Chelsea and Manchester United failed to put down a marker on a position in the top four after a scoreless draw between the two sides at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Having seen Leicester City lose to Arsenal earlier in the day, it was a huge opportunity for both sides, one which neither took. On the balance of play, Chelsea enjoyed the better of the game and the chances but Thomas Tuchel’s men were not able to find a way through. The Red Devils thought they should have been awarded a penalty in the first-half for a handball by Callum Hudson-Odoi but neither the referee or VAR were interested as both sides eventually claimed a point.
Here are three things we learned from West London:
Despite having earned what turned out could be a positive point against a side who are above them in the Premier League table, Chelsea may feel somewhat unfortunate to have not claimed more. The Blues had most of the opportunities, with the best of them coming in quick succession. Hakim Ziyech at first had a goal-bound shot well-saved by David de Gea after latching onto a centre from Ben Chilwell, before Reece James’ follow-up was blocked.
In all, Chelsea had 18 shots to Manchester United’s 11, with six of those being on target to the Red Devils’ four. The hosts also had the clearer chances, with their expected goals (xG) sitting at 1.09, whilst the visitors could only generate 0.39 xG. All of the signs then point to a Chelsea victory besides the scoreline on the day.
Back to back stalemates
It’s certainly a surprise to see this game end level considering the recent history between the two sides. Following another 0-0 draw at Old Trafford earlier this season, it is the first league season that both games between the two have ended goalless.
Considering that the teams are rivals for the top four in the Premier League this season, it is somewhat disappointing that neither really showed enough attacking intent to win the game and put down a statement in the race for the top four.
United’s poor top-six record continues
Speaking of games against Chelsea and beyond this campaign, the clash at Stamford Bridge represents another draw for Manchester United against rivals for European positions. In matches against the so-called ‘big six’ throughout 2020/21, the Red Devils do not have a single win. As a matter of fact, in seven matches against those sides, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have only scored one goal and even that came in the embarrassing 6-1 humbling at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur back in October.
Simply put, that record is not good enough if the club have any aspirations of finishing in the top four, let alone challenging for the league title. As it stands, the Red Devils are now 12 points behind rivals Manchester United in the Premier League table and that gap does not look like reducing at all unless they start getting positive results against their direct rivals. As it stands, the Red Devils sit at a huge price of 125/1 with Betfair to lift the title come the end of the campaign.
Chelsea: Mendy (7); Chilwell (6), Rudiger (6); Christensen (6), Azpilicueta (7); Kovacic (7), Kante (7), Mount (6); Hudson-Odoi (5) (James (6), 46′), Ziyech (5) (Werner (N/A), 78′, Giroud (6) (Pulisic (6), 65′).
Manchester United: de Gea (6); Shaw (6), Maguire (7), Lindelof (6), Wan-Bissaka (6); McTominay (6), Fred (6), Fernandes (6); Greenwood (6) (Martial (N/A), 79′), James (6), Rashford (6).
Referee: Stuart Atwell
Yellow Cards: Fred (50′), Chilwell (62′), Maguire (79′)
Red Cards: N/A