The Gameweek 26 of the English Premier League saw a fascinating and delightful clash between 2nd placed Manchester United and 5th placed Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge, the home ground of the blues. Both sides were aiming for a win with Man U looking to maintain the gap between table-toppers Man City and them.
Chelsea was also in search of a win as they intended to close in for a fourth-place finish to secure a berth in next year’s champions league. Thereafter, The match ended in a stalemate with the score tied at 0-0 and both teams failing to break the deadlock. Chelsea was so far unbeaten under Tuchel and that streak further continued after this match.
Ole Gunner Solskjaer made five changes to the side that drew with Real Sociedad in the Europa League at Old Trafford. David De Gea eventually came in for young sensation Dean Henderson. Eric Bailly in Central Defence and Alex Telles at Left back paved the way for Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw to play.
Nemanja Matic in Central Midfield was replaced by Fred and Marcus Rashford started the match as a striker in place of Anthony Martial. Later on, in the 78th minute, Mason Greenwood was substituted and Martial played the final minutes of the match.
Manchester United(4-2-3-1):- David De Gea; Aaron Wan Bisakka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire(c), Luke Shaw; Fred, Scott Mctominay; Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James; Marcus Rashford(Anthony Martial).
Thomas Tuchel made 3 changes to the side that won away to Atletico with Giroud’s acrobatic bicycle kick giving them the edge in the first leg. Additionally, young left-back Ben James Chilwell replaced Marcos Alonso in the position.
N’Golo Kante came in central midfield in place of Jorginho and Timo Werner was left on the bench for Hakim Ziyech to start. Later on in the 46th,64th and 77th minute in the match, Reece James, Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner replaced Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olivier Giroud and Hakim Ziyech respectively.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1):- Edouard Mendy; Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger; Callum Hudson-Odoi(Reece James), N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Ben Chilwell; Hakim Ziyech (Timo Werner), Mason Mount; Olivier Giroud(Christian Pulisic).
The first half started in a blitzkrieg manner with Chelsea having the lion’s share of the ball and building on quite dangerous attacks in the Man U box. The first quarter of the match saw the Blues dominating the game by having almost 81% possession and going on with some quality attacking football.
In the penultimate minutes of the first quarter, Bruno Fernandes’s free-kick from outside the box was palmed away by Mendy and the second ball was handled inside the 18-yard area by Hudson Odoi. The referee though did not award a penalty for the away side even after consulting VAR. The bulk of Chelsea’s attacks revolved around Mason Mount in the final third and through Hudson-Odoi from the right flank.
He did keep the right flank quite lively with some alluring play by him. His volley from just inside the box went wide away. Ziyech’s shot, assisted by Hudson-Odoi, went straight into the hands of De Gea. Giroud blasted away a shot from 30 yards out later. It happened when a loose ball by De Gea came into the path of him. Manchester United slowly returned into the game after 20-25 minutes. They then took full control of the match after that.
There were quite a few ferocious attacks in the Chelsea box which later saw some golden opportunities being missed out, some shots blocked and some going for a corner. The real chance of the game came in the 35 the minute when Hudson-Odoi’s delightful cross into the box was left only for Giroud to head in but he couldn’t make any contact with the ball. The First Half ended with the Red devils unleashing some deadly attacks into the opposition box.
The start of the second half saw again some fine possession play by Tuchel’s Chelsea and the golden chance of the match came in this period. Chilwell’s swiftly ran from the left flank and played onto an excellent pass to Ziyech only for De Gea to make an awesome reflex save. On the other side, Mctominay’s and Fred’s shot from inside and outside the box was aptly saved by De Gea’s French counterpart, Mendy.
In this second half, Mason Mount was quite lively later in the attacking third. The attacks from the right flank were a bit dead with the forced substitution of Hudson-Odoi. Later, the whole of the match saw Chelsea having full control of the midfield. The duo of Kante and Jorginho keeping out Fred and Mctominay from gaining any command over midfield. This helped Chelsea in building some charming attacks from both the flanks as well as through the middle.
Was It A Boring Goalless Draw?
Eventually, Manchester United was not behind on any aspect. Their attack later mainly revolved around some glamourous counter attacks and some quality play through the middle. Greenwood blasted a shot from the centre of the box just inches wide. Fernandes and Rashford took shots but couldn’t convert on many occasions. Another glorious chance in the game came for Chelsea in the 82nd minute. Reece James played a beautiful cross into the box. Unfortunately, Werner was unlucky with his touch. He was unable to make any connection with the ball. Man U made a handsome counter-attack from the return ball. Unfortunately, Rashford wasn’t able to meet the through ball from James.
Chelsea’s attacks mainly were based on keeping possession of the ball and playing short quick passes. Man U on the other hand played some long balls and kept hold of the ball. They were attacking from the flanks, trying to pull out Chelsea’s defence and then attack. The match ended with points shared between the sides. Neither team broke the deadlock despite putting up a sensational display of football.
The Clash at Stamford Bridge did not bore. We saw some exciting rivalry between the sides and a VAR controversial decision-taking centre stage in the match. Solskjaer will be a disappointed boss. This gave Man City a 12 point advantage over the top, further cementing their chances of winning the league. Tuchel will hence be happy to continue his unbeaten run and take a point away from a quality side.
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