Barclays Premier League
Manchester United vs. Chelsea
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Saturday, 28 December 2015
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Manchester United ended 2015 with a 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Despite hitting the woodwork twice and having two penalty claims turned away, clear cut chances were few and far between for the home side on Monday evening.
The first half was reasonable given both sides struggles this season, but the second half seemed to be a case of protecting the draw rather than force the win.
As early as the third minute Juan Mata rattled the bar with a venomous volley after Wayne Rooney’s flick around the corner, before David De Gea expertly turned John Terry’s header from a corner over the bar with a one-handed save.
Ander Herrera’s right-wing cross was laid off by Rooney into the path of Morgan Schneiderlin, with the Frenchman firing wide with the outside of his right boot.
Anthony Martial breezed past Branislav Ivanovic before unleashing an effort that struck the inside of the post, as United continued to probe for an opener.
Referee Martin Atkinson booked John Obi Mikel for bringing down Martial, and the short free-kick routine between Rooney and Bastian Schweinsteiger led to the former’s strike from distance being tipped over the bar by Thibaut Courtois.
Into the second half and De Gea pulled off a brilliant double save, first to deny Pedro’s curling left-footed effort before turning behind the rebound from Cesar Azpilicueta.
As Willian clearly handled inside his own area, no penalty was awarded, before a superb cross from Martial saw Ander Herrera divert from the ball goalbound, but Courtois somehow turned the attempt away from goal and out for a corner.
The away side broke with menace after the ball had eluded Herrera’s head, and despite Pedro picking out Nemanja Matic, the Serbian somehow managed to blaze his shot over the bar whilst facing De Gea one-on-one.
Another penalty appeal was turned down after Azpilicueta seemed to have brought down Mata, before substitute Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s left-hand cross was volleyed over by Rooney late on, as full-time arrived with the game without a goal.
There was nothing ‘magnificent’ about this seven, as United drew their seventh goalless draw of the season, whilst failing to score in 19 games under the leadership of Louis van Gaal.
With not much competition to compare to in all honesty, this was one of the better showings this campaign, particularly in the first half, but despite ending the run of four consecutive losses, the winless streak stretches to eight games in all competitions.
Swansea City visit Old Trafford on Saturday, as United’s first game of the New Year commences with a traditional 3pm kick-off time.
Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Blind (Jones 81), Darmian (Borthwick-Jackson 70); Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger; Mata (Memphis 77), Herrera; Martial, Rooney.
Subs: Romero, Jones, Borthwick-Jackson, Carrick, Fellaini, Pereira, Memphis.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian (Ramires 70), Oscar (Loftus-Cheek 90+3), Pedro; Hazard.
Subs: Begovic, Baba, Ramires, Traore, Djilobodji, Kenedy, Loftus-Cheek.
Manager: Guus Hiddink