Despite Gonzalo Higuain's 2/10 display, Chelsea get a point at Man United
David De Gea's howler allowed Chelsea to emerge from Old Trafford with a 1-1 draw vs. Manchester United and fourth in the Premier League. Marcos Alonso capitalised on another mistake from the struggling home goalkeeper to cancel out Juan Mata's early opener against his former club for United.
In most of their away matches against big teams this season, Chelsea have failed to respond after falling behind, but while needed a couple of helping hands from De Gea to do it, they managed to get a point to stay in control of their top-four destiny.
Chelsea were slow and uninspired with the ball throughout the game and required a present to emerge with a point against opponents in freefall. Gonzalo Higuain has regressed to become a liability and another injury for Antonio Rudiger could end his season.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Maurizio Sarri went back to Alonso and his faith was rewarded with a big goal, but the way Chelsea are playing does not reflect well on the manager. Higuain is surely running out of good faith to start ahead of Olivier Giroud, while Mateo Kovacic offered little in the midfield role that should belong to Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 7 -- Made a good early save to deny Romelu Lukaku and was left exposed by his defence for Mata's opener. His distribution was generally solid, but most importantly for Chelsea, he avoided making the kind of howler that befell his fellow Spaniard at the other end.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 5 -- Could not find the understanding with Willian that he has showcased with Callum Hudson-Odoi on the right flank in recent weeks and it is also clear that Azpilicueta and Higuain are not on the same wavelength when it comes to crosses.
DF Antonio Rudiger, 5 -- Looked more than a little rusty as Chelsea toiled in their own third, but it was his Hail Mary of a shot that provoked De Gea's mistake and created the equaliser. Forced off after 65 minutes with what appeared to be a recurrence of his knee injury.
DF David Luiz, 5 -- Seems to have lost his long passing radar in recent weeks, though Higuain's slow movement did not help him. Luiz did entirely convince defensively either -- in the air or on the floor -- and could not react to block Mata's goalbound shot despite recovering to station himself on the goal line.
DF Marcos Alonso, 6 -- In general play he did little to suggest he should start ahead of Emerson Palmieri. Lukaku and Marcus Rashford gave him problems and Alonso's lack of speed hurt Chelsea at both ends, but his knack of not only getting into scoring positions, but finishing when he does, is truly remarkable.
MF N'Golo Kante, 6 -- His availability was huge for Chelsea, even if he did not look as if he was operating at 100 percent. There were more lost duels and misplaced passes than usual, but his ability to carry the ball forward quickly in transition was still valuable.
MF Jorginho, 5 -- Chelsea's lack of movement hindered his ability to navigate around or through United's press, leading to more sideways or backwards passes than Sarri wants. Even more problematic, though, was his failure to track Mata once the ball flew over his head for United's opener.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 5 -- One of Chelsea's only reliable passers early on, but that was undermined throughout by the fact that his distribution rarely leads to anything significant. Stupidly booked for throwing the ball away; Loftus-Cheek should have replaced him earlier.
FW Willian, 5 -- Guilty of letting Luke Shaw run off him for United's goal and did not press reliably. Much of his work with the ball at his feet was also sloppy and his tendency to dribble right at times sat awkwardly with Azpilicueta's desire to overlap. Willian's crossing was also poor.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 2 -- Worse than a bystander in the first half, in which he ended two promising counter-attacks by failing to stay onside. Touched the ball just 12 times in the opening 45 minutes and was little better after the break. He did draw a late save from De Gea but, overall, often drifted into non-threatening areas and was too slow to be effective.
FW Eden Hazard, 6 -- On days like this it is easy to see why he would quite like to play for a team like Real Madrid. Looked lively and prepared to decide the game, but his teammates gave him nothing to work with and allowed a physical United defence to focus their energies on stopping him.
DF Andreas Christensen, 7 -- An enforced replacement for Rudiger, he probably should have been prepared to come on sooner than he was. Once on the field though, he handled the threat of Lukaku.
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, NR -- His recent form merited him starting this game but he was sloppy when he came on, misplacing passes and struggling to find the same wavelength as Hazard.
FW Pedro Rodriguez, NR -- Came on for Willian after the Brazilian international was tackled heavily by Marcos Rojo and Pedro's biggest contribution was clearing the United substitute's header off the line.