U21s: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea

by Tracey Germaine

A strong Man United team shared the spoils with Chelsea in a game which finished 1-1 at Old Trafford in front of a 9,257 strong crowd.

Kasey Palmer opened the scoring in the 17th minute direct from a free-kick before James Weir‘s goal in the 61st minute proved to be the equaliser. The result is probably a fair reflection of a game in which both sides enjoyed spells of dominance.

The U21s fielded a team in which every player has first team experience, with nine of the 11 having Premier League minutes under their belt this season. Phil Jones and Ashley Young were in the starting line up as they look to make their returns from injury.

United started brightly in the first 15 minutes, however, things changed following a controversial award of a free-kick.

A foul was awarded against Paddy McNair, after a dive by Josi Quintero. Kasey Palmer stepped up to take it and scored his fourth goal direct from a free-kick this season. Sam Johnstone will be frustrated with himself, as he positioned himself almost as though he didn’t trust his wall to do their job and left his side of the goal open to Palmer.

After the goal, Chelsea settled into the game and proceeded to dominate the rest of the half. United struggled to deal with the creativity of Palmer. Tammy Abraham sent a header over the goal. Ola Aina clipped the crossbar with a dipping volley from the corner of the penalty area. Meanwhile at the other end United failed to carve out any opportunities.

Joe Riley and Guillermo Varela were playing in each other’s positions which appeared to create a bit of confusion for them and limited the effectiveness of the right flank somewhat during the earlier stages of the match. Phil Jones‘ passing game struggled, while Ashley Young had plenty of running to do leading the line on his own.

Andreas Pereira saw a long-range shot go over well over the crossbar. Donald Love, who partnered Paddy McNair in the midfield, went for a chipped shot which hit the top of the net.

Just after the hour mark Guillermo Varela found James Weir in the box. The captain turned and his deflected shot went past Mitchell Beeney in the Chelsea goal. The goal sparked some urgency in the United line up and the Reds were in the ascendancy.

Weir almost got a second but his header was blocked by Beeney who didn’t appear to be aware that he was in the way until the ball hit off him. Beeney found himself once again between a United player and goal when he caught Young’s tame header in added time.

United are in action again next Monday evening against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford in their quest to retain the u21 Premier League trophy.

Man United: Johnstone, Riley, Jones (Redmond 76′), Williams, Borthwick-Jackson, Varela, McNair, Love, A. Pereira (Rothwell 88′), Young.
Unused Substitutes: J. Pereira, El Fitouri, Rothwell, McTominay.
Goal(s): Weir (61′).
Booking(s): McNair (57′), Riley (69′), Love (85′).
Man of the Match: Paddy McNair.

Chelsea: Beeney, Dabo (c), Tomori, Clarke-Salter, Aina, Colkett, Quintero (Colley 66′), Ali, Abraham, Palmer (Feruz 72′), Mitchell.
Unused Substitutes: Baxter, Sammut.
Goal(s): Palmer (17′).
Booking(s): Clarke-Salter (45′).

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