Manchester United's winless run stretched to eight games but they did show encouraging signs in a 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Monday evening.
- Manchester United 0 Chelsea 0
- Rooney returns
- Mata and Martial strike woodwork
- De Gea double save denies Chelsea
- Herrera and Matic waste opportunities
Lead by a resurgent Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial were both denied by the woodwork as Manchester United made a lively start in front of the expectant crowd.
Chelsea became increasingly dangerous as the game progressed and David de Gea was at his absolute best to deny Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta in quick succession shortly after the restart.
Nemanja Matic wasted Chelsea's best chance of the evening by blazing wildly over when left one-on-one with the Manchester United goalkeeper.
Polite applause greeted the under-pressure Van Gaal as he made his way to the Manchester United hotseat, and the Dutchman would have been delighted with his side's energetic start.
Within the first two minutes, Juan Mata collected Rooney's cute inside pass and saw his quick snapshot from 20 yards cannon back off the woodwork.
Martial then suffered a similar fate 13 minutes later; operating on the left flank, he drove inside and struck the foot of the near post from close range as the deep defensive block of Chelsea continued to live very dangerously.
The young Frenchman embarked on a carbon-copy run soon after, which left referee Martin Atkinson to make his first big decision of the evening as Martial was blocked off in the area by Kurt Zouma. The half-hearted appeals from players and home fans alike were turned away.
Rooney looked particularly eager to prove a point to his critics and unleashed a fierce drive from distance, which had Courtois at full-stretch in the Chelsea goal.
Guus Hiddink's side, playing without a recognised striker as Diego Costa sat out through suspension, were forced to rely on set-pieces for their sporadic attacks.
John Terry's header in the fifth minute from a Chelsea corner was tipped over by an alert David de Gea in the visitor's only clear chance in a largely forgettable first half for the Blues.
Chelsea immediately looked more dangerous after the restart, and Pedro and Azpilicueta looked on in dismay as De Gea produced a wonderful double save to deny both of his Spanish counterparts.
Courtois then upstaged the Manchester United goalkeeper with 55 minutes on the clock as he somehow clawed Ander Herrera's side-foot shot from five yards away to safety.
Manchester United's vulnerability made a sudden reappearance just after the hour mark as they were left completely exposed to a Chelsea counter attack. Pedro surged down the right and played Matic through on goal, who subsequently blazed over with just De Gea to beat.
Van Gaal introduced Memphis Depay with 13 minutes to spare, but the goalmouth action dried and left the sides to settle for a point.