|Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford celebrate after getting United in front on Sunday. It ended 1-1 at Stamford Bridge. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)
Chelsea had the chance to restore their three points lead at the summit against Manchester United on Sunday after Liverpool and Manchester City cut their lead with respective wins over the weekend.
With Manchester United in-between managers after the sacking
of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer last weekend, Chelsea were the bookie’s favorites after
a great run that saw them surge to the top of the league table as well as to
the top in their champions league group.
United on the other hand survived early scares in Europe to
book a place in the round of 16 and with Michael Carrick in charge on the day,
expectedly his last game in charge as interim boss, not many expected much from
the Red Devils.
Carrick made a huge call by dropping Cristiano Ronaldo to
the bench, with Harry Maguire suspended the former United midfielder named Eric
Bailley alongside Victor Lindelof in what was their eighth ever partnership
since they both joined the club.
Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic started together for
the first time ever in the heart of the midfield while Bruno Fernandes was
named upfront as the false nine, you can tell the visitors were prepared to sit
deep and hurt their hosts on the counter.
Chelsea dominated heavily from the start but David De Gea
was in inspired form, repelling the Blues time after time but Callum Hudson-Odoi
should have scored after finding himself through on goal early on but slammed
his effort against the outstretched legs of the Spaniard stopper.
Chelsea were without N’golo Kante and Matteo Kovacic, Ruben
Loftus Cheek started in midfield and he was influential as Jorginho sat deep,
United didn’t have any moment of promise in the first half but they had the
first say in the second.
Not long after the restart, Jorginho misjudged a miscued
longball at the center of the park off a Chelsea’s corner kick, Marcus Rashford
and Jadon Sancho closed up on him and the former Borussia Dortmund man stole
the ball from the Italian, raced through on goal and sat Edoard Mendy for his
first premier league goal for the Red Devils.
Chelsea responded by introducing Christian Pulisic and Mason
Mount, with Carrick stepping up by replacing Rashford with Ronaldo, but it was
the hosts that drew level not long after from the spot after Aaron Wan Bissaka
brought down Thiago Silva in the area.
Jorginho converted the spot kick to set up a grand finale;
United were contented to fight for a point while the Blues wanted it all,
Thomas Tuchel introduced Romelu Lukaku for his first game since hobbling off
injured in a champions league match in early October.
United earned a deserved point that didn’t do much to their
league position but restored some pride and set them up with confidence for the
visit of Arsenal to Old Trafford on Thursday while Chelsea would feel they
dropped two valuable points.
The Blues now have just one point advantage over Manchester
City who beat Westham 2-1 on Sunday and two points over Liverpool who saw off
Southampton on Saturday.