Manchester United 0 - 0 Chelsea
How the mighty have fallen.
If someone had said at the start of the season that by the time United host Chelsea in the last match of 2015 one would be stuck near the bottom and the other would have failed to win in their last seven games that person would have been locked in the madhouse and the key thrown away, yet here we were.
Down the years, this fixture has had an important bearing on the outcome of the Premier League with each side battling it out in some classic encounters. However, it was more about honour this time round than points. The bottom line was that for both teams this was a match that neither could afford to lose.
Louis van Gaal's United had the lost the previous four matches, three in the league, and in doing so raised question marks over the Dutchman's tenure as manager of the Red Devils. Chelsea's free fall from last year's glory saw them dispense with the services of their 'special one' as they sat in the precarious position just above the bottom three.
For such an important match van Gaal made a handful of changes from the depressing defeat away at Stoke on Boxing Day and his starting XI consisted of: De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Young, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Mata, Herrera, Rooney and Martial.
Out went the dismal duo of Jones and Fellaini along with Carrick and Memphis and in came Darmian, Schneiderlin, Rooney and Schweinsteiger, whose steel had been sorely missed during his three-match ban.
United's intent to silence their detractors was there for all to see as early as the second minute when Mata let fire with a blistering strike from the edge of the area that rattled the visitors crossbar.
It was Chelsea's turn to come close when Terry tested De Gea with a header from a corner that the Spaniard acrobatically turned away. Five minutes in and already it was turning out to be a post- Christmas cracker.
Schneiderlin was the next to come close after Rooney had played the ball delightfully into his path, but his effort bent agonisingly wide.
After fifteen minutes it was all about the home side as they controlled all parts of the pitch in a way that hadn't been seen for many weeks, they just needed a goal to cement their commanding possession rate, but that's easier said than done based on their shyness in front of goal this season.
Manchester United Views is a Manchester United blog written by Miles Dunton, with lost of blog posts all about Manchester United. Check out his full blog at http://milesduntonmufc.blogspot.co.uk/.
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