Manchester United vs. Chelsea: Halftime score 0-0, Dull 45 minutes at Old Trafford

Alex Livesey

Manchester United and Chelsea had a first half to forget.

Neither Manchester United nor Chelsea were able to find the net in the first half of their clash at Old Trafford, and neither came close to doing so either. There was no rhythm to the play and no creativity as a couple rolling, aimless shots from distance qualified as the best opportunities for both sides to go in front.

Martin Atkinson was more dangerous than either team, allowing both teams to do whatever they pleased without showing a card. Maybe that's not fair because he did finally caution someone, but it was to Kevin De Bruyne for getting elbowed in the face, apparently a much bigger sin that cynically taking down a man in full flight or sliding in late with two feet.

Jose Mourinho's quest to find his pen may have to qualify as entertainment in this match, with cameras repeatedly showing him looking for his writing utensil. We assume, but cannot confirm, that he did finally find it.

Most of the pre-match talk centered around Wayne Rooney, the Chelsea target who started for United, but he was rather quiet in the first half. His defensive pressure was admirable, but his best play going forward was a weak shot from 20 yards that didn't worry Petr Cech one bit.

Then again, Rooney's chance was one of the best chances of the first half. The 15 minute halftime respite is much-needed, and so might bringing on Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa.

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