Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea: Ronaldo spares tame Red Devils

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored an excellent equaliser to spare Manchester United a third successive Premier League defeat as they drew 1-1 at home to Chelsea on Thursday.

Ralf Rangnick's side lost their previous two games to Liverpool and Arsenal by an aggregate score of 7-1 and, while the performance on their return to Old Trafford was by no means impressive, they at least avoided another loss.

Despite a dismal first-half showing in which their midfield was routinely cut open, United somehow made it until the break without conceding, though Chelsea's deserved breakthrough did arrive via Marcos Alonso with an hour played.

But Ronaldo – who has been responsible for five of their six Premier League goals this month – swiftly restored parity against the run of play and Thomas Tuchel's men failed to regain the lead.

Man Utd
Man Utd

Chelsea dominated the first half almost from start to finish, with a brief moment of United pressure culminating in Ronaldo putting a close-range bicycle-kick over.

Otherwise, United had to rely on wasteful Chelsea finishing and David de Gea to keep the scoreline level, with the Spaniard crucially blocking Kai Havertz's goal-bound effort with his midriff after the Blues carved through the hosts with ease.

Havertz went close again nine minutes before half-time, heading Reece James' cross right at De Gea.

Little changed after the restart – except Chelsea finally made their pressure count after 60 minutes, as Alonso smashed a volley into De Gea's bottom-left corner.

But few would have anticipated what happened just two minutes later, with Ronaldo latching on to Nemanja Matic's scooped pass and hammering home an equaliser.

Chelsea might have clinched a deserved late winner, but James' curling effort clipped the outside of the post.

What does it mean? Record-low points total now likely for United

United needed to win all of their final four matches to better the 64 points they managed in 2013-14 – that was the fewest they have ever recorded in the Premier League.

But Thursday's stalemate means 64 is now the best they can do this term. Given everything that has occurred in 2021-22, few would bank on them winning their final three matches.

A new record-low points total would be fitting for what has been a dreadful season at Old Trafford.

James shows his class

A typically energetic and purposeful display on the right from James, who – especially in the first half – seemed to have the freedom of his side of the pitch. Mason Mount and Havertz (both four) bettered his three key passes, but the wing-back was routinely at the heart of Chelsea's best moves and was unfortunate to not get a later winner.

De Gea kept United in it

Chelsea created enough chances in the first half alone to win this game handsomely. Granted, De Gea would have expected to deal with most of those chances, but a few efforts really made him work. He made five saves in total, undoubtedly playing a key role in keeping the hosts in with a chance of salvaging a point.

Key Opta facts

- Chelsea are winless in nine Premier League games against Manchester United (D6 L3) – only against Arsenal (19 between 1995 and 2005) and Blackburn Rovers (12 between 1992 and 1998) have they had a longer run without a win in the competition.

- The home side has lost only one of the last 18 Premier League clashes between United and Chelsea (W7 D10), with the Blues losing at Stamford Bridge in February 2020 (0-2) – the home side is also winless in five games (D4 L1).

- There have been three instances of two players aged 33 or over combining for a Premier League goal this season – all coming for Man Utd (and involving Cristiano Ronaldo). Indeed, Nemanja Matic (33) has assisted Ronaldo (37) in each of United's last two Premier League games.

- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored eight of Manchester United's last nine goals in the Premier League, with seven of those eight strikes arriving at Old Trafford.

- David de Gea has made 121 saves in the Premier League this season, only in 2018-19 (122) has the Spaniard made more stops in a single campaign in the competition.

What's next?

United have their final home game of the season on Monday as they host Brentford, while Chelsea are back in action again the day before as they face club legend Frank Lampard and his struggling Everton.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting