This was not the first time Chelsea have headed to Old Trafford in pursuit of a goalless draw, so the scoreline should not in itself be a surprise.

Most were agreed beforehand, in this meeting of perhaps the two least attractive singles in town, that the offspring of the union was unlikely to win any beauty contests.

And the point that Chelsea wrenched from these 90 minutes should definitely be seen as one gained, in the circumstances, rather than two lost.

Chelsea brought very little to this match, thus when Nemanja Matic fluffed a one-on-one with David De Gea that was surely easier to score than miss, they really did see an undeserved gift go begging.

United will have been by far the most frustrated, and that was writ large in the shouts and demands of their fans – a sizeable number of whom continued their calls at the end for Louis Van Gaal to be relieved of his duties.

Chelsea's paying representatives, by contrast, stood and sung throughout – the melody almost uniformly positive, despite the pretty awful display on-pitch. (One attempt to chant the recently departed manager's name was overruled by a repetitive call of 'Chelsea! Chelsea!').

Back in charge: Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink (centre) takes his seat in the dugout

But, if the result was all Chelsea could reasonably hope for, the performance was a very long way short of that.

The list of absentees to a large extent tied manager (note not 'interim' – as one club official joked 'we tried that before, and the last guy didn't get on with it') Guus Hiddink's hands.

A needless one-match suspension ruled out Diego Costa, and injuries to Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao, meant Eden Hazard was deployed as a false nine.

It is a strategy that had been tried before, and seen to fail, on this very piece of turf.

And on this occasion it was probably best characterised by a moment when Hazard and the reasonably creative Pedro broke two-on-two to make another of the game's few chances.

The Belgian took the ball into a good position, and could almost be seen computing the best pace to pass it for the striker – only to come to the realisation that it was actually he who was the striker, and grind to a halt.

The absence of Cesc Fabregas, with a reported fever, also did little for the spectacle.

Hiddink said afterwards that he had come to Chelsea with a completely blank canvas – that he wanted to learn all he needed to know first hand from viewing the team in both action and interaction.

Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea in pictures:

But that seemed to be taken here to the extreme degree of arriving without any apparent game plan.

His only in-match changes were what looked like the enforced removal of Willian, to be replaced like-for-like by the less creative Ramires on 70 minutes.

And then there was the almost insulting cameo offered to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, coming on for Oscar long after the board for added time had been risen.

After a dreadful start, in which Chelsea were repeatedly overrun by a team themselves on a run of four defeats, they did manage to get a better handle on proceedings – though, with a few exceptions, their best efforts were aimed at nullifying the match rather than actually winning it.

Before his departure, Jose Mourinho had speculated that he had maybe over-achieved in taking Chelsea to the league title last season. Based on this exhibition, there was a good case to say he had also over-achieved in taking them to 14th this campaign.

Hiddink knows he has a huge job on his hands, and from what we saw here, it has barely even begun.

poll loading

Where do Chelsea need to strengthen?