Old Trafford encounter ends in stalemate

Manchester United 0 Chelsea 0

Chelsea preserved their unbeaten start to the season and moved back to the top of the table with a gutsy display in an uninspiring draw.

Victory would have seen them move six points clear of Manchester United but Blues boss Jose Mourinho’s tactics suggested he was more than happy to take a draw.

With Juan Mata a notable absentee, Chelsea played without a recognised striker, leaving Fernando Torres on the bench and picking Andre Schurrle to lead the line – and the ploy frustrated the hosts for long spells.

United also appealed in vain for a second-half penalty after the ball struck Frank Lampard’s arm.

A crowded midfield and superb display by John Terry brought solidity and ensured United barely tested keeper Petr Cech.

A tepid first half failed to live up the pre-match billing, with two strikes on the United goal by the excellent Oscar the only efforts that drew saves.

His first was well struck but straight at keeper David De Gea, while the second was a tame effort that was easily kept out.

Apart from that, there was little to raise the excitement levels.

The home side were undoubtedly the more threatening but could not break down a Chelsea rearguard which was brilliantly organised by Terry.

Chelsea target Wayne Rooney – loudly cheered by both sets of fans – was the main danger.

Thankfully, the game opened up slightly after the break, with the visitors showing greater ambition.

Hazard began to find space on the break and there were several nervy moments in the home defence, although no clear-cut chances.

At the other end, Cech had one or two anxious moments and made one fine diving stop to keep out a rasping Rooney strike.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, De Bruyne (Torres 60), Oscar, Hazard (Azpilicueta 90), Schurrle (Mikel 87).
Subs not used: Essien, Lukaku, Schwarzer, Mata.

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