Guus Hiddink maintained his unbeaten start at Chelsea after a 1-1 draw against Manchester United. Even though the blues have just four wins under the Dutchman, the team once again displayed plenty of positive attributes against the United team that was known to hold possession of the ball. It was a tale of two teams failing to control the match for the full 90 minutes. United started both halves extremely well whereas Chelsea more than justified the draw by playing with greater intensity towards the end of those halves.
Diego Costa continued his impeccable form under Guus Hiddink by scoring his seventh in eight games. Yet, it seemed like United would just about hold on for another narrow victory. They had gained the 1-0 advantage through Lingard’s goal just after the hour.
The blues had a great call for a penalty turned down. Daley Blind came up with a goalkeeper’s reaction in order to prevent a shot from John Terry ending up in the back of the net. Terry, who was probably playing in his last game against United, shook in disbelief as referee pointed towards the corner rather than the penalty spot.
Even though there little to play for in the league campaign, a few fans – who can buy Chelsea shirts – would have at least been hoping to put up a top four challenge from now on. Another two points dropped mean that those hopes might evaporate once and for all. Chelsea are 13th with 30 points on the board. At this pace, it would take a few more games just to get into the top half. Hiddink said:
“We deserved a point in the end because in any minute you can score. Man United started very well in the first 20 minutes, they stretched us and we had a reaction where we dropped back instead of going forward and going into the duels. We reacted after 20 minutes, go into the duels and defended collectively. We got some chances with no reward.”
This position is likely to see a switch in importance provided to the last 16 Champions League match against PSG within a fortnight. The match will immediately be followed by an FA Cup clash with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. These cup competitions now take a bigger priority in the proceedings.
Chelsea are left with a gaping difference of 17 points to the final team in the top four. The biggest disappointment by far from the United game will be the potential season-ending injury for defender Kurt Zouma, who has been impeccable and a huge fan favourite.