If Manchester United was still aiming for a top-four finish, they didn’t show it in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea, a game in which they were outplayed for long periods. With only three games remaining, the Red Devils are now five points below fourth place and will require a miracle to qualify for the Champions League.
Two minutes after Marcos Alonso put the visitors ahead with a wide-open shot in the box, Cristiano Ronaldo equalized for United. Ronaldo pounced on a lovely scoop pass into the area from Nemanja Matic, firing a scorching rocket into the roof of the net for his 17th Premier League goal.
Chelsea maintains its stronghold on third position in the Premier League rankings, six points ahead of the nearest challenger, thanks to the point. The Blues’ main emphasis now is on preparing for the FA Cup final against Liverpool on May 14, and an injured substitute for N’Golo Kante would be one to watch ahead of that match.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel will be disappointed that his squad failed to capitalize on a plethora of chances created (Chelsea outshot United 21-6), particularly in the first half. Forward Kai Havertz, who has been Chelsea’s greatest attacking player in multiple games this season, is one of the guys who could have taken advantage of his opportunities. Havertz and his countrymen Timo Werner, on the other hand, frequently found Man United goalkeeper David De Gea up to the task.
“We had a lot of chances today, and the two [Werner and Havertz] didn’t perform at their best.” And if they did, we didn’t win,” Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel remarked after the game.
“A very solid performance,” he said, “but we were not decisive enough, not clinical enough.” “In the box, we missed a little bit of drive to win this game, which would have been well merited.”
“It’s not a just outcome.” We were fantastic today, but we didn’t get what we deserved.”
Man United is going through a moment of transition as Dutchman Erik ten Hag prepares to succeed interim German manager Ralf Rangnick. They’ll conclude the season with three games left, and they’ll want to qualify for the Europa League at the very least by placing fifth or sixth in the Premier League.
Rangnick, who confirmed his consulting role at the end of the season and the possibility of taking another job — he is reportedly a candidate to take over as coach of the Austria national team — was blunt in his assessment of his team: “We have our problems defending and getting a hold of the ball, winning the ball.” In some of those situations, we are simply not compact, aggressive, or physical enough. This is particularly evident when playing top clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City.”
Ten Hag and the club will have their work cut out for them to mend fences with supporters who protested club ownership before the game by entering the stadium well after kickoff and waving a “Glazers Out” banner. The atmosphere at Old Trafford was quiet, and with only one more home games remaining (May 2 against Brentford), many United fans will be looking forward to a new season.
Manchester United vs. Chelsea final score
CHE — Marcos Alonso — 60th min.
MUN — Cristiano Ronaldo (Nemanja Matic) — 62nd min.
Manchester United vs. Chelsea live updates, highlights from Premier League
Final: Manchester United 1, Chelsea 1
92nd min.: SUB — Alejandro Garnacho makes his Manchester United debut.
90th min.: Three minutes of stoppage time. Man United are trying to bring on Garnacho. This looks like it’s destined to finish 1-1.
82nd min.: SUB — Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante appears to have picked up a knock and Thomas Tuchel takes no chances. It’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek taking his place.
80th min.: Reece James hits the post! He’s been involved all game. In this instance a beautiful Mason Mount heel flick leaves the ball perfectly set up for James to run onto it and curl a left-footed shot off the far post.
79th min.: SUBS — Man United’s Juan Mata for Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones for Nemanja Matic.
78th min.: Ronaldo again with a shot that tests Chelsea ‘keeper Edouard Mendy. But he was offside the whole way (flag came up after the play was over).
71st min.: SUBS —Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku in for Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Tuchel is done being patient for those two to figure it out.
69th min.: Hard to believe that it was Ronaldo’s first Premier League goal against Chelsea.
62nd min.: Cristiano Ronaldo equalizes! What a lofted ball by Nemanja Matic in the path of Ronaldo, who blasts it into the roof of the net. 1-1.
60th min.: 1-0 Chelsea! And there’s the first. Marcos Alonso wide open in the box with the volley that gets past De Gea.
53rd min.: Timo Werner nearly gets to a Mason Mount cross at the back post. Chelsea threatening again. Same script as the first half.
