Edinson Cavani nearly scored with his first touch for Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men fought out a goalless draw with Chelsea in the pouring rain.
Having lost this season’s previous Premier League home matches to Crystal Palace and Tottenham in chastening fashion, the Red Devils were looking to make it third time lucky as their top-four rivals arrived at an empty Old Trafford.
But neither side fully mastered the challenging conditions in the north-west, where substitute Cavani went close to making a dream debut impact that would have compounded Chelsea’s exasperation at the lack of video assistant referee intervention.
Blues skipper Cesar Azpilicueta could not believe Harry Maguire got away with wrestling him to the ground in the box towards the end of a first half in which Edouard Mendy impressively denied Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata after nearly passing into his own net.
Lampard sure goals will come
Frank Lampard declared himself pleased with Chelsea’s back-to-back clean sheets and insists his side have not sacrificed their attacking prowess for offensive stability.
“I’m happy with the clean sheet,” he told Sky Sports. “We want more than a point obviously, but to come to Manchester United and not concede that is a great base.
“A game of this level, when you get in the final third you want to make things happen and that didn’t happen for us today so there are things to improve.
“It’s not a beautiful feeling in the dressing room, it’s not, as we want to be better going forward. But I’m less concerned about the attacking side as I know the talent we have here, but the clean sheet is good.”
Solskjaer: We missed the Stretford End
“In the second half, we pushed on and if the Stretford End had been full we might get the goal to get us over the line, as it creates more pressure and urgency.
“We miss the fans, I must say. It is the same for all teams but I think everyone agrees that the edge has gone and I can’t wait to get the fans back.”
James Robson’s Chelsea player ratings
Mendy 8, Azpilicueta 7, Silva 7, Zouma 7, James 8, Jorginho 6, Kante 6, Chilwell 7, Havertz 6 (Mount 72 4), Pulisic 6 (Ziyech 81), Werner 5 (Abraham 71)
Star man: Edouard Mendy
Narrowly avoided a horror moment to produced two quality saves to deny Rashford.
Azpilicueta: Referees must use monitor
The Blues man was also asked about that penalty incident in the first half…
“On the pitch I felt yes [it was a penalty] because I was in front of him and I felt both of his arms around my neck and my shoulders.
“For me, the referee can make the decision and the VAR is there. It’s very difficult, sometimes, for the VAR to say yes or no but I encourage the referee to go to the monitor. Tonight, Martin Atkinson was the main referee so he has to take the main decision and the monitor is there on the side for him to help.
“Sometimes it’s 50-50, like I felt it was, so why not take 20 seconds to review it? It’s a little improvement to the VAR that I think can improve a lot moving forwards.”
Azpilicueta: We could have got more from the game
Chelsea’s captain has been speaking to Sky Sports…
“I had the feeling we could have more, you know? We didn’t create that last pass or pick the right pass or the right decision.
“My feeling is we could have got more from the match.
“It has been a very even game where for moments we had spells, in the first half especially, we controlled it better. In the second half we rushed it and didn’t keep the ball well enough.
“That meant we lost a bit of control.”
James Robson is at Old Trafford
Well that was a tough watch. A draw doesn’t suit either side, but it’s hard to say either deserved more.
Hardly a thriller that, United had the best chances in the end, with Mendy making two excellent saves from Rashford, but Chelsea will look back on that first half penalty not given as the moment they might’ve broken the deadlock.
Stick around for all the reaction from Old Trafford…
FULL-TIME | Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
90+1 mins: Brilliant save!
That’s the closest we’ve come, Marcus Rashford with a brilliant curling snapshot from the edge of the box that looks destined for the top corner but Mendy gets across to make a superb save.
87 mins: Giving up hope of fashioning anything useful, Bruno Fernandes tries a bicycle kick from the edge of the box. It’s headed away by James.
83 mins: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at least makes a change that isn’t like-for-like as Mason Greenwood replaces Scott McTominay.
81 mins: A final change of the day for Chelsea – Hakim Ziyech is on for Christian Pulisic.
76 mins: A bit of frustration seeping out as Rashford goes in on Azpilicueta and he goes into the book, too.
72 mins: Finally, Frank Lampard turns to his bench and he sacrifices his pair of Germans for a couple of Englishmen. Havertz and Werner off, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham off.
James Robson is at Old Trafford
James and Chilwell have been highlights for Chelsea. They’ve created their best chances from either flank – on both occasions Havertz failed to make the most of the service.
But they’ve also nullified Shaw and Wan-Bissaka as attacking threats.
67 mins: Into the final quarter of what has been a really poor game – I think that Marcus Rashford effort in the first half is the only proper, clear-cut change we’ve seen.
60 mins: The game’s finally starting to come alive. Reece James delivers a wonderful ball from the right and it’s just too high for Havertz, while Maguire gets a crucial touch on it to take it out of the path of Pulisic, who is arriving like a train round the back.
59 mins: Almost a dream start!
United work the corner short and Fernandes delivers to the front post where Cavani has darted across his man to get the first touch but the angle’s just too tight and it meets the side netting.
58 mins: Here comes that double change – Paul Pogba is on for Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani replaces Dan James to make his Man United debut.
55 mins: And right on cue – Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba are being readied.
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Date, time and venue
Manchester United vs Chelsea is scheduled for a 5:30pm BST kick-off on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
The match will be behind closed doors at Old Trafford with no fans due to be present due to government guidelines regarding coronavirus.
How to watch
TV channel: Manchester United vs Chelsea will be shown live on Sky Sports’ Main Event, and is available via Now TV.
Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via SkyGo and the SkyGo app.
Man Utd XI: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Mata, Bruno Fernandes, James, Rashford
Subs: Pogba, Cavani, Greenwood, Henderson, Matic, van de Beek, Tuanzebe
Chelsea XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Zouma, James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell, Havertz, Pulisic, Werner
Subs: Rudiger, Abraham, Caballero, Kovacic, Giroud, Mount, Ziyech
Referee: Martin Atkinson
This weekend get a £10 free bet with Betfair, when you bet £10 on a Same Game Multi on the Premier League.
Terms: Min £10 Same Game Multi bet on any EPL match this Fri – Sun. Free bet valid for 72 hours, awarded at bet settlement. Excludes cashed out bets. T&Cs apply.
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