A 0-0 borefest. Chelsea had an assertive and passive tactic starting with the False Nine, which failed miserably. We tried to defend and not concede while attempting to get something on the counter. And Schurrle didn’t get the kind of accurate long through balls from Lampard a lot of times despite covering a lot of spaces through out the 90 mins. Wayne Rooney as clearly seen was the best player on the pitch for Man Utd and John Terry for Chelsea. The clear emphasize for Mourinho was counter attack and he was left disappointed a lot was expected from our attacking players up front to covert their chances.
Now, with a deserved one point in store from a difficult game at Old Trafford, let’s look at 5 main things we learned from the draw with Manchester United…
1. Jose Mourinho clearly unsatisfied with striker options:
Let’s start with starting 11 first. Jose Mourinho opted to play German Winger Andre Schurrle in attack by favoring him over the 3 forwards we have Torres, Ba and Lukaku. He instead put Andre Schurrle on a False 9 to constantly change positions and get at the end of a through ball from midfielders. Even putting Schurrle on instead of the traditional forwards didn’t make much of an impact but, it was a clear message by Jose that he is not satisfied fully with the 3 forwards he has at the moment. Lukaku is safe as he is young and has a huge potential ahead of him but, that was a bad news for Ba and Torres not to be favored ahead of a winger in a top match like this. We may have seen the last Demba Ba, let’s wait and see what happens with the Roma interest.
2. Schurrle’s work rate was brilliant!
Andre Schurrle though, who spear headed the attack against United didn’t disappoint despite not getting the scoring touches Jose would have liked him to get in the end of. The German winger showed amazing stamina and versatility as he run across full lengths of the pitch during a lot of times playing the whole 90 mins against the reigning Champions. And that’s a great sign for our summer addition who made his first start in the Premier League at Old Trafford against Man Utd. We can surely expect him to feature more in Jose’s plans from now on and that’s exactly what he earned by his work rate in every single match he has played in so far. Well Done Schurrle!
3. Jose has done a great job on improving last season’s shaky defense:
The biggest take away from this and every match we have played so far under Jose Mourinho is that the Special One almost transformed Chelsea’s defense by not bringing in new players for that position, but by organizing a brilliant tactic in a way we defend and transition from defense to attack quickly. That’s more of what he has done with his Real Madrid for 3 years mostly focused on countering the threat of Barcelona’s tiki-taka. But, we still may see the passing game that was favored in the last season at Chelsea under Mourinho. Rest assured is the fact that we have no worries about shaky defense and conceding silly goals.
4. The back four of Iva, JT, Cahill and Cole is looking untouchable:
Speaking of our defense, this back four is the same that started the first league game against Hull and kept its place at Old Trafford for our 3rd EPL game. In those 3 matches, Chelsea only conceded one goal and kept clean sheets as well. The partnership between Terry and Cahill has been solid and unsurprisingly amazing on aerial duels. We will see what Jose will do as to who will David Luiz play in defense with and who is dropping to the bench. Specially that will be interesting to see as we face Bayern in the Super Cup show down this Friday and Jose’s earlier press-conference words were that the Brazilian might be available for this game. Lets wait and see till Luiz recovers but, this back four is solid defensively and Ivanovic is seeming to cement his starting status at RB ahead of Azpilicueta.
5. Wayne Rooney clearly stole the show at Old Trafford:
Despite this big game coming early at the beginning of the season and Mourinho facing off against David Moyes, the spotlight was mainly on Wayne Rooney as to how is going to perform in the situation he has been at all summer long and specially against the team who are looking to sign him. And Rooney showed a great professionalism and mental strength by keeping his head in the game and not get distracted by other issues. He was being cheered by both set of supporters as United fans gave him adulation of a returning hero and Chelsea fans constantly chanted “See you next week Wayne Rooney”. But after all, what we can learn from his performance was that Rooney is at his best of his footballing career so far and he has a great versatility to play in midfield as well as striker.
As Jose said in his post match comments, Rooney may decide to stay after the reception he got by the Man Utd supporters. Mourinho will give Rooney 48 hours to decide on whether he will request a transfer or not. The likely answer is not and if so, Jose will ‘close in on their 2nd option’ or ‘plan B’ as stated by the Special One last week. That will likely be Samuel Eto’o or even Robert Lewandowski but, we will get to see it all unfold in this frantic last week of the transfer window.
Hope you enjoyed our What We Learned for the Man Utd game and please let us know your opinions about what you have read! KTBFFH