This week will see the Red Devils conclude a testy run of fixtures which includes this one as well as Arsenal on Thursday. What the midweek win at Villarreal shows me was that United needed to go back to basics, that is a 4-4-2, which brings the best out of the wingers. One player who benefits from this system is Jadon Sancho, the big money signing from Dortmund. Caretaker manager Carrick kept Rashford on the left wing in continuation of that last 15 minutes in Spain. But the 4 in midfield consisted of just one attacking player, Bruno Fernandes with three anchorman, Fred , McTominay and Matic.The Fred chance squandered at the end illustrates my point. Most important of all, NO CHRISTIANO RONALDO. Big call by a young manager which will definitely endear himself to the high ups at Old Trafford. It wasn’t personal but tactical but as usual Ronaldo’s prima donna attitude shone through at full time when he headed straight to the tunnel.Definitely a tactic to stifle any quick breaks from Jorginho and Kante/Loftus Cheek. It worked. The absence of the suspended Maguire was a blessing in disguise as it provided the opportunity to assess the relatively untried combination of Lindelof and Bailly.
Chelsea made a lot of changes from the side that conquered Juve notably Werner starting upfront. We know he struggles for goals in the big matches. Why? He tends to drift wide on the break. United keeper De Gea was the MAN again between the sticks, his saves from Rudiger and Hudson-Odoi making sure honors would be even. One might look at it as evidence of a weak defense , the fact that the Spaniard is being called upon to make those saves. The goal scored by Jadon Sancho shows the disadvantages of holding a high press, acres and acres of space to run onto once Jorginho made the error. Chelsea had all the possession and attempts but it took a penalty to level it up. The merits of the spot kick was always going to be debatable. If you miss the ball you get punished just like Wan Bissaka did. Chelsea see their lead at top of the Premier League cut to one point. United await Ralf Rangnick’s arrival in good stead unbeaten since sacking Ole.