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Latest Chelsea FC News

Andreas Christensen sends message to Thiago Silva ahead of Brazilian's return
No opposition player has scored against Chelsea with Andreas Christensen in defence since the Dane stepped in for Thiago Silva against Tottenham

Chelsea FC News in the past 30 minutes to 60 minutes

Luke Shaw could face FA charge TODAY after his claims about referee Stuart Attwell
The left-back claimed to have overhead a conversation between Attwell and United captain Harry Maguire but later backtracked and said he had misheard their on-pitch exchange.

Georginio Wijnaldum hopes Liverpool's win can bring back confidence ahead of Chelsea clash
That victory brought an end to a miserable run of four straight league defeats, a period that not only put an end to any potential title defence but also leaves them in a battle for a top four spot.

Chelsea FC News in the past 60 minutes to 120 minutes

Tuchel fury and things you may have missed from Chelsea draw with Man Utd
The Blues were held to a goalless draw against Manchester United that is unlikely to live too long in the memory of Blues supporters

Kieran Trippier in line to return for Atletico Madrid in time for Chelsea clash
England defender Kieran Trippier set to return to Atletico Madrid team to face Chelsea in Champions League last-16 second leg

The six worst players to win a Champions League medal over the past decade
Some of the game's greatest ever players have lifted the European Cup in the last 10 years - as well as some not-so-great ones

David de Gea pinpoints Man Utd's crucial failing in Chelsea stalemate
Man Utd were forced to settle for a point at Chelsea with David de Gea highlighted their lack of a final ball in attack as an issue in their goalless draw

Paul Scholes rubbishes Thomas Tuchel's claim Chelsea vs Man United stalemate was 'high quality'
The two sides played out an underwhelming contest at Stamford Bridge which leaves United 12 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and Chelsea still outside the top four.

Roy Keane admits he was 'annoyed' with Manchester United's 'lack of quality'
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side failed to score at Stamford Bridge and now sit 12 points behind Premier League leaders and rivals Manchester City.

Danny Murphy predicts where Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool will finish in the Premier League
A number of teams are fighting for a top-four spot...

Chelsea FC News in the past 120 minutes to 240 minutes

Paul Scholes disagrees with Thomas Tuchel's take on Chelsea vs Man Utd
Thomas Tuchel called Chelsea's 0-0 draw against Manchester United a "high quality game" but Paul Scholes has disagreed, claiming he "didn't see one bit of quality throughout the game"

AC Milan legend Maldini hails Chelsea's Tomori and discusses £21m transfer
Tomori was surplus to requirements at Chelsea but is reigniting his career in Italy as AC Milan mount a serious title challenge, with a view to a permanent move on the horizon

Premier League: What we learned this week - from Gareth Bale to VAR and Chelsea's attacking woes
It was the Premier League weekend that saw controversy and conspiracy theories at Stamford Bridge, a brace for Bale and Man City still sailing serenely clear at the top.

Peter Crouch: On Arsenal, ref Lee Mason's disallowed goal, Newcastle and more
PETER CROUCH: Lots for Sportsmail's columnist to digest, from bizarre refereeing decisions, to goalscoring defenders, and the relegation battle heating up at the bottom.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta urges Brazil starlet Gabriel Martinelli to give him a selection headache
The Brazilian has struggled for minutes in recent weeks, and has been an unused substitute in each of the Gunners' last five Premier League matches despite returning to fitness after injury.

Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side slip 12 points behind leaders Man City
MARTIN SAMUEL AT STAMFORD BRIDGE: It was Kevin Keegan who said he wasn't the man for a 0-0 draw. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clearly is. Goalless is his default result against the top-six

Chelsea FC News in the past 240 minutes

Ben Chilwell makes a second Chelsea audition in Blues draw with Man Utd
Here are or key takeaways from Chelsea's stalemate with the Red Devils at Stamford Bridge

Alan Shearer hits out at law changes on handball rule after Hudson-Odoi incident
Chelsea's goalless draw with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon produced just one real flashpoint, which came in the first half when United thought they should have been given a penalty

