Manchester United and Chelsea drew 0-0 in the Premier League on Monday as the action in the season's first big match failed to match the intrigue of the Wayne Rooney transfer saga that swirled throughout.
David Moyes began his first home match in charge of the champions by naming Chelsea target Rooney in his starting line-up, giving a clear message that his club's message of 'he is not for sale' still stood after two failed bids for the striker.
Chances for both sides were few and far between on a warm evening at Old Trafford as Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's decision to play much of the match without a recognised striker had little attacking impact and his defence held firm.
Rooney, in the unusual position of being cheered by both sets of fans, had a decent chance in the second half when his right-footed drive forced Petr Cech to dive to his right but the two title hopefuls were left to share the points.
"It was a tight game," Moyes, who received a warm reception from the Old Trafford crowd before taking his seat in the dugout opposite the stand that bears the name in big letters of his illustrious predecessor Alex Ferguson, told a news conference.
"We just didn't quite have the final cross, the final pass tonight but I thought we played very well."
The result means United have started their campaign with four points from a possible six, while Chelsea have made it seven from nine as the clubs' new managers enjoy unbeaten starts to the season.
"I think it's a fair point," Mourinho said.
"Nobody deserved to lose...nobody was better than the opponents to deserve a clear victory. For us, after two home victories to come to the champions in their first match at home, to get a point I think it's fine, it's positive."
Much of the pre-match buildup had focused on Chelsea's so far unsuccessful attempts to lure United striker Rooney to Stamford Bridge and it was this sub plot that dominated a match which was not the best advertisement for the English top flight.
Mourinho's decision to start without a recognised striker could have been a message to Rooney that the place was his for the taking and as the player listened to "Rooney, Rooney" chants from his own fans and "Wayne Rooney, we'll sign you next week" from Chelsea's, the match trundled along