Manchester United – Chelsea: United Held to Draw in Top Four Clash Despite Promising First Half (1-1)
Manchester United showed a decent performance in the first half, aided by Chelsea’s disjointed pressing game, and found themselves taking the lead. David de Gea’s mistake let Chelsea draw level though, and United went on to disappoint in the second half when it came to finding a way past an improved Chelsea side.
Tactical analysis and match report by Josh Manley.
Going into a decisive game in the Premier League race for Champions League qualification, Ole Gunnar Solskjær turned to a formula that brought him success against Chelsea previously. He chose a 4-4-2 diamond formation, with Juan Mata as the ten, flanked by two strikers in Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku. The likes of Eric Bailly and Ander Herrera also returned to first team football after having been frozen out in recent weeks as Solskjær looks to rediscover a winning formula.
Maurizio Sarri meanwhile went with his familiar 4-3-3 formation. Gonzalo Higuaín was chosen as the striker rather than Eden Hazard being used as false nine. A striker that constantly drops deep and plays like a number ten. Mateo Kovačić took up the third midfield slot alongside the almost ever-present duo of Jorginho and Ngolo Kanté.
United's 4-3-3 becoming a 4-4-2 diamond with Mata dropping from the striker position.
Disjointed Chelsea pressing
As usual, Chelsea’s pressing was characterised by its zonal structure and the aggressive pushing out by the central midfielders to attempt to pressure opposition center-backs on the ball. The execution of Chelsea’s pressing scheme has gotten them into trouble previously this season, with . . .