The Reds ground out a creditable 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, with an energetic and robust display characterised by determined defending and rapid counter-attacks.
A mistake by Chelsea captain Jorginho allowed Jadon Sancho to soar clear and slide home the game’s opening goal, but United were pegged back by a penalty that was calmly converted by the same aforementioned Blues midfielder
Nevertheless, a point in west London represents an encouraging result, and the entire team deserve praise for the resolve shown. But who deserved our post-match award?
Sancho, for his nerveless goal? Or perhaps one of our tireless midfielders, Fred, Matic and McTominay? Did the votes go to David De Gea, for his usual reel of priceless saves? Or maybe one of our stout central defenders, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly?
The race for our prize was a close one, but who emerged on top?
Jorginho atoned for his earlier error with an equaliser from the spot as Chelsea recovered to draw 1-1 with Michael Carrick’s Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
Italy midfielder Jorginho looked to have set United on their way to victory in what is likely to be Carrick’s only Premier League match as manager before he is replaced by another interim appointment in Ralf Rangnick.
No ever-present Premier League team have earned fewer points from losing positions than Chelsea since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival in January, but Jadon Sancho’s first goal in the competition after Jorginho’s blunder was followed by similarly generous United defending.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s foul on Thiago Silva teed up a Jorginho penalty, with a point – taking the Blues clear of Manchester City – the very least the hosts deserved.
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United, who named Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, were beaten 4-1 by Watford last time out in the league in what proved to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last match at the helm and familiar frailties were soon evident as neither Wan-Bissaka nor Victor Lindelof cut out a straightforward ball, forcing David de Gea to save smartly from Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Only the frame of the goal kept United on level terms going into the break, as Antonio Rudiger’s long-range drive crashed against the crossbar, but Carrick’s side were rewarded for staying in the game early in the second half.
Jorginho’s loose touch under a lofted clearance gave Sancho a clear run from halfway and he used the potential square pass to Marcus Rashford as a decoy before slotting past Edouard Mendy.
Yet United gave Jorginho an opportunity to earn his reprieve when Wan-Bissaka hacked at Silva in the box, allowing the Chelsea midfielder to send De Gea the wrong way from 12 yards.
The result could have gone either way from that point, with Fred aiming a delicate chip into Mendy’s arms after the goalkeeper had inexplicably passed him the ball, before Rudiger rifled a last-gasp volley over the crossbar when unmarked.
What does it mean? United survive thanks to Chelsea sloppiness
Chelsea had 65.7 per cent of the possession and 24 shots to United’s three, but the scoreline finished level as the leaders paid for lax displays at either end of the pitch.
Jorginho gifted United one goal and Mendy might have presented them with another, while Timo Werner produced a typical Timo Werner performance in attack: six shots, none on target. Romelu Lukaku’s return from the bench should ease that issue.
For United, there was a shift in the direction Rangnick is likely to go – their pressing rewarded with a goal and Ronaldo, interestingly, starting from the bench – but they were fortunate to come away with a point.
Sancho shows signs of progress
Only Werner among the 20 outfield starters took fewer touches than Sancho, but at least Chelsea’s dominance meant their forward’s rare contributions came from shooting positions. Sancho had precious little to work with.
But in scoring his second goal in two games, Sancho was ruthlessly efficient, also setting up a Bruno Fernandes effort that meant he was involved in two of United’s three shots. He should have a big part to play under Rangnick.
Jorginho escapes after error
At times throughout this year, Jorginho has been tipped for the Ballon d’Or, which will be announced on Monday. The midfielder remains in the running – albeit as an outsider – but he would have been glad this game came too late to have an impact on the result.
Jorginho gave the ball away on 11 occasions but only once did it truly matter. An odd choice to be the last man back after a Chelsea set-piece, the European Championship winner knew he lacked the pace to catch Sancho and simply gave up. Fortunately, Wan-Bissaka’s own mishap set up his redemption.
Key Opta Facts
– Chelsea are now winless in their last eight Premier League games against Manchester United (D5 L3), only having a longer run without a league win against the Red Devils once before (10 games between 1938 and 1950).
– During the month of November so far, United (17) have mustered the fewest number of shots of all Premier League sides, while also facing more attempts than any team (60).
– United managed just one further attempt after taking the lead, with their total of three shots their lowest in a Premier League game since April 2017 against Manchester City (also 3).
– Chelsea have scored all five of their Premier League penalties against United, with John Spencer in December 1994, Frank Lampard in November 2003 and March 2011, and Michael Ballack in April 2008 all netting before Jorginho did so too.
Chelsea make the short trip to face former boss Claudio Ranieri’s Watford on Wednesday, while United at least have until Thursday to prepare for Arsenal at Old Trafford – by which point Rangnick may well be on board.
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