Billy Gilmour to play for Chelsea’s development squad vs Leicester tonight
The midfielder has played just once since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel and has made the match-day squad in the Premier League on only two occasions

Roy Keane compares Mason Mount to Manchester United legend Paul Scholes
Roy Keane heaped praise upon Mason Mount prior to Chelsea's goalless draw with Manchester United on Sunday

Chelsea morning headlines as Premier League explain controversial decision
The latest Chelsea news to start the day including the Premier League's explanation for a controversial decision

Paolo Maldini outlines Milan's next steps over Fikayo Tomori's Chelsea future
The centre-back is impressing during his loan spell at San Siro as he made his third Serie A start of the season against Roma

Klopp and Lampard digs that left Solskjaer fuming after Man Utd draw
The Manchester United boss launched an astonishing rant following the 0-0 draw with Chelsea, a game which saw his side denied a first-half penalty

Former ref Mark Clattenburg gives verdict on Man Utd penalty call vs Chelsea
United felt they were denied a clear penalty when the ball struck Callum Hudson-Odoi's hand in the box during a tussle with Mason Greenwood but no spot kick was given

Danny Murphy turns Man Utd's poor Big Six record on its head after Chelsea draw
Manchester United held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge, continuing their run of poor form against the other sides competing towards the top of the table

Jurgen Klopp expects triple boost for Liverpool's showdown with Chelsea
Diogo Jota missed Sunday's win over Sheffield United but could return on Thursday, while Klopp also expects to have Alisson and Fabinho available for the Premier League clash

Tuchel offers only entertainment as Man Utd and Chelsea serve up drab affair
Chelsea and Man Utd played out a drab goalless draw in west London in a game that lacked chances but did involve a contentious penalty decision that went the Blues way

Thomas Tuchel admits Tammy Abraham is "struggling" with his "hard decision"
Tammy Abraham was left out of Chelsea's 18-man matchday squad against Man Utd but Thomas Tuchel insists he has to make tough selection calls

Timo Werner sets out Chelsea FC targets for the rest of the season

Timo Werner is hoping to help fire Chelsea FC to a top-four finish in the Premier League this season. The Blues have enjoyed an upturn in form since Thomas Tuchel was brought in to replace Frank Lampard at the end of January. Chelsea FC had dropped down the Premier League table following a poor run […]

The post Timo Werner sets out Chelsea FC targets for the rest of the season appeared first on The Sport Review.

Gary Neville delivers his verdict on Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea FC

Gary Neville is backing Thomas Tuchel to improve Chelsea FC following his appointment as the west London side’s new manager. Tuchel is currently settling into life in charge of the west London side after having been brought in as Frank Lampard’s successor at Stamford Bridge at the end of January. The German head coach has […]

The post Gary Neville delivers his verdict on Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea FC appeared first on The Sport Review.

Timo Werner sends honest message to Chelsea FC fans

Timo Werner has admitted that his goal drought this season at Chelsea FC has probably been one of the “worst” periods of his career so far. The Germany international went 14 games without scoring for the west London side in the Premier League but finally ended that goal drought when he netted in the 2-0 […]

The post Timo Werner sends honest message to Chelsea FC fans appeared first on The Sport Review.

Furious Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hits out at Chelsea's WEBSITE for 'influencing referees'
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Chelsea's website deliberately attempted to influence referees ahead of their game on Sunday.

Gary Neville: Manchester United have better title chances under Solskjaer than Jose Mourinho
The Sky Sports pundit claims Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a better chance of winning the title with Manchester United than Jose Mourinho ever did in his two-and-a-half season at Old Trafford.

MARK CLATTENBURG: How Manchester United didn't get a penalty for Hudson-Odoi's handball is a mystery
Manchester United were feeling hard-done-by after Sunday's 0-0 draw with Chelsea, after Callum Hudson-Odoi's handball inside the box went unpunished. 

