Man United 0-0 Chelsea: Mendy impresses, van de Beek misses out again and the key takeaways from a dismal stalemate

A flat 90 minutes of action between Manchester United and Chelsea this evening eventually saw both sides forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

All square

The marquee matchup of the Premier League’s latest round of fixtures took place at Old Trafford a short time ago.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United welcomed Chelsea to Manchester, for a highly-anticipated clash.

The two sides headed into proceedings in largely differing form, with Lampard’s misfiring visitors winless in their two outings since the international break.

Manchester United, on the other hand, after putting Newcastle to the sword by 4 goals to 1 last weekend, followed up with an impressive win over French champions PSG during the week.

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) and Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard gesture at the final whistle during the English League Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in London on October 30, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

As such, the Red Devils no doubt fancied their chances of taking advantage of Chelsea’s recent struggles, to make it 3 wins from 3 across all competitions.

When all was said and done, however, the hosts toiled in their efforts to do so.

An altogether uninspiring 90 minutes of football eventually saw the spoils shared at Old Trafford, a result which does little for either side in terms of league position.

Opportunities of note proved few and far between, with Marcus Rashford having seen a very presentable first-half chance well saved by Edouard Mendy.

Elsewhere, Christian Pulisic pulled wide from a tight angle, whilst Edinson Cavani rippled the side netting with his first touch in United’s colours after being introduced as a 2nd-half substitute.

Mendy then foiled Rashford once more as the clash rolled into injury-time, springing to his left to push the English international’s bending effort around the post.

All told, though, neither side truly did enough to earn all 3 points, with a draw, on the balance of play, a fair result.

VAR in the spotlight

When it comes to talking points from the 90 minutes in Manchester, it should therefore come as little surprise to find that there weren’t exactly a plethora to choose from.

Both managers appeared to set their sides up with the aim of avoiding defeat, rather than chasing a win, tactics which evidently had a telling effect on the action (or lack thereof) this evening.

There were, though, nevertheless a couple of impressive individual performances at Old Trafford.

Edouard Mendy is the first to spring to mind, with the 28-year-old having produced a trio of solid stops over the course of the 90 minutes.

It could of course be argued that Mendy would have been expected to keep out all 3 efforts, but the fact remains that, had Kepa Arrizabalaga been stood between the posts in the visitors’ goal in Manchester, Chelsea could well have been condemned to another concerning defeat following the full-time whistle.

Yes, there was one heart in the mouth moment during the first-half when the Senegalese international directed a pass dangerously close to his own net.

But, all told, Mendy did what he was asked to do, and looks set to prove an excellent addition to Frank Lampard’s squad.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 03: Edouard Mendy of Chelsea looks on during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on October 3, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Elsewhere, Thiago Silva was also solid throughout, whilst Victor Lindelof followed his fine display at PSG during the week with another encouraging performance tonight.

One man, however, who will no doubt depart Old Trafford bitterly disappointed, is Donny van de Beek.

The big-money summer addition to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad was left on the bench for the full 90 minutes, despite United having been in desperate need of a creative spark.

Van de Beek was a late introduction during his side’s victory over Newcastle last weekend, and proved a key element in the late flurry of goals which led the Reds to victory.

As such, his absence this evening proved concerning.

What is it going to take for the Dutchman to gain the trust of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Donny van de Beek of Manchester United in action during a pre-season friendly match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park on September 12, 2020 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

The final talking point stemming from the action in Manchester unsurprisingly surrounds VAR.

An incident late in the first-half saw Harry Maguire wrap up Cesar Azpilicueta in the hosts’ box, in a challenge which looked the very definition of a foul:

After Martin Atkinson waved play on, a VAR check therefore followed.

However, bafflingly, it was decided that the original decision made was the correct one, with no foul having taken place:

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# Team MP D P
1 Everton FC 5 7 13
2 Aston Villa FC 5 7 12
3 Leeds United 6 3 10
4 Liverpool FC 5 0 10
5 Crystal Palace FC 6 -1 10
6 Leicester City FC 5 4 9
7 Arsenal FC 5 2 9
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 5 -2 9
9 Tottenham Hotspur FC 5 7 8
10 Chelsea FC 5 4 8
11 West Ham United FC 6 4 8
12 Manchester City FC 5 0 8
13 Southampton FC 5 -1 7
14 Newcastle United FC 5 -2 7
15 Manchester United FC 4 -3 6
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 5 -2 4
17 West Bromwich Albion 5 -8 2
18 Burnley FC 4 -5 1
19 Sheffield United FC 5 -5 1
20 Fulham FC 6 -9 1
Player Team Goals
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 7
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 7
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 6
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 6
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 5
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 5
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 5
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 4
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 4
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 4
Rodriguez, James Everton FC 3
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 3
Jorginho Chelsea FC 3
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 3
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 3
Antonio, Michail West Ham United FC 3
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 3
Jimenez, Raul Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 3
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United FC 3

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