Manchester United came back to snare a point from Chelsea, continuing an impressive run of results under Erik ten Hag and showing more top-four mettle.
Ten Hag and Chelsea counterpart Graham Potter traded blows in a real tactical battle at Stamford Bridge.
[ MORE: What we learned from Chelsea vs Man Utd ]
Graham Potter is now unbeaten in eight games as Chelsea’s boss and his Blues have been solid defensively though finish is suddenly in question to open the door for Chelsea’s attackers.
A bonus player rating before we begin, how about a zero from Cristiano Ronaldo? The Red Devils could’ve really used him in the final stages had he not showed up his team by refusing to come on and then leaving early in a win over Spurs.
Chelsea player ratings out of 10
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 9 — Five saves, several of them early, kept a zero on the board long enough for Graham Potter to address the flaws in his midfield. Even acrobatically got a piece of Casemiro’s well-headed equalizer and oh-so-nearly kept it off the line.
Ben Chilwell: 7 — Didn’t struggle once taken from a free-roaming left wingback/midfielder to his traditional left back spot (as expected, perhaps).
Marc Cucurella (Off 36′): 6 — Sacrificed for a midfielder in a move that only says Graham Potter preferred to use Ben Chilwell at left back.
Thiago Silva: 7 — Solid as a rock but seems either Jorginho or he should’ve been able to help Mason Mount body-up Casemiro on the equalizer?
Trevoh Chalobah: 7 — One of his better matches in a Chelsea shirt, though his passing wasn’t solid. Two shots.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6.5 — Not his best day as he seemed distracted at times by the scrapping on the right side of the pitch (Antony will do that to you).
Jorginho: 7.5 — If he doesn’t go down as one of Chelsea’s all-time midfielders, he’ll still go down as one of the game’s top penalty men. Could he have been better positioned on the equalizer?
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Off 79′): 7 — Tidy enough and busy, drew three fouls out of the Red Devils.
Mason Mount: 5 — A wayward day for a player who’s usually quite calm but was certainly not on the day. Not that you expect him to boss Casemiro in a 50/50 — and Thiago Silva and Jorginho left him on a back post island — but he got rag-dolled by the Brazilian for the late equalizer.
Raheem Sterling (Off 79′): 5.5 — Far from his best, Sterling got to dangerous places but didn’t have his dribbling boots with him.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Off 74′): 5 — Just 19 touches and 4-of-9 passes, “Auba” made a great run to meet a Mateo Kovacic cross but couldn’t time his touch right.
Mateo Kovacic (On 36′): 7 — Was tasked with taking back hold of the midfield from Man United and made it at least an even tug of war.
Christian Pulisic (On 74′): 7 — Brought an unpredictable nature that Chelsea was missing with Raheem Sterling off his game.
Armando Broja (On 79′): 7 — Won the penalty, timing the simulation well after a prolonged hold from handsy Scott McTominay.
Carney Chukwuemeka (On 79′): 6.5 — Busy enough and getting himself into the game.
Manchester United player ratings out of 10
David De Gea: 6.5 — Only had to make one save and it’s hard to fault keepers who don’t stop Jorginho pens.
Diogo Dalot: 6.5 — Not a ball-winner on the day but he’s always available and thinking about how to attack, popping into the picture whenever you’re wondering if a red shirt will “get on the end of that.”
Raphael Varane (Off 60′): 7.5 — Strong in the air and with the ball at his feet, he looked aggrieved when suffering a leg injury. Crossing fingers not just for United but for his World Cup with France
Lisandro Martinez: 8 — Seven clearances and 6-of-8 ground duels won, Martinez might not be tall but he’s also an energetic, physical challenge that few players are prepared to meet.
Luke Shaw: 7.5 — A good day, never stopped working and certainly played a huge role in taking Chelsea’s right side off of its game.
Christian Eriksen (Off 80′): 6.5 — Two key passes among his 55 touches, was more a metronome than usual.
Casemiro: 9 — The header to win it gets marks just because of how well Kepa was playing in goal, but each week he proves that his hunger to win is almost measurable.
Jadon Sancho (Off 52′): 6.5 — Played his part in the system but not enough to avoid being sacrificed in Erik ten Hag’s midfield tactical battle with Graham Potter.
Bruno Fernandes: 7 — Created chances and won the ball back eight times. Still, no sign of the “out-of-nothing” scoring magic that’s become a trademark.
Antony: 7 — He’ll have wanted more from his day and the yellow card showed he was a bit on edge.
Marcus Rashford (Off 80′): 6 — Managed three shots up top but one was a real promising opportunity that promised more.
Fred (On 52′): 7.5 — We’ll say it again: Casemiro and Fred are a near-perfect pair in the middle of the park, but Erik ten Hag wants to get Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes out there together… and it’s difficult to find starting roles for all four.
Victor Lindelof (On 60′): 7 — Tidy with the ball and didn’t shirk from the demands of filling Raphael Varane’s quarterbacking role.
Anthony Elanga (On 80′): — N/A
Scott McTominay (On 80′): 4.5 — Played all of a minute or so before giving away what could’ve been a decisive penalty.
Chelsea vs Manchester United recent Premier League form
Chelsea last five fixtures – DWWWD | Last game: 0-0 draw at Brentford
Manchester United last five fixtures – WDWLW | Last game: 2-0 win vs Tottenham
Who has more wins, Chelsea or Manchester United? (all competitions head-to-head)
Chelsea wins: 55
Manchester United wins: 81
—– Kepa —–
—- Chalobah —- Silva —- Koulibaly —-
— Loftus-Cheek — Kovacic — Jorginho — Cucurella —-
—- Mount —- Sterling —-
—– Aubameyang —–
Given his incredible form, and run of five-straight shutouts, Kepa will start in goal again and Edouard Mendy will have to wait to start after his recent comeback from injury. In defense Thiago Silva is expected to start, while Trevoh Chalobah and Kalidou Koulibaly are likely to keep their places but Cesar Azpilicueta could slot in. Ruben Loftus-Cheek at right wing-back makes sense to stop Jadon Sancho, while Kovacic should come into midfield with Jorginho after Gallagher came off against Brentford but is back available for this game after a short illness. Up top, expect Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling to start just behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. That said, Potter could start Cucurella as a left-sided center back and Sterling could play as a hybrid left wing-back as his lineups are so flexible. Potter will likely want plenty of recovery speed in his defensive positions to stop United’s counter attacks.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1)
—– De Gea —–
— Dalot — Varane — Martinez — Shaw —
—– Casemiro —– Fred —–
—– Antony —- Fernandes —- Sancho —-
—– Rashford —–
At this point the United team pretty much picks itself. The back four is settled with Shaw perhaps being rested for Tyrell Malacia the only possible change. In midfield Scott McTominay could come in to give Fred a rest, while the front four has a great balance about it so expect that to stay the same. The old adage ‘if ain’t broken don’t fix it’ comes to mind with Erik ten Hag’s side right now and up top they don’t have many options with Martial out injured and Ronaldo suspended. After the intensity of games against Newcastle and Tottenham in four days and then heading to Chelsea for this one, let’s see how the energy levels are in this United squad.
Chelsea vs Manchester United prediction
This is going to be a tight, tense clash and there will be contrasting styles of play on show. I expect Chelsea to have plenty of the ball but they have to be patient and alert defensively to stop United’s quality on the break. I think the latter may be too much for Chelsea to handle, so I’m going for an away win. Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United.