Thomas Tuchel admits Tammy Abraham is 'struggling with my decisions' after Man United selection snub
Tammy Abraham if finding life tough under Thomas Tuchel, the German boss has revealed, after the forward was left out of Chelsea's squad to play Manchester United.

Luke Shaw claims referee told Maguire there would be 'a lot of talk' if he had given penalty
In an incredible post-match interview, Shaw claimed Atwell told United skipper Harry Maguire that he chose not to overturn his original no penalty call during Man United's draw with Chelsea.

Roy Keane and Graeme Souness cast doubts over Anthony Martial's commitment
Martial, 25, was omitted from the starting line-up despite forward Edinson Cavani being injured. Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James began the game, with Martial coming on.

Thomas Tuchel sends message to Billy Gilmour after leaving him out of squad to face Manchester Untied
A big call...

Manchester United are ‘far better placed’ to win Premier League title under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer than Jose Mourinho, says Gary Neville
Is he right?

Manchester United claim Luke Shaw misheard Harry Maguire’s chat with referee Stuart Attwell in Chelsea draw
The left-back stunned viewers with his comments after United's draw.

Jurgen Klopp provides update on Alisson, Fabinho and Diogo Jota availability for Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea
Could the trio feature at Anfield?

Edinson Cavani speaks out on his injury after Manchester United’s draw with Chelsea
The veteran striker has missed United's last four games.

Thomas Tuchel provides Callum Hudson-Odoi injury update after Chelsea’s draw with Manchester United
The England international was pictured with strapping around his left knee after being forced off.

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend's action

Fulham continue to struggle in front of goal, Leicester threatening a second collapse and West Brom play by the rules

At the start of Scott McTominay’s United career, his place in the team seemed predicated in José Mourinho’s antipathy towards Paul Pogba, his receipt of the manager’s player of the year award the nearest Mourinho could get to presenting it to himself. Since then, though, McTominay has improved by several orders of magnitude, contributing power, tenacity and personality – skills that have been crucial in helping United improve from sixth to second. They still struggle to dominate, however, and when Pogba is absent the entirety of the creative burden rests with Bruno Fernandes, who had an off-day at Stamford Bridge. To take the next step, they need McTominay to develop his passing – in particular around both boxes, but also with regard to the one and two-touch play that controls games – or they will remain a team able to beat the best when at their best, but whose average level stops them competing over the course of a season. Daniel Harris

Related: Tireless runner Daniel James suits Solskjær's gameplan to disrupt

Continue reading...

Rivals have turned referees against Manchester United, says Solskjær

  • Manager upset after team denied penalty against Chelsea
  • Solskjær hits out at ‘cheeky’ coverage on Chelsea website

Ole Gunnar Solskjær accused rival managers of looking to influence referees against Manchester United after his side were controversially denied a penalty during their goalless draw with Chelsea, whose laboured attacking display saw them miss an opportunity to return to the top four.

Although Solskjær acknowledged United failed to do enough to win a dull encounter, he was left fuming after Stuart Attwell decided not to penalise a handball by Callum Hudson-Odoi during the early stages at Stamford Bridge. Attwell waved play on after the video assistant referee told him to check the on-pitch monitor and there was further controversy when Luke Shaw claimed the official told United’s captain, Harry Maguire, that he chose not to award a penalty because he was worried about the post-match reaction. United later sought to play down Shaw’s comments, stating that the left-back had, in fact, misheard Attwell’s claims.

Related: Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech fritters chance to turn up heat on Manchester United

Continue reading...

Tireless runner Daniel James suits Solskjær's gameplan to disrupt

Little better than ordinary on the ball the forward’s job was to throttle Chelsea attacks at source

Early on Sunday morning I was walking through my local park in south London, where around eight guys were playing football on the grass. At one stage, one of them ran clean through: round the keeper, goal at his mercy, only to roll the ball wide. “Daniel James!” he exclaimed to himself as he went to fetch it. “Daniel James,” he muttered again, shamefaced and still furious. And before long, all his mates were calling him “Daniel James” as well.

