed his recent streak of starts. N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Romelu Lukaku, Mason Mount, and Kai Havertz were all on the bench, apart from N’Golo Kante.
Chelsea began with Timo Werner up front, flanked by Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech. Marcus Alonso replaced Ben Chilwell, who was injured, as a left wing-back. The holding midfielders were Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Manchester United started the game as predicted, sitting deep and barely generating a chance in the first half. Chelsea controlled the majority of the ball but struggled to make the last pass. After a scoreless first half, the game came alive in the second with Jadon Sancho’s first Premier League goal.
Jorginho, the European Footballer of the Year, made a blunder in the 50th minute. The Italian was the last man for Chelsea on a Chelsea corner. Jorginho received clearance from the United defence. His inability to keep possession of the ball resulted in a two-on-one situation with Eduardo Mendy against Sancho and Marcus Rashford. Sancho chose to score himself for his second goal in as many games.
However, following a corner, a brawl in Manchester United’s box led to Aaron Wan Bissaka tripping Thiago Silva from behind. Jorginho swiftly made amends. He sent David De Gea the wrong way, resulting in a penalty that he scored into the bottom left corner.
Manchester United was fortunate not to concede in the first half because they played too narrowly. It was clear that they were attempting to be as compact as possible.
The second half got off to a much better start, albeit Chelsea still had the upper hand on the ball. United had to defend for the whole game while having limited chances to attack Chelsea on the break. Manchester United will be pleased with their defensive performance, despite their poor passing and decision-making. Several United players were repeatedly guilty of handing the ball away cheaply.
Fred, Matic, and McTominay were not particularly valuable on the ball, but they put in jam-packed performances, especially Fred. Romelu Lukaku was entered for the final ten minutes but did not have a clean shot on goal.
Like the previous goal, Chelsea gave the ball away cheaply a second time in the 87th minute. Mendy made a dreadful clearance that landed right in Fred’s lap. Instead of delivering the ball to the red shirts inside the area, the Brazilian decided to attempt and lob Mendy from outside the box. Mendy collected the ball with ease.
The draw will suffice for Manchester United. However, they were only able to obtain it thanks to Chelsea’s uncharacteristically poor attacking performance. The Blues were unable to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.