Manchester United’s consistency in the Premier League continued on Saturday by drawing 0-0 with Chelsea at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils probably had the better of the game in a match that really lacked any real quality but they were not quite able to find a way beyond a stubborn Blues’ side.
Here are five things we learned from the game:
Mendy preserves first-half stalemate
Whilst it was a match that wasn’t quite the most exhilarating, Chelsea stopper Edouard Mendy did have to produce a few important stops to keep the scores level. Apart from a brief nervous moment in the first period where he almost passed the ball into his own net, the Senegalese was the difference for Chelsea.
He at first denied Bruno Fernandes from range before also producing great stops to foil Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata. He then somehow leapt across his line in the closing stages to keep out a fantastic curling effort from the England striker.
It is still early days for the keeper with the Blues but he already looks like inspiring more confident between the sticks than under-fire Kepa.
Chelsea’s stars fail to sparkle
For Chelsea’s biggest summer signings, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, it’s been a stop-start to life at Stamford Bridge. Prior to clash in Manchester, they had managed to produce three goals and three assists in the Premier League but it was this time an uninspiring showing from the German duo.
They both struggled to really threaten the Manchester United defence, even being substituted in the 71st minute for Blues’ academy graduates Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham. If Frank Lampard’s men genuinely have aspirations of challenging for the league title this season, Werner and Havertz both need to find some consistency. The Blues now sit at 16/1 with William Hill to lift the title come the end of the campaign.
PSG connection proves key in the late stages
Intriguingly, both sides had a player they signed from Paris Saint Germain for free on the pitch at Old Trafford. After the Red Devils introduced Edinson Cavani for his debut just before the hour-mark for his debut, he went up against his former captain with the French giants, Thiago Silva.
The Brazilian marshalled the veteran striker extremely well, intervening with an impressive block as Cavani set his sights late on. Having trained together in Paris for some time, it goes without saying that Silva’s experience proved decisive.
United’s Old Trafford’s woes continue
It is well documented that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are in absolutely terrific form away from home having won their last ten matches on their travels in all competitions. Surprisingly however, their fortunes are completely the opposite at the Theatre of Dreams.
The Red Devils have not won any out of their last five Premier League matches at Old Trafford, their longest such run in the league in over 30 years. From an otherwise impenetrable fortress, the home of the Red Devils doesn’t look anywhere near as daunting nowadays.
Some defensive solidarity for Lampard
One of Chelsea’s biggest Achilles’ heels under Lampard has been their inability to defend.
After all, they conceded a frankly astounding 54 goals in the league last season; the most in the top-half of the league.
The former Derby County boss finally seems to have found a system that suits his backline though. Having selected a back five at Old Trafford, with the three centre-backs flanked by Reece James and Ben Chilwell, the Blues looked far more solid. It also gave Thiago Silva a lot more protection which hugely contributed to his dominating performance.
Chelsea now have back-to-back clean sheets for just the third time in 2020.
Manchester United: De Gea (6); Shaw (6), Maguire (6), Lindelof (7), Wan-Bissaka (7); Fred (6), McTominay (6) (Greenwood (N/A), 83′); James (5) (Cavani (6), 58′), Fernandes (6), Mata (6) (Pogba (5), 58′); Rashford (6).
Chelsea: Mendy (7); Chilwell (6), Zouma (6), Silva (7), Azpilicueta (6), James (7); Kante (6), Jorginho (6), Havertz (5) (Mount (6), 71′); Pulisic (6) (Ziyech (N/A), 81′), Werner (5) (Abraham (6), 71′).
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Yellow Cards: Shaw (39′), Fred (45′), Havertz (45+1′), Rashford (77′)
Red Cards: N/A