Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start to the season to go top of the Premier League after a 0-0 draw against Manchester United.
The Wayne Rooney transfer saga has dominated much of the summer and the striker was centre of attention again as David Moyes named him in the starting XI. Rooney would go on to put in a performance that would remind the world why Chelsea are so desperate to sign him and why United are so desperate to keep him.
Rooney wasn’t the only selection surprise. Mourinho started without a specialist striker, opting for a dynamic four in Hazard, Oscar, De Bruyne and Schurrle as the ‘striker’. Juan Mata was again left on the bench, but in his post match press conference, Jose explained he wasn’t fit enough and reiterated the Spaniard would not be sold.
No team has a better record against United than Chelsea, but it was the home side that controlled the opening stages. The Blues struggled to keep possession and wasted it with some sloppy passing. Oscar looked key to everything Chelsea did and managed to carve a few shooting opportunities for himself, but fired straight at David De Gea (or wide).
Both teams are known for their attacking qualities, but this was a night for defenders. John Terry played a third consecutive game for the first time in what seems a decade. Having struggled to adapt his game in previous seasons due to a lack of pace and injuries, he looked back to his best. He and Vidic were dominant on the edge of each other’s penalty box.
There were penalty shouts for both sides. The ball clearly struck Frank Lampard’s arm inside the box, but Martin Atkinson judged that he was too close to do anything about it. And Ashley Cole felt there was enough contact from Phil Jones to go down, but the referee waved play on again.
Both sides occasionally threatened but failed to create any clear cut chances. In a typically dull Monday night match, perhaps the most entertaining moment of the match when Mourinho couldn’t find his pen – it says a lot about the match.
Although it wasn’t the most inspiring 90 minutes of football we’ll watch this season, Mourinho clearly travelled to Old Trafford with his famous ‘I won’t say we have to win, I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on you. But we cannot lose’ mentality. And he got what he wanted.
Chelsea now travel to Prague to face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup – with the Champions League victory over Bayern and Jose’s rivalry with Pep Guardiola, there should be plenty of spark to Friday night’s fixture.