About eight hours later, the real Daniel James was charging towards goal at Stamford Bridge in that rapid but largely innocuous style of his. Has there ever been an attacking player who ran so fast while carrying so little perceived threat? When we think of the game’s great speed merchants – Kylian Mbappé, Gareth Bale, the original Ronaldo – their pace was inextricably bound up in menace. With James, by contrast, it feels entirely peripheral to his quality as a footballer. A curiosity, a party trick, perhaps even a stick to beat him with: the pace of an elastic band, and roughly the same potential for damage.

Related: Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech fritters chance to turn up heat on Manchester United

Continue reading...

Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

There was more VAR controversy at Stamford Bridge, where the match ended goalless despite plenty of purposeful, high-tempo attacking from both sides

Right, that’s it - please join Luke McLaughlin for Sheffield United v Liverpool. Goodnight!

Related: Sheffield United v Liverpool: Premier League – live!

This is what Solskjaer was referring to, in a preview on the official Chelsea website.

The Man United skipper’s actions will also be under scrutiny again on Sunday after his penalty area tangle with Jamal Lascelles last weekend. In recent Chelsea meetings the Red Devils’ centre-back has survived VAR reviews of a potential penalty foul on Cesar Azpilicueta and violent challenge on Michy Batshuayi that may well have affected the outcome.

More from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“Our defending, energy, application, pressing were absolutely spot on. With the ball, not good enough. We didn’t have enough quality. A clean sheet is always the foundation, we’ve had loads against the top sides but we haven’t found the goal and we need to sort that.”

[Should you have had a penalty?] “Yep, 100 per cent. [Can you understand why it wasn’t given?] No. Not at all. From here it looked like it might have been a handball by our player but when you see it on the video it’s clear, and it’s taken two points away from us.

“I can’t say [what the referee said to the United players] because that’s not gonna be good for him. [Is that not concerning to you?] Of course it is. [Luke Shaw said the referee told Harry Maguire he didn’t want to give it because there would be controversy]. Exactly. I didn’t say that and I don’t want to cause controversy, but it’s not right, is it?

Hang on, here’s a fuming Ole Gunnar Solskjaer...

Here’s David Hytner’s match report. Goodnight!

Related: Manchester United fire more blanks in stalemate at Chelsea

Those were two slightly odd interviews, as both Luke Shaw and Thomas Tuchel got the wrong end of the stick over the penalty appeal. Shaw didn’t understand that VAR had advised Stuart Attwell to look at the monitor, and that he had then stayed with his original decision; Tuchel though Greenwood handled it before Hudson-Odoi, which wasn’t the case.

Here’s Thomas Tuchel

“It was a high-quality game between two very strong teams. We suffered at times in the first half because of the quality of MacGyver, Maguire to come in, and we couldn’t close the 6, but overall it was an even game. In the second half I felt we were very strong - many high recoveries, good chances and half-chances. Performance-wise I am very satisfied. We defended very high, very brave, and I am very happy with that.

Chelsea’s results against the Big Six this season

0-2, 0-0, 0-0, 1-3, 1-3, 1-0, 0-0

United’s results against the Big Six this season

1-6, 0-0, 0-1, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0

Here’s Luke Shaw

[What did you make of that game?] Dunno really. Quite an evenly matched game, not too many chances. We were both quite safe; maybe they had a bit more possession. We defended well but we didn’t create much so we’re a bit disappointed with that. We needed to win because the gap’s getting bigger.

Still want more? Bet you do.

Related: Sheffield United v Liverpool: Premier League – live!

Manchester City are now 12 points clear, so it’s probably safe to cross those Ts. United stay second, a point of ahead of Leicester. Chelsea are fifth, a point off West Ham in fourth and six behind United.

Victor Lindelof walks over to ask Stuart Attwell what the flip he was doing with that penalty appeal in the first half. But both sets of players seem happy with life - except Bruno Fernandes, who looks thoroughly hacked off as he leaves the field. He didn’t have a great game, though he is crying out for some creative support. Overall, a draw was a fair result.

Peep peep! There have been many worse 0-0s.

90+3 min A stinging rising drive from Fred is straight at Mendy, who beats it away unconvincingly.

90+3 min James’s free-kick is headed away by Maguire. Mount’s long-range volley is blocked and then Kovacic’s shot dribbles through to de Gea.

90+2 min Another free-kick on the right to Chelsea, this time 35 yards from goal. This will probably be the last chance.

90+1 min Three minutes of added time.

90 min James’ free-kick clears everybody and United break. Fred plays a brilliant pass to McTominay on the right, and suddenly United are four on three. But McTominay’s low pass towards Martial is underhit, which allows Kante to make a vital interception. That was a big chance.

89 min Reece James is blocked off the ball by Shaw, which gives Chelsea a free-kick on the right wing...

87 min Martial takes Shaw’s pass neatly in his stride on the edge of the area, forcing Christensen to stretch to make an important tackle.

85 min And now Pulisic blasts over from the edge of the area.

85 min Chelsea look the likelier winners at the moment. Werner, on the left of the area, hits a crisp shot from a tight angle that is comfortably saved by de Gea.

83 min: Great defending from Lindelof! Reece James, on the right, curls a wicked ball to the far post, where Lindelof just gets in front of Werner to poke the ball behind. The referee gives a goalkick but that was definitely good defending rather than a bad miss.

82 min Stick or twist, lads. At the moment it looks like the former.

80 min “Kovacic surely should have been booked for taking down James,” says Martin Lancon of an incident a couple of minutes ago.

I thought they both got the ball simultaneously, though I haven’t seen a replay.

79 min Maguire is booked for a late tackle on Pulisic.

78 min Manchester United make their first change: Anthony Martial replaces Mason Greenwood, who had a couple of good moments but still looks a shadow of the player he was last season.

77 min Chelsea make their final change: Timo Werner replaces Hakim Ziyech, who faded after a confident start.

76 min Dan James runs at Rudiger and hammers an excellent low cross that is spilled by the stretching Mendy. Happily for him, there are no United forwards on the scene and he grabs it at the second attempt.

75 min de Gea makes another comfortable save, this time from Azpilicueta’s long-range shot.

73 min Lots of Chelsea possession in the last few minutes. Eventually Kovacic curls a first-time shot from 25 yards that is comfortably held to his left by de Gea.

70 min United have had so many 0-0s in the Big Six games this season - City and Chelsea at home, Liverpool and Arsenal away. I think they’ve played pretty well today, for what it’s worth, and they should have had a penalty. I’m not sure this will end 0-0 anyway.

69 min Ziyech is now playing up front for Chelsea, with Pulisic and Mount behind him.

68 min After some snappy one-touch passing, Fred hits a right-footed curler from 25 yards that goes just wide of the far top corner. That was a terrific effort from a player whose long-range shooting usually has a whiff of the John Jensens.

66 min The 0-0 between these teams at Old Trafford was a stinker; this has been a much better game.

65 min Another Chelsea substitution: Christian Pulisic replaces Olivier Giroud.

65 min A vicious long-range shot from McTominay is blocked by the falling Rudiger.

63 min: Great defending from McTominay! Mendy makes a more comfortable save from Rashford’s curler. Chelsea break and McTominay makes a vital block from a close-range shot by Mount. It was brilliant play from Mount, who played a one-two with Ziyech on the halfway line and ran all the way into the area. Then he Cruyff-turned McTominay, who recovered admirably to block the ensuing shot.

62 min Chilwell is booked for a late tackle on Greenwood, who has come alive in the last few minutes.

61 min: Good save from Mendy! Wan-Bissaka, on the right of the area, cuts the ball back to the unmarked McTominay. He curls a first-time shot that is blocked by the chest of the unsighted Mendy. That was good, unorthodox goalkeeping because he saw the ball so late.

60 min Greenwood plays a crisp one-two with James, zips away from Christensen in the D and hits a fierce shot that flashes just wide of the near post. That was terrific play.

