Well, so that’s it; done and dusted. Manchester United tried their best, secured and took care of possession for lengthy bouts of time, but couldn’t penetrate the Chelsea defence that neutralized United’s attacking threat. Starting without Romelu Lukaku, United visibly struggled against the more physical Chelsea backline, and hence the Belgian’s impact was sorely missed as such.
Here, we rate and slate the United players from the match:
David de Gea: 6/10
De Gea was hardly threatened by Chelsea’s forward line but he was concentrated enough to thwart off Hazard and Alonso’s shots. He couldn’t palm away the penalty though, as he dived the wrong side.
Antonio Valencia: 3/10
Hardly any attacking output from him, as Valencia shied away from crossing until the final minute I guess. Not much defensive work to show for but his crossing surely let the team down.
Chris Smalling: 6/10
The best defender from United’s perspective as Smalling was quick, strong and concentrated enough to reduce Hazard’s impact in the game. Unlike Jones.
Phil Jones: 3/10
A terrible challenge, and even worse positioning that allowed Hazard acres of space at such a dangerous area on the pitch. He could have avoided the challenge and de Gea would have had an excellent opportunity to save Hazard’s shot as the Belgian had run very close to the goalkeeper. Poor, poor defending.
Ashley Young: 4/10
Young provided the better attacking threat, but the crosses could have been much more accurate. He surely missed Lukaku’s big presence inside the penalty box and hence refrained from crossing; instead, Young passed it sideways hoping to create something through the centre but that did not materialize either.
Ander Herrera: 5/10
Not enough bite, not enough energy, something that we have become accustomed to seeing with Herrera. Ander broke attacks and partly tracked Hazard, but that extra bit of drive was missing from his game.
Nemanja Matic: 6/10
Matic was the best outfield player on the pitch, as his positioning was astute and he slid in some absolutely clever through-balls. Built the play but tried a couple of long-range shots that didn’t work out.
Paul Pogba: 4/10
United’s ultimate big-game player was nullified by Chelsea as the Frenchman could not influence the game in a manner he would have liked to. He missed a sitter in the second half and that proved out to be the turning point.
Jesse Lingard: 5/10
Started on the right but inexplicably shifted to the centre and interchanged positions with the other two forwards but was missing the final cutting edge.
Alexis Sanchez: 5/10
Tried his best, but a couple of his corners were disappointing. Sanchez was denied any space by Azpilicueta and Moses, and that would be a major disappointment even from an individual perspective for the Chilean.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Rashford made some darting and decisive runs but was not clinical as he messed up an easy opportunity to equalize just at the stroke of halftime. Plenty of development needed but it would be better for him to stay put rather than leaving on any loan.
Anthony Martial: 6/10
Martial stayed on to create that one magical moment as he made some inroads and put in some crosses, but the finishing should have been better.
Romelu Lukaku: 5/10
Wasn’t fit, merely any impact. The foot injury against Arsenal has had a huge impact.
Juan Mata: N.A
Tried to find spaces and launched some lobbed balls but no credible decisive moment.