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Chelsea benefit from controversial penalty call to draw goalless with Man United



Manchester United lost further ground at the top of the 2020/2021 English Premier League (EPL) table as they drew 0-0 at Chelsea on Sunday.

Thomas Tuchel’s men benefited from a contentious call relating to a potential penalty kick award against them.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side came into the weekend 10 points adrift of pacesetters Manchester City.

But this draw, coupled with the leaders’ 2-1 win at West Ham on Saturday, saw the gap increase to 12 points as Pep Guardiola closes in on another Premier League title.

While a win for Manchester United at Stamford Bridge would not have changed a great deal, they will likely feel hard done by, as Callum Hudson-Odoi escaped unpunished.

That was when he handled the ball in his own area during the first period.

Both sides had their goalscoring chances after the interval but neither managed to apply the finishing touch.

This means that, for the first time in the five meetings between Tuchel and Solskjaer, the away manager could not leave with the spoils.

A fast and furious first half saw the two teams largely cancel each other out with their comparable high-pressing set-ups and solid defensive work.

But Manchester United were controversially denied the chance to take an early lead.

Marcus Rashford’s free-kick stung the hands of Edouard Mendy before dropping between Hudson-Odoi and Mason Greenwood, with the ball clearly hitting the hand of the Chelsea wing-back.

But referee Stuart Attwell refused to award a penalty kick, even after going to the pitchside monitor.

Hudson-Odoi had a more positive impact just after the half-hour mark when Olivier Giroud nearly met his early cross, though chances at either end were a rarity otherwise.

Chelsea were straight on the front foot after the break, with David de Gea forced into a reflex save by Hakim Ziyech before Luke Shaw vitally blocked the rebound from Reece James.

James was introduced at the interval for the injured Hudson-Odoi.

But Manchester United soon woke up again, with Greenwood shooting agonisingly wide of the top-left corner and Scott McTominay testing Mendy after a well-placed cut-back from Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Timo Werner was denied a tap-in by Victor Lindelof and McTominay squandered a counter-attacking opportunity in the latter stages, with the game ultimately destined to end goalless.

Olawale Alabi

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