Chelsea – Manchester United: Late drama sees Chelsea salvage point against José Mourinho’s resilient United (2-2)

It was very much a game of two halves at Stamford Bridge, as José Mourinho’s Manchester United displayed an impressive defensive performance. Chelsea’s passing approach through the center - trying to free Eden Hazard - earned them very few rewards as the visitors continued to contain Chelsea throughout, especially after taking the lead. Touchline fracas ensued a last-gasp equalizer from Ross Barkley in a chaotic final sixty seconds.

For this match, United moved from a 4-3-3 formation into a 4-2-3-1 shape. Bringing Juan Mata into the starting eleven - replacing Scott McTominay - initially looked like an attacking move by José Mourinho. It turned out to be a smart defensive addition for when his team did not have the ball. The only other change saw the injured Eric Bailly making way for Victor Lindelöf.

Equally few changes for Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea. The back-and-forth situation up front continued, as Álvaro Morata was put into the team for Olivier Giroud. Mateo Kovačić took his usual place at the left of Chelsea’s midfield trio, which meant Ross Barkley was benched.

United’s low block against Chelsea’s 4-3-3, featuring Hazard moving inside


United defend passively yet comfortably

In Manchester United’s starting 4-2-3-1 formation, Mata was heavily tasked with blocking passes into Chelsea's playmaker Jorginho. Deeper afield, the double pivot 4-2-3-1 is one of the most frequently occurring formations in football. The two most defensive midfielders are called a ‘double pivot’. of Nemanja Matić and Paul Pogba simply had to cover Mateo Kovačić and N’Golo Kanté respectively. Ashley Young was instructed to stay . . .

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Peter (20), lives just outside of London. He’s been writing about tactics and such for over a year now, contributing to a couple of sites during that time. His main club is Arsenal but he’s also followed Real Betis quite heavily since Quique Setién took over last year. This form of writing has become a great passion of his and, although he’s unsure of what his end aim is, he’s enjoying being given new opportunities to continue doing so. [ View all posts ]

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