59 min Kante’s long-range shot is blocked by Lindelof and United break three on three - but Fernandes’s pass to Rashford is slightly overhit and runs out of play. Fernandes is fuming because James was taking out by Rudiger off the ball; Stuart Attwell isn’t interested.

58 min Rudiger booms another terrific crossfield pass, this time to Reece James. His sharp cross is cut out by Fred. Chelsea are having an excellent spell though.

57 min Dan James and Greenwood have struggled to influence the game, so we might see Anthony Martial pretty soon. United don’t have many attacking options on the bench because of injuries to Cavani and Mata.

56 min Chelsea make a mess of a short corner. Mary Waltz and Big Sam (8 min) nod knowingly.

53 min Shaw’s corner is headed away by Giroud and Chelsea break. Ziyech cuts infield from the right, past a couple of players, and hits a shot that is blocked by Fred.

52 min Rashford plays an excellent long pass to James, 25 yards from goal. A good off-the-ball run from Greenwood gives James the time to turn and hit a shot that deflects wide off Christensen.

51 min Chelsea have started the second half really well.

50 min Fred is booked for a late tackle on Mount.

49 min: Superb save from de Gea! Chilwell surged down the left, looked up and tried to pick at Giroud at the near post with a sharp cutback. He missed it but the ball reached Ziyech, who swept a cracking first-time shot towards goal. De Gea, who was going the other way, stretched out his right hand to make a fine block. The ball rebounded to James, whose shot was brilliantly blocked by the stretching Shaw.

47 min Hudson-Odoi’s left knee is strapped, so it wasn’t a tactical change.

46 min Chelsea begin the second half.

Some desperately sad news - Glenn Roeder, the former manager of West Ham and Newcastle, has died at the age of 65.

The LMA is so very deeply saddened following the death of member Glenn Roeder, at the age of 65


Chelsea substitution Reece James is coming on to replace poor old Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Half-time plug

S4 Ep6 is here. Part 1 of our deep dive into Kevin Keegan's England and long chat about player of the pod, Gianfranco Zola

Half-time reading

“I feel like letting the ref decide whether a handball was deliberate/reckless without any video reviews might work,” says Niall Mullen. “We’d all have to agree to shut the h*ll up and leave the ref alone. I can’t see that being an issue. Every year Steven Wells’ piece from 2008 resonates more.”

Related: Steven Wells: In praise of referees

Peep peep! As 0-0s go, that was pretty decent: there wasn’t much excitement, just one VAR controversy, but the tempo was excellent and both sides attacked with quality and intent. They also defended extremely well, which is why it’s 0-0.

45 min Two minutes of added time.

44 min Lindelof’s long, angled pass is headed down neatly by Fernandes towards Rashford, who is waiting for the ball to come down when Kante appears on his blindside to put it behind for a corner.

43 min United continue to dominate possession, which is not what we expected.

42 min “Afternoon Rob,” says Tom Hopkins. “To Rick Harris’s point, the current law seems to have been designed for a VAR world of absolutes where we’ve lost the idea that to give away a penalty or get sent off you must have done something wrong (or at least made a mistake). Kind of tail wagging the dog and just intuitively unsatisfying.”

I think this is a huge problem. A combination of VAR and social media is not entirely conducive to clarity of decision-making, or sensible discourse.

41 min Fernandes’s long-range shot is deflected behind. That was another half chance that came from Fred winning the ball in a dangerous area. He has been excellent.

39 min Ziyech is down holding his head after an aerial challenge from Lindelof. He’s fine.

36 min Lovely play from Chelsea. Rudiger moves away from James and crashes a crossfield pass to the unmarked Hudson-Odoi. He puts in a beautiful cross that just evades the diving Giroud in the six-yard box and drifts to safety. Giroud’s momentum takes him into the post, and there’s a short break in play while he receives treatment to his back.

35 min Corner to United on the left. They have pinned Chelsea back in the last 10-15 minutes. Shaw’s corner is poor and Kante clears at the near post.

34 min Abraham was on the bench in Madrid, and there has been no reports of an injury, though it does seem strange not to have him among the substitutes if he’s fit.

