Manchester United and Chelsea play out uninspiring 0-0 draw; Hosts let off by VAR

Premier League football match Reports

2020-21 English Premier League match report – Manchester United v Chelsea – Old Trafford – Saturday, October 24, 2020

Manchester United 0 Chelsea 0

Gunnar Ole Solksjaer’s Red Devils ended a sequence of back-to-back Premier League defeats at home to Crystal Palace and Tottenham but failed to register a win at Old Trafford as their match with Chelsea ended in a goalless draw on Saturday.

Solksjaer brought in Harry Maguire, Juan Mata and Daniel James back to replace Axel Tuanzebe, Alex Telles and Anthony Martial from the side that won 1-4 away at Newcastle last week.

Chelsea made one change from their 0-0 draw with Sevilla in the Champions League, with Mason Mount dropping to the bench and Cesar Azpilicueta coming into a back three.

The Blues had a hairy moment in the first half when goalkeeper Mendy flashed the ball across his own goal in trying to pass to Thiago Silva.

Apart from that, Bruno Fernandes firing a free-kick straight at the Chelsea keeper and Blues right-back’s Reece James’ dead ball attempt from out wide were the only noteworthy events in an uninspiring opening 30 minutes.

Mendy was forced to make a save from a Rashford drive and parry away Juan Mata’s curling effort just before the interval.

Chelsea will feel hard done by not having been allowed a penalty when Harry Maguire, in dealing with a Chelsea corner, wrapped his left arm tightly around Azpilicueta’s neck before the Spaniard fell to ground. The incident happened well inside the box but the VAR surprisingly let Maguire and United off.

Solskjaer brought in Paul Pogba and debutant and deadline-day signing Edinson Cavani at half-time to try and break the deadlock. The 33-year old Cavani almost got onto the scoresheet immediately as his side-footed attempt from Bruno Fernandes’ corner missed the near posts by inches.

Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic then failed to an inviting Reece James cross but it were the Blues who came under pressure from United in the closing stages.

Thiago Silva was made to work hard at the back as he blocked a tame shot from Pogba before impressively thwarting an attempt from his former PSG team-mate Cavani.

Mata did sent Rashford through after Fernandes won possession inside the visitors’ half but Mendy denied the English international with a smart stop with his right foot.

Lampard sent off the rather subdued German duo of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in the 70th minute and replaced them with Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham in the hope of bringing life into the side’s attack.

United were forced into some frantic defending in the 85th minute but the visitors were unable to find a winner.

Rashford, still in some discomfiture, as a result of going into a tangle of legs with N’Golo Kante earlier, delivered the only shot on target in the second half in the dying moments with a

crisp goal-bound curler which a diving Mendy kept out.

After having conceded in four out of their initial five Premier league outings, the clean sheet at Old Trafford on Saturday and the one with Sevilla on Wednesday provides Lampard with the kind of defensive platform so missing from their games this season and the previous one.

Man Utd starting XI in a 4-2-3-1 formation:

De Gea (goal), Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, James, Fernandes, Mata, Rashford

Subs: Cavani, Pogba, Greenwood

Chelsea starting XI in a 3-4-2-1 formation:

Mendy (goal), Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva, James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell, Havertz, Werner, Pulisic

Subs: Abraham, Mount, Ziyech

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