2. Encouraging signs
Even though there was an overall lack of spark, this match had its moments.
The biggest takeaway was probably Hakim Ziyech’s performance. It wasn’t the best Ziyech performance to have ever existed—far from that—but if you’ve watched these past few games, you’d know that he hasn’t really been at the top of his game lately. He’s slowly improved in each game until he had his best performance under Tuchel so far against Manchester United. He was involved in a lot of chances/half-chances for the Blues, the Moroccan had a joint-game high of six shot-creating actions. He had a whopping five key passes, two out of three dribbles completed and one really good chance, which forced a great save from David de Gea. It was a very hopeful performance—one of many, hopefully.
That’s not the only positive either.
There was another new signing that had a good game as Ben Chilwell started for Chelsea for the first time in a long time. He also looked good. I won’t say great, but yes, it was a performance that showed Chilwell’s potential—both defensively and going forward. He made great runs and tried a few things, which didn’t really provide that much for the Blues players inside the box. However, he linked up well with them and showed signs of improvement. The English fullback showed that he has a lot to offer on the defensive end, as well. He totaled five clearances, two blocks and one interception on the afternoon.
This article wouldn’t be complete without a piece of Mason Mount appreciation either. He also had six shot-creating actions and was very, very lively in the attack. He completed three out of his three dribbles, which includes his brilliant run into the United box on the counter. Callum Hudson-Odoi was also having a good game until he got subbed off, which was very unfortunate. He had the best chance of the first half with an inch-perfect cross to Olivier Giroud, who wasn’t able to turn it home. It really looked like he was going to have an impactful performance until we saw an ice pack on his leg. Hopefully, he’s OK.
Finally, N’Golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta also looked very good.