33 min “Watching in US where Lee Dixon claims ‘the game is gone’ if that was given as a penalty,” says Stephen Taylor.

That was Niall Mullen’s point (26th min), and I’d agree with it. But in accordance with the current interpretation of the law, it should surely have been given.

32 min A poor kick from de Gea goes straight to Giroud, 30 yards from goal. He takes a touch and then launches a half-volley into Fulham Palace Road.

31 min “We need to go back to the concept of intentional handball and ignore any other instance of ball to hand,” says Rick Harris. “VAR can be the final arbiter but it is pretty clear where a player deliberately handballs as opposed to say protecting their face.”

There’s a grey area of reckless handballs that isn’t quite as easy to define, especially in a social-media age, but in principle I agree with you.

30 min This is a decent spell for United, their best of the match so far, although they haven’t yet created any clear chances.

29 min “Tammy Abraham isn’t even in the squad,” says Julian Menz. “Is he injured?”

I don’t think so.

28 min Fernandes clips another good pass over the top towards Rashford, who this time is eased off the ball by Christensen. I think Rashford was fractionally offside anyway.

26 min “Nobody knows anything but I’m glad that wasn’t given just because it’s so disproportionate to give a goal away for basically accidental handball at the edge of the box with the players facing away from goal,” says Niall Mullen. “In modern terms an xG of near 0 would have been turned into an xG of near 1 for really no good reason.”

Yes, I agree with you on that. It would have been a VAR penalty in every sense, a jobsworth’s fantasy.

24 min Fernandes stabs a clever return pass towards Rashford, and Azpilicueta shepherds the ball behind for a goalkick. That move started with Fred winning the ball high up the pitch; both sides continue to press very aggressively.

22 min Hudson-Odoi plays a one-two with Azpilicueta, flicks the ball up and cracks a volley from the edge of the area that goes a few yards wide of the far post. That was lovely play.

20 min Nothing much has happened since that VAR check, though the pace of the game remains impressively high.

That was so clumsy from Hudson-Odoi but if a referee is going to have a replay of a probable penalty and not give it it's Stuart Attwell. #mufc

19 min “How is that not given?” says Martin Lancon.

17 min In the context of some of the recent penalties that have been given, especially for Wolves at Southampton, Chelsea are pretty lucky.

16 min: No penalty! Stuart Attwell has overruled VAR. As Gary Neville says on Sky, a few months ago that would definitely have been a penalty. I think he’s pretty lucky there, as his hand was a long way away from his body.

15 min When Mendy punched that free-kick away, the ball bounced up and hit the outstretched hand of Hudson-Odoi. Play went on for ages and then Stuart Attwell was told to look at the monitor. I think this will be given.

VAR check: Man Utd penalty!

14 min Rashford’s wobbling free-kick is punched away by Mendy, who sensibly took no chances.

12 min Fernandes, 20 yards out, whacks a shot on the turn that is blocked by Christensen. McTominay picks up the loose ball and is fouled by Mount, maybe 30 yards from goal. Rashford scored a screamer from this range, albeit at the other end, in the Carabao Cup last season.

10 min Mount’s corner is headed away by McTominay and United break at pace. Eventually Rashford hooks a clever pass over his shoulder towards Greenwood, and the last man Chilwell does well to head it away. Greenwood would have been through on goal.

10 min Hudson-Odoi’s cross just evades Giroud at the near post and is kneed behind by Lindelof. Chelsea are on top at the moment.

9 min Ziyech and Mount are getting into some dangerous positions between the United defence and midfield. Having an extra passer, rather than a runner in Werner, has so far worked very well.

8 min “Taking corners short and then crossing has always seemed a little clever by half,” says Mary Waltz. “Has anyone done a study of the success rate of that tactic?”

I bet Big Sam could give you chapter and verse.

7 min Mount, who looks very bright, receives a return pass from Ziyech and forces a shot that is blocked by Lindelof.

6 min Rudiger goes on a storming 50-yard run - and why not - before hitting a cross that is cut out by McTominay.

