Soccer

Three things Carrick got right and one he got wrong as Man Utd hold Chelsea

The second game of the Michael Carrick era was a match that nobody expected Manchester United to win, with the Red Devils travelling to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Carrick made the surprising decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo for the clash at Stamford Bridge, with United forced to soak up a huge amount of pressure in the first period.

But his tactical plan worked a treat when Jadon Sancho put United ahead after capitalising on a Jorghino mistake to slot past Edouard Mendy.

The visitors continued to sit deep and Chelsea eventually made their dominance when Jorginho atoned for his error with a penalty after Aaron Wan-Bissaka had brought down Thiago Silva.

Here, Daily Star Sport looks at three things Carrick got right and one he got wrong as United claimed a surprise point at the Blues…

Formation change

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United tended to play with either a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-4-3 formation, but Carrick opted to start with a 4-3-1-2 system.

Solskjaer had tried that formation but failed to find a balance that worked defensively, with United looking wide open when it was deployed.

Carrick started with a midfield of Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay which helped United to mostly maintain their defensive solidity.

While they did give up a few chances, the 4-3-1-2 formation gave the visitors a better defensive base than they had in the defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City.

Who was your man of the match from Manchester United's clash with Chelsea? Let us know in the comments section…

Pressing plan

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As Solskjaer’s reign began to falter, United’s philosophy started to become confused, with players not knowing if and when to press opponents.

But in Carrick’s second game in temporary charge, the Red Devils appeared to have much more of an idea of when to close down Chelsea players on the ball.

It was a plan that helped to limit the damage of the Blues’ attacks, with United keeping the game goalless at the break.

That pressing led to Sancho’s goal, with the former Dortmund man capitalising on Jorginho’s heavy touch to break the deadlock.

Dropping Ronaldo

Arguably the biggest decision of Carrick’s short reign was the decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.

Instead, Rashford and Sancho were entrusted to spearhead the United attack, with the latter opening the scoring for his side.

Ronaldo was left to keep warm until the 64th minute, and it was surprisingly the right decision to deploy him as a sub..

United's pressing was much better with Ronaldo out of the line-up and the timing of his introduction was at a moment when Chelsea were leaving gaps in behind.

Defensive line-up

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While Carrick’s decision to play only three attacking-minded players helped United to keep their defensive shape, it also had a negative impact on their ability to threaten Edouard Mendy.

Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford struggled for service, with the Red Devils completing only three successful passes in the final third after 35 minutes.

They had an Expected Goals ratio of just 0.02 in the first period and failed to have a shot on target, with one Sky Sports graphic showing their average positions to all be in their own half.

Even after United scored, Chelsea continued to dominate, with United eventually breaking under that pressure with Jorginho scoring the equaliser.

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