46th min.: Back underway.
Halftime: Manchester United 0, Chelsea 0
Halftime: Another low point for Manchester United this season. The team’s not playing well and the atmosphere at Old Trafford is subdued with the fans entering the match late in protest. It feels like it’s just a matter of time before Chelsea break through. And once they do, it could be another lopsided defeat.
No cohesion among the Man United players, and no aggression. David De Gea is the best player for the Red Devils. Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel will be frustrated that his team is not ahead. Kai Havertz definitely had his looks.
42nd min.: Man United’s players sure aren’t looking like they want to impress new boss Erik ten Hag watching from home. It’s hard to come to a different conclusion from Gary Neville’s below:
36th min.: Havertz heads on goal from close range. It looks so easy for Chelsea. De Gea has to come up with another save. Man United have gone missing again.
28th min.: Another Havertz chance! He’s put through on goal by N’Golo Kante, but Havertz’s shot goes off De Gea. Chelsea are easily passing through Man United’s resistance. Frankly, it’s not much of a resistance until they reach De Gea.
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26th min.: Ronaldo, surrounded by three Chelsea defenders in the box, is dispossessed and it’s a transition for Chelsea. Kai Havertz hits side netting.
19th min.: Man United just let Chelsea waltz into the box. Jorginho is not bothered and he dishes to N’Golo Kante who fires on goal. Not a hard save for De Gea. Too easy for Chelsea.
13th min.: Ronaldo attempts the overhead kick! It’s way off, and Cristiano is not happy about his execution. Man United are spending a bit more time in Chelsea’s half.
10th min.: First threat posed by Man United. Alex Telles with the cross, but a Bruno Fernandes header doesn’t trouble Edouard Mendy. Nonetheless, Chelsea look more comfortable, and their spacing and shape is excellent.
6th min.: Two shots by Timo Werner in a span of a few minutes. Man United ‘keeper David De Gea with the easy stop on the second one. Red Devils off to another slow start.
1st min.: We’re off, still with plenty of empty seats at Old Trafford.
15 mins from K/O: The pressure on the Glazers is unrelenting. Erik ten Hag really needs to deliver big time for them.
45 mins from K/O: We have a couple of young players who have worked their way onto the Man United bench:
Manchester United vs. Chelsea lineups
Fred has returned to training for United, but the Brazilian will not feature against Chelsea as he recovers from a flexor muscle issue that has sidelined him for the past three weeks.
With Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw all ruled out for the rest of the season, and captain Harry Maguire expected to join them, the only change from the side that lost to Arsenal is Marcus Rashford replacing Jadon Sancho, who is unavailable.
Manchester United lineup (4-2-3-1): 1-De Gea (GK) — 20-Dalot, 2-Lindelof, 19-Varane, 27-Telles — 39-McTominay, 31-Matic — 36-Elanga, 18-Fernandes, 10-Rashford — 7-Ronaldo
Manchester United subs (9): 26-Tom Heaton (GK), 22-Dean Henderson (GK), 3-Eric Bailly, 4-Phil Jones, 74-Alvaro Fernandez, 46-Hannibal Mejbri, 8-Juan Mata, 75-Alejandro Garnacho, 47-Shola Shoretire
Thomas Tuchel made a number of changes on Sunday for the 1-0 win over West Ham as he seeks to keep his players fresh ahead of the FA Cup final on May 14 against Liverpool.
The mixing and matching continues with Reece James returning to the three-man defensive line and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah on the bench. Match winner Christian Pulisic returns to the subs list as Tuchel continues to rely on the Werner-Mount-Havertz attacking trio.
Chelsea lineup (3-4-3, left to right): 16-Mendy (GK) — 20-Rudiger, 6-Silva, 24-James — 3-Alonso, 5-Jorginho, 7-Kante, 28-Azpilicueta — 11-Werner, 19-Mount, 29-Havertz
Chelsea subs (9): 1-Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK), 31-Malang Sarr, 14-Trevoh Chalobah, 23-Kenedy, 17-Saul Niguez, 12-Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 10-Christian Pulisic, 22-Hakim Ziyech, 9-Romelu Lukaku