...and they did. David Moyes can afford to smile a little after his United side got noticeably stronger over 90 minutes. That's not happened enough times this season...
As long as there is both football and human weakness, there will be allegations of match-fixing. But a decent start would be an independent, national body...
As far as summing up a game with a single action goes, Jose Mourinho introducing John Obi Mikel for Andre Schurrle with the score at 0-0 was pretty neat.
It was almost impressive that a pair of such good and expensively assembled teams could not only serve up such a tedious game, but 90 minutes liberally littered with such poor play. These are, theoretically, two of the best three sides in the country, so it's easy to see why we expected more.
It was an aggressively dull match, arguably the highlight of which was seeing Wayne Rooney running around desperately and ostentatiously trying so hard to show he was trying hard. Of course he probably couldn't win in that respect: try hard and smart arses say you're trying too hard, don't try hard and people question your commitment. Still, a rather 'rambunctious' early forearm on an opponent as he went up for a header reeked of a man trying to prove his commitment.
"Both teams didn't really want to lose the game," said John Terry afterwards. Quite so - this was a game that both sides were perfectly happy to bore us all stupid with, a double face-saver of an encounter that allowed the managers to consolidate decent starts to the season without risking a huge amount. David Moyes couldn't afford to lose his first home game as Manchester United manager, and a point at Old Trafford is always a satisfactory outcome, even for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea.
There was much talk before the game that Jose Mourinho was sending out a message by not starting with a recognised centre-forward, as if a manager of Mourinho's experience would be so frivolous as to use a game against the defending champions to force his club's arm in the transfer market. In any case, it wasn't as if Mourinho stuck Gary Cahill up top - Andre Schurrle might not be a specialist centre-forward, but he is an attacker, so it wasn't that outlandish.
However, while it's silly to suggest it was a deliberate ploy by Mourinho, this game could hardly have been a more perfect demonstration of the deficiencies of both teams. Chelsea lacked a goalscorer capable of snaffling a chance in the very biggest game, while United were without someone in midfield to pick apart a sturdy opponent. Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley were quietly but passively efficient, which is very nice but not good enough for a side like United. Schurrle then Fernando Torres ran about a bit, but provided no penetration. Again, not good enough.
The boredom of the neutral watching public was exacerbated by the sight of Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa on the bench, but arguably more troubling for United fans was the complete omission of Wilfried Zaha. Unless he has an injury that we don't know about, not even including the young colt on the bench was a strange decision by Moyes. Zaha's bandy-legged directness would have been just the thing to liven up such a soporific affair, but more importantly perhaps provide some of the incision that United seemed to lack with Antonio Valencia. As it was, Ashley Young came on.
Few things bring everyone together these days, particularly in football, but this was the evening everybody was bonded by frustration.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter