Mendy’s heroics earns Chelsea a point against Manchester United

Manchester United-vs-Chelsea

Dubbed El boringo, the match lived up to its expectation in most parts of the game, as both sides lacked ambition and looked content with a point on a rainy Saturday evening.

Lineups

Harry Maguire was back in the starting lineup for the Reds after the omission from mid-week Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain. Daniel James and Juan Mata also returned to the lineup as new signing Edinson Cavani was named on the bench. Chelsea made just one change from the side that drew against Sevilla, with Azpilicueta returning and Mason Mount dropping to bench.

First half

The opening minutes of the half saw both teams prioritise on possession over pace. Manchester United pressed high to prevent Chelsea playing from the back, as the wet conditions made it tougher for players to pass the ball around. Chelsea weathered the initial pressure and started to dominate possession mid-way through the half. Fred’s needless barge on Chilwell resulted in a freekick taken by Reece James, who tried to catch David de Gea at his near post. However, the goalkeeper read James’s intentions well and made an easy save.

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy almost scored an own goal when his pass to Thiago Silva under no pressure missed the goal by a few feet. However, Mendy was at his best to save with his feet after Rashford went clear on goal. Luke Shaw was the first to get booked after losing the ball to Reece James. The resulting freekick was cleared by Manchester United, with video replays showing Maguire having his arms wrapped over Azpilicueta. Mendy was called into action yet again to save Mata’s curling effort from the edge of the area. Havertz was the latest to get booked for a tug on Fred, as the half drew to an end on level terms.

Second half

Fred started the half with an early booking for preventing Jorginho from counter-attacking, as both teams continued to play the same way. Cavani almost had a dream debut when his flick went narrowly wide of the wrong side of the post after being introduced along with Pogba to replace an unhappy Mata and Daniel James. Chelsea replaced Werner and Havertz with Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount, and the latter was fouled by Rashford to be the 3rd United player to be booked.

United started to dominate possession with Bruno and Pogba starting to control the midfield. Pulisic, who came off worse from a McTominay challenge was replaced by Hakim Ziyech, as both teams started to play an open game in search of the winning goal. Thiago Silva made a crucial block to deny his former PSG teammate Cavani from scoring after he was set up by Bruno. Mendy made a huge save in the 90th minute when Rashford’s fierce shot was pushed around the post brilliantly the goalkeeper, with Manchester United manager and his players having their hands on heads. Neither team could muster chances in the stoppage time as the game ended in a scoreless draw.

Manager reactions

Solskjaer felt Manchester United were the better side and had good chances when compared to Chelsea. He added, “Two good teams out there, some quality defenders and keepers. Their keep made two fantastic saves from Marcus. He pulled off some fantastic saves. If there was a winner it should have been us for those chances

Lampard felt it was a clear penalty for Maguire’s foul on Azpilicueta, and stated “I thought it was a clear penalty. A clear penalty. Hard calls for referee but VAR very quick to dismiss it in my opinion. Very confusing from my point“.

The Blues manager praised Mendy who had a man of the match performance by stating “The performance was very good. Rely on the goalkeeper for that moment. Not many chances. He showed what he’s there for. Showed great composure

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