4 min The match is starting to settle into the expected rhythm, with plenty of Chelsea possession.

2 min It’s been a fast, aggressive start from both teams. Ziyech cracks a good pass out to Mount on the left. He cuts inside and floats a cross that is taken off the head of Giroud by Shaw. That was a vital piece of defending.

1 min Peep peep! Manchester United kick off from left to right. They’ve started with Mason Greenwood rather than Marcus Rashford up front.

“Hello Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “I hope you don’t mind me mentioning that St. Johnstone, yes St. Johnstone, have today won the Scottish League cup, beating Livingston 1-0 at Hampden. This after losing on penalties to Dundee United in the group stage, from which the Perth minnows only progressed due to the fact that United had lost to Peterhead, yes Peterhead, at home earlier in the competition. So by rights it’s United’s cup really. Just like the Scottish Cup in 2014, when a United team featuring both Andy Robertson and Stuart Armstrong, inexplicably lost to, well, I forget now. Not that I’m bitter of course. As long as football is the winner, eh?”

The players are ready for action. It’s a nice day in west London, with a whiff of spring in the air.

In other news

Related: Gareth Bale hits two as Tottenham's revamped attack blows Burnley away

Here’s Thomas Tuchel

“[Hakim Ziyech] is a different kind of player - he had a good impact against Atletico and he deserves to start. We also wanted to give Timo a little break; I felt he was a bit tired after playing so many games in a row. [What is the best way to deal with Bruno Fernandes?] Leave him out! Give him a rest, he plays all the time. We have guys who can take of him, we trust N’Golo and Kova to be close to him. He is a key player - he is the accelerator of the game, he’s the guy who delivers passes behind the defence, always on point. The challenge is to defend well in the areas he will hang around.”

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I should have said that a study into side effects of signing up for the Fiver hasn’t yet been completed, so all those rumours about people openly weeping for the future of comedy and humanity should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Here’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“We need to play a good game and hopefully get the three points. But if you think too much about the result, your focus is somewhere else. We need to perform. We know it will be hard to take the ball off them. Thomas has made them really hard to press, so we need to press high, be aggressive, then play ourselves and find the spaces. We know they press hard - the German style, if you like - so we need to be good on the ball to play through that press and get at their back three.”

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Thomas Tuchel makes three changes from the side that beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League: Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante and Hakim Ziyech come in for Marcos Alonso, Jorginho and Timo Werner.

Manchester United didn’t play their best XI against Real Sociedad, as they were effectively through, but there are two changes from the 3-1 win over Newcastle in their last league game: Scott McTominay, fit again, and Mason Greenwood come in for Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial. That means Marcus Rashford Mason Greenwood will play up front.

Hello. Progress, like hope and potatoes, comes in many forms. In football it can be measured by trophies, signings, performances, even unexpected praise escaping from the open face of Royston Keane. And – duh – league position. Last season, Chelsea and Manchester United were competing to finish third; this year they both have their eye on second. That’s primarily because Liverpool have gegenpressed straight into a brick wall, but their shocking collapse shouldn’t obscure the fact that United in particular have made a big improvement this year.

Chelsea have had a mixed season, and would probably be content to finish in the top four. But after a promising start under Thomas Tuchel – eight games, no defeats, only two goals conceded – second is a realistic ambition. If they win today they will move within three points of United. With a respectful and unwittingly patronising nod to Leicester, these two clubs are the likeliest to break the duopoly of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Pre-match reading

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Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech fritters chance to turn up heat on Manchester United

It is the statistic that undermines the good Manchester United have done in the Premier League this season: they have failed to score a single goal in open play against opponents from the so-called big six.

Their only return in what is now seven attempts came from a Bruno Fernandes penalty in the 6-1 home defeat against Tottenham. This was their fifth 0-0 draw and, although it was more watchable than some of the others, it illustrated why they lag so far behind Manchester City. In the decisive matches they have not only mislaid their creativity and cutting edge, they have seemed risk averse.

Related: Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United: Premier League – live!

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