Manchester United came to Stamford Bridge Sunday with a very defensive, counter-attacking starting 11, hoping to get all three points via a smash and grab. Interim to the interim coach, Michael Carrick, picked a strong, defensive minded side minus top goal scorer this season, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Carrick set the team up hoping to sneak in a counter-attacking goal then defend for a clean sheet for all 3 points. United deployed a 4-3-3 with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles at the back, Fred, Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic in the middle and Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho up top.
The first half was a very cagey affair. Both teams pressed the other, with both teams choosing to play the ball out from the back. No one wanted to make a mistake and be responsible for giving a goal away. Chelsea dominated the first half but didn’t make much out of all the possession that they enjoyed. United’s defense held despite giving up 10 shots on goal. The best them fell to Callum Hudson-Odoi in just the 4th minute.
After a flicked header from Marcus Alonso, Hudson-Odoi nutmegs Lindleof to get through on goal. David De Gea makes a lovely save low to his left. Having only one shot on goal in the first half, United didn’t offer much offense in the first half.
Sancho Gets His First League Goal for United
United offered more an attacking threat in the second half resulting in Jadon Sancho getting his first Premier League goal for United in the 50th minute. Jorginho misjudges a clearance from Fernandes in his own half and sees the ball fall to a sprinting Sancho who is in on goal with Rashford along for the ride. The American winger gives Edouard Mendy a little shimmy of his hips and fakes a pass to Rashford and smoothly slots home the opening goal of the match.
Jorginho Gets His Redemption
After going up a goal United attacking play was full confidence. They were able to keep hold of possession and looked capable of getting another goal despite Chelsea’s pressure. In the 68th minute Chelsea are taking one of their 15 corners of the match. The ball falls between Wan-Bissaka and Thiago Silva.
The United right back was unlucky because as he went to clear the ball his kick ended up hitting the back of Silva’s leg and the Chelsea defender fell down like a ton of bricks. The ref, Anthony Taylor, had a good look at it and awarded Chelsea the pen.
Wan-Bissaka was extremely unfortunate, with replays showing he had his eyes on the ball the whole time and Silva should have won an Academy Award. Jorginho steps up to take the penalty kick and despite De Gea’s impressive form, the Spanish keeper was sent the wrong way making it 1-1.
Ends With a Point a Piece
Both teams would end up getting one more shot to get all three points. In the 88th minute Mendy gives the ball away to Fred near the top of his box. The Brazilian tried to chip the ball over the keeper but misjudges it horribly and the ball ends up back in Medy’s hands.
In the 98th minute of the match Christian Pulisic crosses the ball to a wide open Antonio Rudiger. The German International hits the ball first time but blasts the shot high over De Gea’s net and that was that. United’s defense looked much, much better today. Lindleof and Bailly both made strong cases for themselves at the center of defense. Carrick showed he can employ some decent pressing with Fred and McTominay in the midfield at the base of it
With it looking like Ralf Rangnick will be our new interim coach and then stay on as some kind of director of football, the future looks very bright for United.