Barclays Premier League Under-21s
Chelsea vs. Manchester United
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Sunday, 8 November 2014
Kick-off: 13:05 GMT
Manchester United moved back to the top of the U21 Barclays Premier League with a respectable 1-1 draw away at Stamford Bridge.
Will Keane gave United the lead from the spot right after the break, before Andreas Christensen equalised for the Blues 10 minutes later, with a header from a corner.
A slow start to the game meant that it was nearly a quarter of an hour in before the first chance of the game.
Liam Grimshaw’s flicked header from Andreas Pereira’s corner was dealt with by the Chelsea defence and it set up an attack of their own as Isaiah Brown broke clear, but a wonderfully-timed tackle by Marnick Vermijl ended that threat.
Centre-back Ola Aina saw his speculative shot fall way over the bar; Lewis Baker had a low free-kick held by Ben Amos before Amos held another Baker shot, after it looped up into the air after taking a deflection off of Keane.
Pereira had a low, weaker foot shot held by captain and goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney at the other end, before Keane dragged a shot wide of the right-hand post.
Charly Musonda saw his shot blocked by Vermijl before the latter put pressure on Ruben Loftus-Cheek to have a first time shot moments later, but that pressure lead to the shot being dragged wide.
Christensen headed Baker’s corner over from a decent position before Brown’s cross from the left was headed wide by Loftus-Cheek.
You felt that Chelsea would’ve regretted their missed chances, and moments after half-time they did.
A clear handball by Aina seemed to actually take place outside the box, but the referee pointed to the spot, which Keane converted past Beeney despite the keeper diving the right way (Vine of Will Keane’s oenalty).
How the rest of the game could have been different had Tyler Blackett not fluffed his lines as a sensational breakaway from United, started by Blackett himself, lead to the number six side-footing a shot well wide from James Weir’s ball across the edge of the area.
Brown’s header fell wide from Alex Kiwomya’s cross but Chelsea were back on terms four minutes later thanks to a different header.
Christensen met Baker’s corner once more, and this time made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
It was the hosts who then looked more like winning the game.
Brown’s shot was parried upwards by Amos before he held the ball on its return from the sky; Dominic Solanke saw his shot fall just wide of the goal and he then saw a cheeky dinked effort held in the end after Amos had to back track.
A rare chance for United came courtesy of Pereira whose weaker foot shot went wide, although it had Beeney scrambling.
Another long distance shot from Aina flew way over as Chelsea continued to press for a winner.
Amos pulled off a brilliant save from Baker’s free-kick, turning the ball over for a corner, and from that corner, substitute Jordan Houghton was taken by surprise as the ball bounced up awkwardly, meaning he could not direct his header goalwards.
Baker’s stood-up cross fell wide before he had an ambitious attempt that went over without troubling.
Aina’s deep cross to the back post was hit back across goal by Kiwomya, and Vermijl sliced the ball behind for a corner. Fortunately for United the corner came to nothing and the whistle went for full-time.
Had Blackett taken his chance on 50 minutes, the game and result could have been so much different.
Instead, United were left hanging on for much of the second half, but a valuable point to bounce back from the Leicester defeat nonetheless, sees them return to the summit, as the youngsters enter a three week break, before they travel south once more, to face Southampton.
Manchester United: Amos; Vermijl, Thorpe, Blackett, James; Janko, Grimshaw, Love, A. Pereira, Weir; W. Keane.
Subs: Goss, O’Hara, C. Evans, Willock, A. Fletcher.
Manager: Warren Joyce
Chelsea: Beeney; Dabo, Aina, Christensen, Dasilva (Davey 85); Baker, Loftus-Cheek (Houghton 79); Kiwomya, C. Musonda (Boga 53), Brown; Solanke.
Subs: Houghton, Granger, Boga, Colkett, Davey.