Man United 1 vs 1 Chelsea

United grabbed a very late equalizer as Mourinho’s Chelsea just faced to hold on to their second half lead.

Here is our visualisation that shows the smoothed positions of players around the time as indicated. The locations are identified with reference to actions as identified by Opta.

Comments from Sam Gregory appear below the PPT.  Click on the gif to open in a larger window:

MUFCvCHE

1st Half 
  • United lined up with Van Persie in the middle flanked by Januzaj and Di Maria on the wings. It was a fairly straight forward 4-3-3 with Mata floating between the two lines as the link between midfield and forwards. This marked yet another change in formation for Van Gaal who had used a 4-1-4-1 against West Brom.
  • Blind was quite effective in the first half following Fabregas throughout and keeping him off the ball in the middle. Fabregas was forced to drop into positions closer to the Chelsea back four as the half went on.
2nd Half
  • To start the second half Di Maria and Januzaj switched wings and Di Maria was very involved for the first fifteen or twenty minutes testing Ivanovic on the left side.
  • Once Chelsea scored through Drogba they reverted to their typical shut-down football. Cahill and Terry dropped much deeper while Ivanovic and Felipe Luis made fewer attacking runs. Mikel came off the bench to fulfil his usual role of guarding the back four, giving Matic and Fabregas more freedom to disrupt United’s passing game further up the pitch.
  • United’s attacking game completely fell off after the Chelsea goal and it wasn’t until the final five or so minutes when they started to make a few chances.
Conclusion
  • Fabregas probably had his least effective game since coming to Chelsea and a lot of the credit goes to Blind and Fellaini who kept him fairly quiet.
  • A draw was probably a fair result, but Chelsea usually hold onto these results when they are able to slow down and kill off the game so United can take solace in the fact they were able to pull off the draw.

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