The first 15 minutes of the match were full of action on both sides of the pitch, with Chelsea and Manchester United not afraid to launch themselves into attack. There was even a VAR call due to suspicions of a handball from Callum Hudson-Odoi in our penalty box that were duly waved away upon a second look.
While Chelsea dominated possession, the midfield duo of Scott Tominay and Fred on Manchester United’s side offered a good battle versus Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kanté in these first few minutes of the match. But at least on the creative side of things, it seems the hosts had a better idea of what to do with their ball retention even though the final touch was lacking at times.
The few times our defence was tested, they did a fairly good job. Instead of desperately “hacking” the ball off the box, it was best to let it run past the goal line for a goal kick. Pressure from United might have lead to some nervy moments, but nothing to be majorly worried about.
Minute 35 was when we had the closest chance to an opener in the first half, with a marvellous pass from Antonio Rüdiger setting Hudson-Odoi off on a short run down right to put in a sweet cross for Olivier Giroud to bury it past David de Gea. Too bad the veteran missed the ball by inches, as it would have been a well-deserving goal given the construction of the play alone.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was forced to make a substitution at half time, with Hudson-Odoi apparently picking up an injury. Reece James was the man to fill in his shoes and make his presence felt soon after his introduction with a rebounded shot from Hakim Ziyech’s attempt early into the last 45 minutes of play.
James’ entrance was followed by Christian Pulisic in place of Giroud, offering to us a first look into his bearded look, looking like an entirely new player. Timo Werner followed in place of Hakim Ziyech, who tried his best today from the right wing.
Both Pulisic and Werner tried shots at goal, with Werner coming quite close to grabbing the winning goal first with via Reece James cross narrowly missed, and then with a strong shot against De Gea. But neither were able to provide Chelsea with the edge needed to get the three points at home today.
- Very few changes made from the lineup that beat Atlético Madrid 1-0 last Tuesday. In midfield Jorginho made way for N’Golo Kanté, while Timo Werner was replaced by Hakim Ziyech in the starting lineup today.
- Subs are Reece James for Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic for Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner for Hakim Ziyech.
- CHO was a bright spot for Chelsea both on attack and defence today. Hope the injury is nothing serious.
- United had little trouble keeping Giroud mum while he was on the pitch, aside from that CHO cross. While he ages like wine, perhaps we should have gone with other option(s) from the get-go given the Red Devils’ plans today.
- Next up: Liverpool at Anfield for the Premier League.