Cautious tactics keep Manchester United and Chelsea in check

David Moyes and José Mourinho are reactive managers whose philosophies may militate against high-scoring crunch games

It looks as if there will be plenty of big Premier League matches in this mould through 2013-14. We have been spoiled by the goalfests between title contenders in recent campaigns but David Moyes and José Mourinho are naturally reactive managers – and Manuel Pellegrini is more cautious in big matches than his opening two contests with Manchester City would suggest.

Mourinho's surprising decision to name André Schürrle as his primary striker did not have the intended effect – Mourinho presumably expected he would drift to the channels and terrify Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic with his pace, but Chelsea's determination to play him in early meant that passes were often hurried and inaccurate.

Manchester United looked more promising throughout the first half, playing neat combinations in wide areas. Wayne Rooney was heavily involved, taking advantage of Chelsea's lack of a true holding midfielder to find space between the lines, often forming neat triangles with Antonio Valencia and Phil Jones down the right, although the crossing was frequently unsuccessful.

On the other flank Danny Welbeck's tendency to move inside to become a third striker allowed Patrice Evra forward – he has formed a decent relationship with Robin van Persie, providing an assist for the first goal of the Moyes era in the Community Shield win over Wigan and producing two fine crosses at Swansea. Here his delivery from the flank was less consistent, although with Chelsea's Kevin De Bruyne often moving inside into central positions, space continually opened up for the Frenchman.

One of the few intriguing tactical developments involved the space behind Evra. Schürrle drifted out to the right flank a couple of times at the beginning of the second half – the German hit the bar in a rare sight of goal after one of those runs, although he was also flagged offside in the move. However, just when that situation appeared promising for Chelsea, Mourinho changed things – removing De Bruyne and introducing Fernando Torres up front, which meant Schürrle was in a permanent right-sided position and was forced to track Evra's runs rather than attack in behind him.

It was frustrating that both Shinji Kagawa and Juan Mata remained on the bench for the duration of the contest – this match was crying out for their positional intelligence and creativity, but both managers appeared content with a draw.

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