Manchester United vs. Chelsea - Match Analysis

Photo by Irish Mirror
Manchester United fail to get a grip on the top four battle yet again — this time in a deflated second half performance in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea. 

United were extremely lucky to still be in the top four conversation with three games remaining, but despite the Reds recent slump, other teams around them also struggled to put together results. 

The top four feels almost like a repellent at this stage of the season, as all four teams that are fighting for third and fourth places have been wasting their opportunities to secure Champions League berth for next season. 

United continued their wasteful ways against Chelsea, as despite a promising first half, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s men were unable to prevail after the break. 

The Reds got off to a lively start, playing some encouraging football at times — resulting in some very good build up play that led to the opening goal in the 11th minute. 

Romelu Lukaku, Luke Shaw, and Juan Mata linked up coming in off the left-hand side, with the United left back losing his man and breaking into the opposition box before laying the ball off on a plate to United’s No. 8, who slotted home the opener with his right foot. 

That was United's first goal from open play in 537 minutes, and it looked like perhaps the hosts fortunes were about to turn. 

Unfortunately for the Reds, that was not to be the case. Even though United looked in firm control of the proceedings for the best part of the first half — yet another individual mistake came back to haunt them. 

A hopeful effort from 40 yards by Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger was probably looked past by everyone watching on, including United’s defenders who didn’t track any runners entering the box, as it seemed as though it was going to be a routine stop for David De Gea. 

But routine it was not, as the Spanish shot-stopper — who has endured arguably his toughest spell in a United shirt since his first season as of late — spilled the effort, allowing Marcos Alonso to latch onto the rebound and bring the visitors level with a left footed strike. 

The teams went in level at the break, and the game was very much all but done after the first 45 minutes. 

Both teams looked sloppy and off the pace after the break, failing to create any clear-cut chances. United’s only opportunity after the interval came in stoppage time, when Marcos Rojo’s header was cleared off the line by Pedro, in what was an otherwise a very dull half of football. 

For a neutral looking in, it may have been difficult to tell that there was actually something on the line in this game. 

This negative result again leaves United only three points outside of the Champions League places — but this time requiring a near miracle for the Reds to sneak in with two games remaining.  

For most United fans, all eyes will now turn to the summer, and the first phase of the rebuilding process under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

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