Cristiano Ronaldo has scored an excellent equaliser to spare Manchester United a third successive Premier League defeat as they drew 1-1 at home to Chelsea.
Ralf Rangnick’s side lost their previous two games to Liverpool and Arsenal by an aggregate score of 7-1 and while the performance on their return to Old Trafford was by no means impressive, they at least avoided another loss on Thursday.
Despite a dismal first-half showing in which their midfield was routinely cut open, United somehow made it until the break without conceding, though Chelsea’s deserved breakthrough did arrive via Marcos Alonso with an hour played.
But Ronaldo – who has been responsible for five of their six Premier League goals this month – swiftly restored parity against the run of play, lashing home a 62nd-minute equaliser in front of the Stretford End, and Thomas Tuchel’s men failed to regain the lead.
Chelsea dominated the first half almost from start to finish, with a brief moment of United pressure culminating in Ronaldo putting a close-range bicycle kick over.
Otherwise, United had to rely on wasteful Chelsea finishing and David de Gea to keep the scoreline level, with the Spaniard crucially blocking Kai Havertz’s goal-bound effort with his midriff after the Blues carved through the hosts with ease.
United needed to win all of their final four matches to better the 64 points they managed in 2013-14 – the fewest they have ever recorded in the Premier League.
But Thursday’s stalemate means 64 is now the best they can do this term. Given everything that has occurred in 2021-22, few would bank on them winning their final three matches.
A new record-low points total would be fitting for what has been a dreadful season at Old Trafford.