Manchester United drew 1-1 against Chelsea after Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike cancelled out Marcos Alonso’s effort minutes earlier. It was a positive performance from United who have been under scrutiny in recent weeks, but it looks to be too little too late for any possible push for the top four.
Manchester United fought back to salvage a point at home against Chelsea, as Cristiano Ronaldo extended his tally as the Red Devils’ top scorer this season.
It was a weakened side named by Ralf Rangnick, as injury issues have plagued the squad, but United still showed resilience against a dominant Chelsea team. They had David de Gea to thank in the first half for keeping the score level, like he has on multiple occasions this season.
But Marcos Alonso did fire Chelsea ahead on the hour mark, as he thumped in an effort from Reece James’ cross, but Ronaldo brought United back level minutes later, with a powerful effort from close range. A draw was probably the fair result, and Express Sport takes a look at five things we learned as the spoils were shared.
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Marcus Rashford ready to fight
Injury issues and illness to some of United’s first choice stars saw Marcus Rashford get handed a rare start. The 24-year-old has been somewhat of a bystander this season, as he has been benched regularly.
But Rangnick has little choice against Chelsea, and Rashford gave it his all, also putting in a solid defensive shift. He may have been overlooked by the German at times, but he did his best to prove that he has the energy and desire that Rangnick is looking for.
Rashford is already a United hero even at such a tender age, but his form has dipped in recent seasons. But with Erik ten Hag coming in, he is clearly ready to fight for his place and prove that he is United material.
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Chelsea love playing away
Athough Chelsea grabbed a late winner on Sunday to beat West Ham 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, their home form has been rather worrying lately. But away from home, they’ve had the opposite problem.
Ironically, it was United that were sublime away from home last season, but Chelsea came into the game at Old Trafford off the back of eight-straight wins, and they remained unbeaten again. Sure, United were weakened, but Chelsea still dominated the ball away from home.
Chelsea will be hoping that their run away from Stamford Bridge can continue, as they have an FA Cup final against Liverpool coming up. Although they’ll still be in London, they seem to perform well away from their home ground.
No love lost for Nemanja Matic
United have not one, but two former Chelsea players in their ranks, as both Matic and Juan Mata are still currently at the club. Matic has already confirmed he will be leaving at the end of the season, and Mata is expected to follow.
But despite his previous links to Chelsea, Matic delivered a cheeky assist to Ronaldo for United’s equaliser, and he got away with a stamp on Reece James as he tussled with the defender. Chelsea are incredibly proud of their youngster, so Matic won’t be too popular back in London.
The Serbian proved that he has still got it with a solid performance, in an area where United are lacking. A new midfielder is said to be their priority in the summer, and top of Ten Hag’s wishlist.
Havertz form has paused
The Kai Havertz that was keeping Romelu Lukaku out of the team has gone missing over the past few weeks, and the German that couldn’t put a foot wrong, hasn’t put many right recently. Havertz missed a bunch of clear chances against United, and he may have been credited with the assist for Alonso’s goal, but he didn’t know much about it.
Havertz was quiet against West Ham, and after Lukaku was introduced, the game changed. The Belgian won a penalty shortly after coming on, and Chelsea grabbed a late winner following his substitution.
Lukaku has been out of the picture for some time, but Sunday’s game was a reminder of what he can offer. And Havertz’ recent scoring run has faded, and he is now without a goal in five matches.
Reece James makes all the difference
It may not have been an awful season for Chelsea, but it could have been so much better of Reece James stayed fit. The defender has been out with injury on two separate occasions this season.
James had as many touches as any other Chelsea player against United, showing how important he is to Thomas Tuchel’s side. And it was from his cross that Alonso fired the opening goal, after it was touched on from Havertz.
The defender continues to be compared against Trent Alexander-Arnold as the race for an England place intensifies. But although the pair have different strengths, James’ attacking influence can also not be denied.