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Opposition Scouting: Frank Lampard has the knowledge of the club to kick start their new season against Manchester United at Old Trafford

Manchester United will battle Chelsea in the opening Premier League match at Old Trafford this season. The London club has endure a few changes since they lifted the UEFA Europa League in their final match of the 2018/19 season, beating Arsenal 4-1 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Manager Maurizio Sarri left the club for Juventus and star player, Eden Hazard left for Real Madrid. There is also the transfer of a certain David Luiz to Arsenal, which may be a blessing more of a problem.

Chelsea ended the 2018/19 Premier League season in third place, pipping London rivals Tottenham Hotspur by one point. This will be something that will spur the club on this coming season, despite the changes which have been made this summer. The summer transfer ban paid end for the club to make wholesale changes to the squad, although Christian Pulisic was signed by the club in January and loaned back to Borussia Dortmund, coming in for his debut Premier League season.

Manager: Frank Lampard – the midfield legend returning to the club as manager to steer a new era and bring success back to Stamford Bridge.

18 years ago, Frank Lampard left West Ham United, a club he had been at since joining in 1994 as a schoolboy. Chelsea paid £11 million for the midfielder who has a 13-year glittering career at the club, playing a total of 648 matches, scoring 211 goals. He left the club in the summer of 2014 after winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, two FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League trophy and one UEFA Europa League trophy. A pretty good career as a player.

On leaving Chelsea, Lampard signed a two-year deal with New York City FC in the MLS which would commence at the start of the 2015 season. Days after this being announced, Lampard was sent to Manchester City, the parent club of New York City, where he would be on loan for six months. The midfielder played 38 times for City, scoring eight goals. In the MLS, Lampard played just 31 times in two seasons, scoring 15 goals. Lampard became a free agent after the 2016 season and has many offers to continue his glittering career, however, at the start of 2017 he retired.

In May 2018, Lampard became the manager of Derby County, who were and still are in the EFL Championship. In his competitive debut as manager, Lampard’s Derby beat Reading 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium with former United academy graduate, Tom Lawrence scoring the last-minute winning goal. In his season managing Derby, Lampard took them to the playoffs beating Leeds United 4-3 and getting beat 2-1 by Aston Villa in the final. In July 2019, Lampard was appointed as Chelsea manager, replacing Maurizio Sarri and will guide his team into a new era of the club.

Tactics: The 3-4-3 that was used by Antonio Conte and the 4-3-3 formation Maurizio Sarri seems to have been shelved by Lampard as 4-2-3-1 if the formation used during pre-season.

When Antonio Conte took over from Guus Hiddink in the summer of 2016, he changed the formation of the club with three defenders, four midfielders and three players considered as attacking. It largely worked for Conte with his winning percentage standing at 65%. Conte’s replacement, Maurizio Sarri changed the formation to 4-3-3 with good results as his winning percentage was 62%. Chelsea played some good football in both these formations and were problematic to beat, especially for Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, which is still evading them today.

Since replacing Sarri, Lampard has once again changed the formation, using a slightly different 4-3-2-1 formation, which is the most popular formation in the Premier League and has been for a number of years. Lampard had his Chelsea team playing some good football during pre-season, where they player seven matches (one more than United) winning four times, drawing twice and losing just once. Chelsea scored 18 goals this summer, conceding 11, which could be a problem for them being that they have lost David Luiz this summer and will be relying on different defenders and unable to even buy players in January.

Form: Chelsea have played seven matches during pre season, winning four, drawing twice and losing once. The defence could be problematic as they conceded 11 goals this summer, of course, it may be different in competitive matches.

Chelsea: DWWWLWD

Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 D, Red Bull Salzburg 5-3 W, Reading 4-3 W, Barcelona 2-1 W, Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 L, St Patricks Athletic 4-0 W, Bohemians 1-1 D

Predicted Starting XI: Tammy Abraham to lead the line against Manchester United with Ross Barkley behind him, flanked by Kenedy and Christian Pulisic – Lampard could see success with this lineup.

Match Prediction: Chelsea to start strongly for United but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking a way to start his first full season as manager with a scalp over the London club?

Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea

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