Both team’s lineups contained surprises. David Moyes started Wayne Rooney, who has been the subject of two Chelsea bids this summer, while Jose Mourinho played with a false number nine.
Maybe it was a signal from Mourinho to the Chelsea board that he is not happy with his striking options, which is why he wants Rooney, but his line-up meant the game was very closed and cagy from the first whistle.
Last season’s Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie had few chances to give the Red Devils the lead, his best opportunity coming three minutes from time when his goalbound volley deflected to safety off Gary Cahill.
Rooney, who was given a fantastic reception by the Man United fans, was terrific throughout the game and looked like the player most likely to break the deadlock in the first half.
The chances Chelsea created came courtesy of Oscar, who played in front of United’s four-man defence and twice brought good saves out of David de Gea.
The second half began in much the same mild manner. Terry made an important intervention as United pressed, then Welbeck curled an ambitious effort over before lifing a more delicate attempt just wide from Rooney’s short pass.
Amid that flurry of activity around the visitors’ goal, Eden Hazard fired goalwards from 30 yards but De Gea barely had to move to make the save.
Rooney brought a full length save out of Cech, before delivering the corner that Danny Welbeck should have threatened with, but missed well-wide instead. Van Persie had one last shot before the yawnfest was brought to its conclusion.
All in all a very disappointing game, but a result that both managers are probably happy with.