Chelsea and Manchester United have now played out goalless draws in both home and away fixtures in the Premier League this season. On Sunday, it appeared as though both teams came to the pitch with a predetermined scoreline in mind.
There was little initiative from either side, as was the case during their clash earlier this season. David de Gea and Edouard Mendy made a handful of routine saves throughout the 90 minutes, with neither team hitting the back of the net.
Barely 24 hours earlier, Manchester City had opened a 12-point gap at the top of the Premier League. However, it appears as though Chelsea and Manchester United have already given up on the title chase and are now concentrating on a top-four finish.
A drab performance from Chelsea and Manchester United
There’s been a lot of talk this season about Manchester United’s failures against the 'Big Six’ in the Premier League, but Chelsea have been no different.
The Blues have improved massively under Thomas Tuhcel but the only decent side they have beaten during this run is Tottenham. Just like Manchester United, Chelsea have so far failed to win against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City this season.
Sunday’s game was drab and lacked the attacking intent expected from teams with such quality. This was a clash between two of the Premier League’s best sides, and yet, both teams played like there was nothing at stake.
Football played in this manner is not entertaining for fans of either club or neutrals. There should always be initiative, drive and intensity in the 'beautiful game'. Unfortunately, Chelsea and Manchester United had other plans.
Manchester United and Chelsea cannot challenge the Cityzens for the title
Roy Keane was critical of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Thomas Tuchel in terms of their game plan for Sunday’s game. The Irishman believes both managers were more concerned with not losing rather than winning.
"The teams I played for, there was never an obsession with clean sheets,” Keane fumed on Sky Sports in the aftermath of the game.
A focus on not conceding rather than winning is a major reason why Chelsea and Manchester United cannot challenge Manchester City for the title this season.
While Guardiola’s side go into every game with the intention of winning, Chelsea and Manchester United clearly have a different approach to football. Sunday's game showed that both teams lack the courage and intent to displace the Cityzens from the top of the table.