Manchester United’s winless run has extended to eight games in all competitions following a 0-0 draw against Chelsea this evening.
Man United almost got off to the perfect start as Juan Mata smashed an effort towards goal two minutes into the match but the ball hit the crossbar. Moments later, David de Gea produced a superb save to deny Chelsea’s John Terry. Anthony Martial then hit the woodwork as United ramped the pressure up on their opponents. However, their intensity dropped off towards the end of the first half.
Following the interval, De Gea kept out shots from Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta with a superb double save. Ander Herrera was then kept out by Thibaut Courtois from close range after the Spaniard got onto the end of Martial’s ball into the box. Nemanja Matic had a golden chance to open the scoring for the away side when put clean through on the counter but he somehow contrived to shoot high over De Gea’s goal. Wayne Rooney then spurned a similarly presentable chance late on, meaning both sides had to settle for a point.
Lively first half
The fight and desire that was so obviously lacking against Stoke City last time out was back against Chelsea during the opening exchanges as United looked full of energy.
Mata and Martial hit the woodwork, while Morgan Schneiderlin came close following good work from Ashley Young and Rooney. The tension that has been surrounding the club in recent weeks seemed to fade away as United took the game to Chelsea. However, as so often has been the case this season, finishing was a problem and United couldn’t capitalise on the good period as the two sides went in goalless at half-time.
Herrera was ineffective in a deeper role against Stoke but he made United tick at No.10 against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
The Spaniard linked up well with the likes of Rooney and Mata, regularly finding his teammates with a wide range of passing. He also had a threat on goal and he was unlucky not to score in the second half. It doesn’t seem too complicated; when Herrera plays in the hole, United are better. The hope is that van Gaal – or whoever manages United in the future – comes to realise Herrera’s importance to the team.
The makeshift right-back was one of United’s better performers against Stoke and he put in an equally impressive display against Chelsea.
Young provided width and verve going forward and was there to make some vital challenges at the back. He would have been disappointed to miss out on the starting XI in the past couple weeks but Young has responded in good fashion. The 30-year-old has set an excellent example and some of his teammates, who are reportedly not happy under van Gaal, would be wise to follow suit.
United were impressive during the game but they owed a lot to De Gea, who kept Chelsea out with a number of crucial saves. Pedro, Azpilicueta and Terry were all denied by the imperious keeper.
There is a sense that De Gea is the only world-class player at United and the club must do all they can to keep him at Old Trafford next summer, assuming of course that a deal hasn’t already been reached with Real Madrid following the ease in which United convinced him to sign a new contract earlier this term.
Although United were better against Chelsea, they have now gone eight games without a win in all competitions.
It is a run of results that has simply not been good enough and the majority of the blame has to lie at van Gaal’s feet. There have been numerous calls for van Gaal to be sacked from supporters and pundits alike and the match against Chelsea will do little to change their minds.