Chelsea drew with Manchester United 1-1 in a Premier League match at the Stamford Bridge in London on Saturday with both goals coming late.
The Blues extended their unbeaten run under Graham Potter to eight matches and are now 4th in the table with 21 points from 11 matches. United are 5th with 1 point fewer from the same number of matches.
Here are three things that stood out in the match:
Manchester United dominated in first half, wasted chances
Manchester United were the dominant team in the first half, having almost 65% possession during the initial 20 minutes or so. United started with Casemiro as the defensive midfielder and Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes as the two central midfielders.
United’s front three, comprised of Antony, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, applied the high press, with Eriksen and Fernandes often joining in. This kept sustained pressure on Chelsea’s back-three.
United’s passing was quite slick, plenty of triangles and good off-the-ball positioning helped that. Eriksen and Fernandes spread the ball around comfortably in the first half.
However, United’s attacks were a bit too reliant on wing-play, with Antony often trying to cut inside from the left flank. It’s apparent that the Red Devils lack a potent ball-carrier through the middle of the pitch.
Even so, Rashford might have scored twice in the first half, but Kepa Arrizabalaga denied him on both occasions, first by coming out of his line in a timely manner and then by stopping the former’s shot.
On another occasion, Antony’s right-footed shot missed the target by a whisker after the Brazilian was set free at the edge of the Chelsea penalty box by a probing pass from one of his teammates.
Chelsea’s first-half tactical adjustment had some impact
Chelsea started the match with a 3-4-2-1 formation, Thiago Silva, Trevor Chalobah and Marc Cucurella playing as the three central defenders.
Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount, playing behind Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang upfront, often swapped positions and tried to pose questions to United’s defense with their quick runs.
Still, Chelsea defended deep for the majority of the first half and were primarily reliant on counter-attacking runs, mostly by Sterling. Their approach was in stark contrast to that of United who kept attacking in numbers.
Aubameyang did come close on a few occasions and one of his attempts missed the target by a narrow margin.
Towards the latter stages of the first half, Chelsea replaced Cucurella with Matteo Kovacic and switched to a back-four. Ball retention improved at the centre of the pitch and that helped stem the flow of United’s passes in the middle third.
Clubs share the spoils thanks to late action
Erik ten Hag replaced an ineffective Sancho with Fred at the beginning of the second half while Fernandes switched to the left flank. That left United without a genuine wide man on the left until Anthony Elanga was introduced towards the latter stages of the match.
Chelsea, meanwhile, went close to taking the lead when Chalobah’s header from a corner rattled the crossbar before going out.
Potter then took off Aubameyang and introduced Christian Pulisic. He also replaced Sterling with Armando Broja, who played his part in Chelsea’s goal.
United replaced Rashford and Eriksen with Elanga and Scott McTominay, respectively, during the last quarter of the match.
It was a surprise move that ten Hag actually took off his striker and started playing with three defensive midfielders at a time when his team were looking for a goal.
McTominay was the one to blame for Chelsea’s goal. While defending a corner, he grabbed Broja, forcing him to the ground and the Blues were awarded a penalty. Jorginho converted from the spot with ease.
Just as the match seemed to be ending on a bleak note for the visitors, Luke Shaw sent a cross into the box and Casemiro connect with a strong header that beat a diving Arrizabalaga for the equalizer, just trickling over the line.
The goal was Casemiro’s first for United and saved the day for his side.