This much-anticipated tie ended up disappointing the fans. It was the first goalless draw at Old Trafford since Ryan Giggs developed a bald patch.
In reality, Moyes, Mourinho and both sets of opposing fans would have taken this result before a ball was kicked. As is the case in these situations it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The last thing that David Moyes wanted was to lose his first game in charge at the Theatre of Dreams, especially as he had failed to win there as a visiting coach. For Mourinho a point at Old Trafford is always a decent result and would keep the Blues momentum going, leaving them unbeaten so far this season.
The undoubted and only star performance was delivered by Wayne Rooney, who given the opportunity to appear in the shop window did not disappoint. He looked fitter than he has done for quite some time and didn’t put a hair out-of-place all game.
The home support rallied behind him, and may well have convinced him to extend his United career.
The Manchester team selection had no real surprises other than Wayne’s first appearance of the season. The same cannot be said of Jose’s experimental front formation.
It is difficult to read any other message into the fact that Torres, Lukaku & a non-travelling Ba did not figure in the first choice team, other than Mourinho feels he needs to add a big name at the top of the formation.
Having said that the more puzzling omission was Chelsea’s player of the year for the past 2 seasons, Juan Mata. We can only hope that he is under the weather because if he was fully fit and left on the bench, he’d be even money to be wearing a non-blue shirt within a couple of weeks.
Rooney for Mata in a straight swap would certainly solve United’s requirement for a creative midfield playmaker but would have caused a riot at Stamford Bridge last season if Rafa would have suggested such a thing!
Jose decided to try new signing Schurrle in the No9 spot. Commentators cited the German’s hold up ability which made sense considering how dangerous United are on the break, he certainly held up his end of the bargain, but failed to threaten De Gea’s goal.
In fact when Torres came on to play “point” he continued to lose the ball before posing any real danger and gave United at couple of chances to counter attack. One of those coming in the last minute of the game after the Blues had played classic Mourinho keep ball for the previous couple of minutes. It was actually good to see our Portuguese General instill some of that famous close-out discipline which was sorely missing last campaign.
The first half highlights were non-existent as both defences played with mid-season understanding versus their attacking compatriots who still lacked a battle hardy first touch.
The Terry/ Cahill paring seems to be improving as the latter benefits from his Captain’s experience. David Luiz will find it hard to regain his spot in the EPL side at the moment.
Kevin De Bruyne was favoured over Mata in the triumvirate, but did look a little overwhelmed on the huge stage. Ramires put in his usual impeccable shift and Super Frank provided a settling presence.
The most amusing point of the first 45 came when Jose Mourinho, known for his furious note taking, managed to misplace his pen somewhere in the technical area. The 4th official was soon drafted to find a replacement. Maybe Jose needed it to add a few Million quid to the check he was writing for Rooney after the match.
Anyway it’s too early in the season to read too much into this result, albeit Mourinho would have been happier than Moyes.
The Scotsman still looks a little out of place sitting in Sir Alex’s red Recaro seat, but early signs are that he is doing the right thing by following an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy.
The Blues have Bayern Munich up next in the World Series. Pep vs Jose…….will be a big test for both new boys.