Drab 0-0 draw against Manchester United sees Blues stay fifth, a point behind the Hammers
By Paul Lagan
Chelsea 0 v Manchester United 0
Chelsea failed to leapfrog West Ham into fourth place in the Premier League after a disappointing 0-0 draw against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
The west Londoners failed to pierce a resolute United defence, and the Mancunians were happy with the point. The fact that they had a penalty shout turned down by referee Stuart Attwell, after a VAR intervention, could leave the visitors feeling a little short-changed.
But they didn’t deserve anything more than the point.
United stay second in the league but the Blues are fifth on 44 points, one point behind the Hammers.
With United content to break on the counter, the majority of possession went with the hime side. But the first effort on goal fell to Marcus Rashford. His long-range shot was punched out by Mendy. From the follow-up, Callum Hudson-Odoi appeared to handle the ball. VAR intervened, asking referee Stuart Attwell to check the side monitor. After a quick look the referee decided it wasn’t a penalty.
With a quick break of their own, on 22 minutes, Hudson-Odoi, let fly with a right-footed half-volley from just outside the United penalty area. But the ball flashed across De Gea, and just wide of his right post.
Olivier Giroud almost produced a diving header goal, but the striker was just inches away from an early Hudson-Odoi right wing cross, 10 minutes before the break, and the ball zipped clear to safety.
Chelsea head coach replaced Hudson-Odoi for Reece James at half-time. The winger had strapping on his left thigh, suggesting an injury.
Three minutes after the restart, De Gea was called into action to thwart Ziyech, who latched onto a Ben Chilwell left byline cross. His left footer was smacked away from goal, by De Gea right hand.
Mason Greenwood saw a blistering left-footer zip inches wide of Mendy’s right post on 60 minutes, a reminder that while Chelsea dominated early possession, the sharp break by the visitors was equally effective.
Mendy produced an instinctive save to halt the path to goal from McTominay’s shot.
Giroud’s day ended on 65 minutes when he was replaced by Christian Pulisic.
De Gea produced a regulation save from Mateo Kovacic on 74 minutes as the game teased to break out into an exciting encounter.
Mendy fumbled a Daniel James byline cross on 76 minutes, but managed to snaffle the ball at the second attempt.
Timo Werner was introduced a minute later - a disappointing Ziyech trundled off the pitch.
The game petered out to a goalless stalemate.
Chelsea face champions Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday.
Teams: Chelsea, Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Chilwell, Hudson-Odoi, Kovacic, Kante, Mount, Giroud, Ziyech.
Subs: Kepa, Alonso, Jorginho, Pulisic, Werner, Zouma, James, Havertz, Emerson
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, James, Fernandes, Rashford, Greenwood
Subs; Bailly, Martial, Diallo, Henderson, Telles, Matic, Williams, Van de Beek, Tuanzebe
Referee: Stuart Attwell