Who would have thought that Cardiff versus Manchester City would be the most memorable match of this week?
Monday’s powerhouse matchup between Chelsea and Manchester United was set up to be a historical clash and should have had everything a soccer fan needs to be truly satisfied: Managerial mind games, two title contending teams, and transfers rumors that involved players on each team going to the other.
The result of such a mouth watering clash? A 0-0 stalemate between two sides whom obviously were both content enough to earn a point.
The tactical setup of both teams was actually quite shocking when they took the field at Old Trafford. United were obviously not afraid to shove Chelsea target Wayne Rooney in the Londoners faces as the England man started for the first time in recent weeks.
Chelsea sent out a lineup that indeed reflected their need for a star front man, a 4-6 formation proving Jose Mourinho’s distrust in the strikers at his disposal. Also of interest, United target Juan Mata was on the bench for the Blues at the start of the game.
Even with such a stacked midfield sent out to the pitch by Mourinho, the flow of the first half was largely dominated by United. However, a heroic performance by Chelsea skipper John Terry was a big reason why the two teams went to their dressing rooms scoreless at the half.
The Red Devils rarely managed to get a clear attempt on Chelsea’s net, despite a good half by Rooney and a decent shot by Robin Van Persie.
The second half was a chess match, with both teams slowly pushing for openings as they looked for the game’s first goal. A few decent attempts were the results of the probing but it almost turned out to be enough for Manchester United. A hard struck shot by Tom Cleverly struck the arm of Frank Lampard inside the Chelsea penalty area, ensuing the cat calls of the Manchester fans for a penalty decision from the referee.
That call did not come, as the referee declared that Lampard was too close to Cleverly for the handball to be intentional. However, despite the distance between the players, Lampard’s arm was at an awkward angle in the first place, making the decision all the more controversial.
That moment turned out to be the most exciting of the game as the whistle blew closed a 0-0 result. The result was unsatisfactory for most fans but was not the worst of score lines for both managers.
David Moyes came out equal against a high flying Chelsea side, proving United’s championship mettle.
Mourinho was obviously okay with leaving Old Trafford with a point, as his team is still undefeated. A matchup between the two team’s on January 18th will hopefully be a bit more easier on the eye to fans of the EPL.