Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso’s late equaliser was all the Stamford Bridge club needed to give themselves reprieve in the first half after Juan Mata put the hosts in front.
Manchester United were rewarded for their early endeavour through Mata’s goal. Luke Shaw got behind the Chelsea defence and they they’re vulnerable. Shaw was clever because he knew Kepa was going to smother if he had a shot, so he laid it on a plate for Mata.
Birthday boy Mata arrived at just the right time to finish off Shaw’s cross.
It was a first half in which the hosts looked quite comfortable early, having more shots on target as well as a larger share of possession.
Chelsea came into the game as the half progressed and eventually found a goal out of nowhere when Rudiger’s blast from distance exposed De Gea’s difficulties in saving long shots – which allowed Alonso to storm in and finish with a follow-up effort.
Chelsea’s attack has generally been slow and ponderous – much the opposite of United’s pace – but there is nothing to separate the two sides after 45 minutes.
Despite the goal, Chelsea’s laborious attack leaves little to be positive about, as every forward thrust was seemingly dictated by the capabilities of Hazard.
There has been precious little link-up play between Higuain and the two playing just off of him – with perhaps the introduction of Giroud the solution.
For Manchester United, they have probably done enough to end the half ahead, but they could have been more than 1-0 up before Chelsea’s reply, had they been more clinical.
The result hangs in the balance with the second half upcoming, though a draw doesn’t really help either club.
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