Manchester United remain winless at Old Trafford in the Premier League this season after they were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw by Chelsea on Saturday.
United, who had lost their opening two home games of the season, have seven points from five games and are in 15th place while Chelsea are in sixth on nine points from six games.
Given both teams’ defensive troubles of late — United’s last outing at Old Trafford was a 6-1 thrashing from Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea’s previous Premier League game ended in a 3-3 draw with Southampton — it was perhaps understandable that both managers took a cautious approach.
Paul Pogba started on the bench for the third league game in a row for United, who were solid in midfield and at the back, where Harry Maguire returned from injury.
Yet Dan James, partnering Marcus Rashford in attack, struggled and Bruno Fernandes found it difficult to create many openings.
Rashford produced the first real effort on goal in the 35th minute when he found himself in space on the right but his low drive was well saved by the out-stretched right leg of Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy.
Mendy was in action again, six minutes later, as he dived to push a Juan Mata snap shot wide of the post.
Searching for a spark to bring the game alive, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought on Pogba and Edinson Cavani in the 58th minute.
Uruguayan Cavani, making his United debut, almost scored from his first touch with a clever flick from a Fernandes cross that zipped into the side-netting.
Chelsea offered little threat and it was United who went the closest to a winner, in the 90th minute with Mendy at full stretch to keep out a well-struck, curling effort from Rashford.
Solskjaer said his side had edged the encounter.
“Their keeper made two fantastic saves from Marcus, they were the two brightest moments and they were great saves. If there was a winner, it should have been us,” said the Norwegian.
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta conceded his side could have done more but felt VAR should have reviewed a penalty appeal where he was grabbed by Maguire when challenging for a header.
“I felt arms around my neck and shoulders. The referee can make the decision, the VAR is there (to help). In any situation the referee takes the main decisions and the monitor is there for him to help. It was 50-50 so why not take 20 seconds to review it?” he said.