The busy festive schedule gave no respite to two clubs who are staring down the wrong path this season when Manchester United and Chelsea played out a 0-0 draw at the Old Trafford on Monday. United dominated the possession but were unable to put one past Courtois while Matic missed the best chance of the game one on one with de Gea.
Here are 5 things we learnt from this game:
1. Chelsea are still not safe:
After the sacking of Mourinho, Chelsea are un-beaten and have taken 7 points out of 9 in the last three Premier League fixtures. But that run has not made Chelsea’s season safe as they are still just 3 points away from the drop zone. Though it is hard to imagine a club of their stature to end up relegated, stranger things have happened in the game and Guus Hiddink has to get his tactics right if he is to avoid humiliation this season. The draw against United changed nothing for the Blues as they showed no improvement all around the pitch.
2. Louis van Gaal confident of his position? :
The Dutch manager was under immense pressure last week as rumors about his sacking were all over social media. But the manager seemed confident about his position at the club and showed a hint that he may have the vote of confidence of the Board. In a game where they needed all three points, the manager took Daley Blind out of the game and replaced him with a center back to make his defense stronger. It was a sign that he was happy with a point and is still building the rapport in the team.
3. Martial is a gem:
At a tender age, the French striker Anthony Martial has been one of the best players for Manchester United this season. Playing at different positions even on the night he was one of the brightest players in a red shirt. He tried to make things happen and also came close when he hit the near post of Courtois’ goal. He will surely get better as the season goes on and is a real smart buy from the Old Trafford franchise irrespective of the amount they had to shell for him in the summer. Given time he might just be the spark that is needed for the club at the moment.
4. David de Gea is still United’s hero:
After a summer full of transfer drama that saw David de Gea sign a contract with Real Madrid, the Spanish shot-stopper is proving to be a real game changer for the Red Devils. His form this season has been outstanding and he has at least won the team 5 straight league points with his heroics in front of the posts. He is surely one of the best in the world and if he leaves Old Trafford, it will be a huge loss not only for the club but also for the League as whole.
5. Nothing has changed for United:
Though fans will argue that the men in Red were better in their intensity on the field against Chelsea, it is still their 7th goal-less draw of the season. United have a very talented squad that can beat the best in Europe but the manager is just not able to get the best out of the team at the moment. On the night, United were by far the better team. Their passing looked sharp and slick and the movement off the ball has also improved considerably. But they were playing against a side that have their own set of problems and were not at their best. Even if United got three points from this game, it would not have made a huge difference to the mind-set of the fans who seemed to have bought into the rumor that Jose Mourinho might replace the Dutch man.
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