Chelsea managed to hold Manchester United to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, to keep their noses ahead in the race for a top four finish in the Premier League
Chelsea came back from a goal behind to take away a point from fellow top four hopefuls Manchester United at Old Trafford this past weekend.
Chelsea came into the game knowing that a win would put them level on points with third-placed Tottenham and widen the gap between themselves and Arsenal, after both the North London outfits had lost their respective matches. But, they made a rather tepid start to the game allowing Manchester United to take an early lead just 11 minutes in through Juan Mata.
Maurizio Sarri’s side did grow into the game with time and found an equaliser through an unlikely circumstance just before half-time. Antonio Rudiger let rip a well-hit effort from long-distance, which David de Gea could not latch onto, allowing the lurking Marcos Alonso to prod home and level things up at the break.
The second half saw very little action the goal-mouth, with Chelsea looking content with a draw. However, they could have ended up on the losing side if not for Pedro, who made a brilliant goal-line clearance to keep Marcos Rojo’s header out in stoppage time. Soon after, Gonzalo Higuain had a great chance to fire his team to a win at the other end, but was denied by de Gea.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 28, 2019
The draw meant Chelsea are two points shy of Tottenham and have a two-point lead over fifth-placed Arsenal with two games left in the season. Here is how we rated the performances of the Blues’ stars on Sunday.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 7/10
The Spaniard made a brilliant stop to deny Romelu Lukaku early in the game and was alert to keep out a couple more dangerous shots after the break. Not a lot he could have done about Mata’s goal, though. An assured display, unlike his compatriot in the opposition goal.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 5/10
The Chelsea skipper struggled to cope with the strength and physicality of Lukaku, while he also could not keep up with Marcus Rashford’s pace. Did not offer much in terms of attacking threat either, but defended strongly, especially in the second half, as Chelsea looked to take away a point. Lucky to have gotten away without a booking despite the number of fouls he committed.
Antonio Rudiger: 6/10
Back into the starting lineup having recovered from his injury, the German international looked rusty early on and found it hard to cope with Manchester United’s early onslaught. Got to grips with Lukaku with time though and it was his shot that de Gea spilled, leading to Chelsea’s goal. Had to come off in the 65th minute with the recurrence of his knee injury.
David Luiz: 5.5/10
A disappointing first period for the Brazilian during which he could not contain the United duo of Lukaku and Rashford, while his passing also let down big time. Much improved after the break, though, and stepped up to make some key interventions and clearances to keep the scoreline intact. Distribution was a major letdown, however.
Marcos Alonso: 6.5/10
Back into the team in place of Emerson Palmieri, the Spaniard wasn’t all that convincing on Sunday, but stood up when it mattered, showing great anticipation to react to de Gea’s spill and score the equaliser. Had difficult moments at the back, with his lack of pace getting exposed at times, while his crossing also wasn’t up to the mark.
N’Golo Kante: 7/10
Having shaken off a rib injury to start at Old Trafford, the diminutive Frenchman put in a typical workhorse-like display. Broke up play well and carried the ball forward with purpose each time in possession. Helped Chelsea shut shop with a disciplined defensive display in the latter stages of the match.
Controlled the game fairly well from the base of the midfield, hardly misplacing a pass. However, a lack of incisive movement in front of him restricted him from pulling out his complete array of distribution. Was caught napping for United’s goal and did not defend well for much of the first half. That changed after the break, though, as he was much more effective screening his backline.
Mateo Kovacic: 4/10
Handed a start ahead of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the Croatian international did little to convince he was deserving of the starting berth. Hardly offered any drive from the middle of the park and was often too cautious with his passing. Booked and subbed off.
Starting in place of the injured Callum Hudson-Odoi, the Brazilian winger failed to make any sort of impact on the game. Was very predictable in his attempts to cut inside and was well-marshaled by Luke Shaw, while his end product also left a lot to be desired. Worked very hard off the ball though.
Gonzalo Higuain: 3/10
Another toothless display from the Argentine marksman, which increases doubts over his future at Chelsea. Hardly offered any sort of threat in the final third and was guilty of getting caught offside on numerous occasions which led to attacks breaking down. Did test de Gea in stoppage time, but not nearly good enough from the former Real Madrid superstar.
Eden Hazard: 6/10
Was one of Chelsea’s very few players to show any kind of desire and purpose in the first period as he constantly sought to make things happen when in possession. Could not have the desired impact however, as did not have enough support, allowing Manchester United to deal with him. Grew quieter as the game wore on.
Andreas Christensen: 6/10
Came on for the injured Rudiger a little after the hour mark. Kept things tight at the back as United pressed in search of a winner.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 6/10
Replaced Kovacic with fifteen minutes of normal time left to be played. Added more forward thrust from the middle, but couldn’t change the result.