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Chelsea
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Manchester United
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Chelsea vs. Manchester United score: Jorginho redeems himself as points are shared at Stamford Bridge

LONDON -- From fall guy to redemption in the space of 19 minutes, Jorginho made amends for what threatened to be a critical error with a penalty that earned Chelsea a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The Italian international will wonder what might have been if he had not miscontrolled a bouncing ball in the 50th minute, allowing Jadon Sancho to dart away and give the visitors a lead they scarcely merited. Chelsea were by far the game's dominant force and the penalty he converted soon after was no less than the league leaders merited for the pressure they put on the Red Devils' goal.

With next week expected to bring Ralf Rangnick's appointment at Old Trafford until the end of the season, the visitors, who had Cristiano Ronaldo among the substitutes, went their task with an early intensity that would surely impress the so-called godfather of gegenpressing. Though United attempt to press Chelsea early on, the Blues were utterly dominant in terms of territory and opportunities. 

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As early as the third minute they were finding a way through the opposition's higher lines, Antonio Rudiger knocking the ball long for Marcos Alonso to flick into Callum Hudson-Odoi's path. The winger opened his body up to curl the ball at the far post but could not quite start it wide enough of David de Gea, the visitors' best performer in the first half.

Hudson-Odoi looked to be the most dangerous of Chelsea's front three with Romelu Lukaku and Mason Mount held in reserve. Spotting a loose cross field pass by Bruno Fernandes, he fired low from just outside the box only to see De Gea parry.

The Spaniard was all that stood between United and a halftime deficit, palming a ferocious Rudiger shot onto the bar before turning a bouncing free-kick from the left channel over it. There was nothing to suggest that Chelsea might fritter away the ascendancy but one heavy touch from Jorginho was all it took.

He could not bring Fernandes' hopeful punt under control. Sancho could, and with Rashford as a willing support runner he was able to slot home his first Premier League goal.

Naturally the pressure ratcheted up from the hosts, who won corner upon corner. Though on occasions those looked like a more dangerous avenue for United counters than Chelsea goals a careless swing of the boot by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, connecting with Thiago Silva rather than the ball, gave Jorginho the chance to make amends.

Thomas Tuchel belatedly turned to Christian Pulisic, Mount and Lukaku in a bid to break the tie after Timo Werner had spurned his all too familiar hatful of chances. Instead it was to Rudiger that the match-winning chance fell in the 98th minute, Pulisic picking him out at the back post only for the center back to thump his volley high and wide. Chelsea remain top of the table but their lead over Manchester City has been trimmed to a solitary point.

Why Carrick dropped Ronaldo

It took only one passage of Chelsea possession for it to be apparent why Ronaldo had been confined to the bench in Michael Carrick's first and perhaps sole Premier League match at the helm. Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho chased the ball with an intensity that their veteran teammate, whose pressing profile is more like that of a goalkeeper than a center forward, simply would not have matched.

The midfield did not charge forward with quite the same abandon but Scott McTominay and Fred certainly were not afraid of heading upfield without the ball. At its best early in the first half you felt that Chelsea might be one misplaced delivery away from real danger.

The issue was rather that this hastily assembled defensive identity really was not enough to discombobulate a team as settled in its approach as Thomas Tuchel's. They do not misplace those knife-edge passes. They had so many ways to beat the press. The three center backs could pass around it. They could go over it with a long pass up to Marcos Alonso. Antonio Rudiger could simply charge through it.

There was nothing United could do to stop Chelsea getting into the final third and precious little they could do to stop them pinging the ball around when they got there. A third of the way through the game Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech and Alonso had all had more touches in the most dangerous parts of the pitch than the entire United side.

It did not look like their commitment to pressing was working. It's hard to know if it necessarily did. Sancho and Rashford were hardly in Jorginho's grill when he miscontrolled Bruno Fernandes' punt upfield. But the speed and intensity with which they chased what might well have been a lost cause was something that will surely endear them to Ralf Rangnick.

Hudson-Odoi should keep his place as reinforcements arrive

This felt rather like the Chelsea of last season, when Tuchel was bedevilled by his side's inability to put their chances away. Certainly they had plenty, enough even to put the game out of sight. In total they ended this match with 24 shots on the United goal, 2.54 expected goals (1.75 without Jorginho's penalty) but whilst De Gea excelled early on it rarely felt like he was being tested by the majority of Chelsea's front three.

Hakim Ziyech has not seen a half-opening at goal he won't attempt to pry open even if it might be shrewder to keep play ticking over. Meanwhile it summed up Werner's Chelsea career in the cruellest of fashions that he sweetly struck a volley off the outside of his right foot when, based on where he was aiming, a shank would have been far more effective.

Ziyech has had impressive moments with Chelsea in recent weeks — and today he worked well to get the ball back — but he lacks the consistency that Hudson-Odoi has begun to display. Though he might have done better with the best open play chance that came the hosts way he was a constant menace on the left flank. He relished the chance to get one vs. one with Wan-Bissaka and unleash his box of feints, step overs and drives to the byline. 

Of the 11 open-play chances Chelsea created four came from Hudson-Odoi in a dominant first third of the game. Had he been delivering them to more natural penalty area poachers such as Pulisic or the returning Lukaku he may well have got an assist. There is a reason why the 21-year-old is on his longest run of consecutive starts at club level. On current form there is no reason why that should end any time soon.

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Full time at Stamford Bridge

Rudiger should have won it at the death. If he did United could have had no complaints but they still defended fairly well and took the chance that came their way. After the drama of the last few weeks this is at least another result to stabilise things at Old Trafford ahead of big changes to come.

November 28, 2021, 6:52 PM
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November 28, 2021, 6:23 PM
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A curious series of events

So it looked like Ronaldo was definitely, clearly offside as he chased a ball down the left channel. But the linesman doesn't flag until it's played out for a corner. But then surely he should raise it rather than give the set piece against Thiago Silva.

Tuchel gets a booking for his protestations, seemingly pointing out just that. Replays suggest he has every reason for his indignation even if the corner does not result in much.

November 28, 2021, 6:20 PM
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November 28, 2021, 6:17 PM
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What is going on at the back for Chelsea today. First Jorginho then Mendy plays himself into all sorts of trouble, passing the ball straight to Fred. The Brazilian's eyes light up but perhaps he could have made a better choice than to try to lob the Chelsea goalkeeper and instead chip it into his hands.

November 28, 2021, 6:14 PM
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Another Chelsea chance goes begging

The ball breaks to Werner in the box and somehow another chance goes begging, the ball smashing from him into a surprised Pulisic. In the German's defense this may just have been a case of excellent defending by Wan-Bissaka, who did just enough to get a toe on the ball and deflect it away from goal.

November 28, 2021, 6:07 PM
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November 28, 2021, 6:06 PM
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Here come Pulisic and Mount.

November 28, 2021, 6:00 PM
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