Two Manchester United records from this season remain intact following a goalless draw at the Stamford Bridge.
Firstly, The Red Devils’ unbeaten streak away from home will last at least for another Premier League matchweek. Secondly, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are still winless against the ‘big six’ in the league this season.
Let’s take a look at the things that didn’t go as per United’s plan, or in their favour, leading to a second 0-0 draw of the campaign between the two sides.
1. Lack of creativity
United are yet to put a ball in the back of the net from open-play against the ‘big six’ so far this season, and have generally struggled to break open competent defences. Hence, the clash against Chelsea, who had conceded only twice under Thomas Tuchel, was always going to be an uphill battle.
With Bruno Fernandes being the only creative presence in United’s midfield, Chelsea found it easy to suffocate him. And the rare opportunity the Portuguese got to link up with Marcus Rashford was intercepted by N’Golo Kante, who was everywhere on the pitch.
2. Cavani Missed
Both Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial tried and failed to provide the much-needed presence of a natural number 9.
A sense of what could have been if Edinson Cavani was available must’ve been felt badly, as Luke Shaw and Daniel James’ crosses went unattended in the Chelsea box.
There isn’t much Solskjaer can do to fix the issue mid-season, apart from praying for the continuous availability of the 34-year-old Uruguayan.
The game’s most crucial incident didn’t play out in favour of the Red Devils. Although the referee’s decision shouldn’t completely excuse United’s inability to breach defence of a big six side, it did have the biggest say on the full-time score.
Referee Stuart Atwell chose to stick with his on-field decision despite reviewing Callum Hudson-Odoi’s handball in the penalty box on the VAR monitor.
The United boss felt his team should have “100 per cent” been awarded a spot-kick, and would certainly be frustrated with multiple decisions going against his team in 2021.