Manchester United have steadied the ship that saw former coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked last week, drawing with English Premier League leaders Chelsea overnight.
- Manchester United draw 1-1 with EPL leaders Chelsea while Ronaldo starts on the bench
- Tottenham’s game against Burnley postponed due to heavy snowfall
- Brentford defeat Everton to secure second win at home, while Leicester and Manchester City also record wins
The result comes just days after the appointment of German innovator Ralph Rangnick in an interim role, but it was Solskjaer’s former assistant, Michael Carrick, who led United against the Blues while Rangnick waits for a work permit.
Chelsea came into the clash off a thumping of Juventus in the Champions League, while the Red Devils fielded a surprising side containing three defensive midfielders while talisman striker Cristiano Ronaldo was left on the bench, a decision that caused heated debate among players-turned-pundits post-match.
It was a timely meeting between the two sides. Many credit Rangnick for Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel’s innovative approach to the game, an approach that has seen Chelsea crowned both FA Cup and Champions League winners since Tuchel took over in January.
Rangnick reportedly rejected an interim head coach offer from the Blues before Tuchel’s appointment.
True to their player selection, United played largely defensively, trying to neutralise Chelsea’s blistering attack, while attempting to score on the counter.
United’s tactical approach worked, with England international Jadon Sancho — who got the nod to start ahead of Ronaldo — capitalising on a horror individual error from Chelsea midfielder Jorginho just after the break.
However, Jorginho would atone for his sinful ball control, slotting home a penalty in the 69th minute after United defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka took out Chelsea defender Thiago Silva in the box.
Ronaldo took to the field in the 64th minute, replacing the goal-scorer Sancho, earning a yellow card a few minutes later for arguing with the referee about the penalty decision.
The draw didn’t do much for either side, with United still sitting 8th on the table — equal on points with Brighton and Leicester — while Chelsea are clinging onto their league lead by a single point ahead of Manchester City.
Liverpool — who thumped Southampton 4-0 on Sunday morning — are one point behind City in third, while West Ham and Arsenal round out the top five.
Elsewhere in the league, newcomers Brentford recorded their second win at home in their first ever Premier League season, defeating Everton 1-0.
Striker Ivan Toney scored his first goal in front of home fans, stepping up to convert a penalty in the 24th minute.
Everton, meanwhile, continue to stumble through the first half of the season: Their result against Brentford makes it five losses and two draws in their past seven games. They next take on local rivals, Liverpool, in the Merseyside Derby next weekend.
Tottenham will have their game against Burnley rescheduled after heavy snow forced a late postponement, a little under an hour before kick-off away at Turf Moor.
The date and location of the rescheduled match is yet to be announced.
Spurs, currently in 7th, are in need of some good fortune following their humiliating 2-1 defeat to Slovenian minnows NS Mura in the Europa Conference League last week.
It was the first loss under new head coach Antonio Conte, who took over from the sacked Nuno Espirito Santo earlier this month.
Here are the results across the rest of the league this weekend:
Arsenal 2 – 0 Newcastle
Crystal Palace 1 – 2 Aston Villa
Norwich 0 – 0 Wolverhampton
Brighton 0 – 0 Leeds
Leicester 4 – 2 Watford
Manchester City 2 – 1 West Ham