On a night where peaceful protests were aplenty, chances for Manchester United were a scarcity but Chelsea’s fantastic winning away record of eight games is over, a 1-1 draw doesn’t tell the whole story of a frenetic game. A fantastic volley from Marcos Alonso for Chelsea was cancelled out by a Cristiano Ronaldo equaliser, which was arguably the only chance of the game for the hosts.
The atmosphere was subdued, the performance was shoddy and Chelsea will feel that with the chances they created with such regularity, they should have taken more than a point from Old Trafford.
The Blues dominated the opening 15 minutes of the game, Reece James was busy early on down Chelsea’s right, when Marcos Alonso fired it across to the wing-back, who saw his shot from the edge of the box was held comfortably by David De Gea. Timo Werner spun Victor Lindelöf in the penalty box, but again his shot was straight at De Gea.
Chances were like London buses for the current Champions of Europe, N’golo Kante had a shot from the edge of the box, in acres of space but he fired it straight at De Gea.
Just as the protesting fans began to take their seats in the stadium and get comfortable, Chelsea created the best chance of the first half. Kante who was busy as he so often has been in his glittering career played a fantastic ball to Kai Havertz, the chasm in the midfield was being exploited effortlessly by the away side. The German was in on goal, his shot however was straight at the onrushing De Gea, much to the blatant ire of manager Thomas Tuchel, who looked bemused at the effort on goal.
The second half was where all the action occurred. Marcos Alonso scored a superb volley 15 minutes into the second half. James who again was superb down the right-hand side, whipped in a delicious ball, the cross was flicked on by Havertz and there was Alonso with all the time in the world to volley home. The chance was difficult, the technique on the volley was superb by the wing-back.
Just as the murmurs of discontent were beginning to grow, Cristiano Ronaldo silenced them, as he so often does. Nemanja Matic, who is set to leave this summer, picked out a delicious ball over the top to the Portuguese marksman. Ronaldo took one touch to control it before his next touch swept the ball past Eduoard Mendy in the Chelsea goal brilliantly.
The goal was undeserved from the hosts’ perspective, but the home fans, who haven’t had much to smile about this season were smiling when the ball hit the back of the net, at the Stretford End.
However, the goal did little to turn the tide of a game dominated by the visitors. Chelsea who had the lion’s share of possession throughout the rather one-sided contest were still creating with the same regularity, as they were throughout the 90 minutes.
Kante who was inspired throughout the game nearly set up a beautifully crafted goal for Chelsea. The Frenchman fired the ball into Mason Mount, the Englishman flicked the ball back to James exquisitely. The wing-back tried to bend it into the far corner, De Gea was rooted to his spot, but the effort struck the outside of the post, much to the dismay of the wing-back.
Despite the willingness from the crowd to grab a late winner, the goal or a clear cut chance was not forthcoming for United, or indeed Chelsea, as the game petered out and finished 1-1. There are more questions than answers for United after that performance.