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Ratings: Marcus Rashford was the Man of the Match in the 4-0 Premier League victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford

All eyes were on Manchester when United battled with Chelsea in the opening game of the season at Old Trafford. Chelsea started brightly in the opening ten minutes of the game, pressing United from the offset. Tammy Abraham almost silenced his critics on three minutes when he rifled a powerful shot past David De Gea only to be stopped by the far-right post.

United managed to sustain a counter-attack with Marcus Rashford’s quick feet committing Kurt Zouma to a clumsy tackle. Just like that night in Paris, Rashford held his nerve and hit the penalty high into the top left corner, despite Kepa Arrizabalaga guessing the right way. That goal seemed to kick United into gear, pressing well and forcing some mistakes in Chelsea’s midfield.

Rashford grew into the game and almost got his second but was clearly offside following Pogba’s through ball. That offside goal seemed to force Chelsea to press more and dominated United for the remainder of the half. Ross Barkley hit a shot well, after finding his way through following a good Pedro run, only to find the foot of De Gea.

Chelsea hit the bar once again after some miscommunication between Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire saw them both miss the ball, only to find Emerson Palmieri hitting the resulting opportunity against the top right post with De Gea well beaten. All eyes were on £80 million Maguire and initial signs show the potential of him and Victor Lindelöf as a partnership.

Both strong at receiving the ball under pressure and Maguire showing some of his marauding runs into the opposition’s half. Wan- Bissaka started the half well, winning his first duel with Emerson, and continued his pre-season success of committing strong tackles when called upon.  However, he failed to really produce any attacking output, something which he will need as a United full-back.

Paul Pogba showed, once again, his importance to the United midfield. He controlled the game from the middle of the park and was behind most of United’s good play. From the onset of the second half, Chelsea began to press hard again looking for a quick equaliser. Rashford began to drop deep, helping Luke Shaw out on what looked to be a vulnerable side.

By dropping deeper, United began to show promise on the counter-attack. Following a strong tackle by Maguire, United broke. A good break from united resulted in Andreas Pereira crossing the ball in to find Martial in the right place to volley low past Kepa’s left. Quickly following the reset, Pogba found possession in the middle of the park.

His over the top through ball found Rashford through on goal. His first touch gained control and showed the composure to slot easily into the bottom left corner. Following this it was much of the same, Chelsea tried to pile pressure on but United kept sustaining counter attacks. On the 80th minute, Pogba once again showed some good link-up play with Anthony Martial as he found himself through on goal. 

As the Chelsea defence caught up with Pogba, he used his strength to hold off those closing him down and put substitute Daniel James in on goal. He kept his composure to score the first goal of his United career. Chelsea failed to regain any confidence back in the game with Emerson stinging the palms of De Gea towards the end of the game.

The icing on the cake saw the appearance of Mason Greenwood but failed to have any impression in the closing stages. Whilst the scoreline was flattering, United showed good defensive resilience throughout the game and both strikers showed their instincts to finish at crucial times in the game. A great start to the season for United, but it is only a start.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Produced good saves at key times in the game. Emerson looked like the most likely to score but De Gea saved well. A traditional foot save from a Ross Barkley shot also capped a fine performance.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

His competitive debut for United went well. Winning his first duel against Emerson. Won a series of tackles and produced one decent cross late in the second half to almost find Greenwood. Will need to produce more attacking output but certainly a strong defender.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Looked composed on the ball, accepting it in difficult positions. A good partnership with Maguire seems to be forming.

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5 Harry Maguire

Difficult to separate the performances of Maguire and Lindelöf with both CB’s performing well. Maguire won his duels against Tammy Abraham and his tackle on the striker set up the break for United’s second goal. Looked a threat in the opposition box and cleared the box well.

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23 Luke Shaw

Seemed outnumbered in the first-half. Being pulled out of position by the Chelsea link-up play on that side. Seemed to benefit greatly with Rashford’s cover. Performed well overall.

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39 Scott McTominay

Showed a good battling performance. Grew in the game once the third goal went in, switching the play well. Showed his leadership qualities after the third goal with the huddle scene. A sure starter in that United midfield.

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6 Paul Pogba

One of the best players on the pitch. Won the midfield battle in the first half but faded in influence in the second. However, moments of quality is what separated these two sides. His through ball for Rashford for the third goal is most likely the goal which ended the game. The fourth goal was made from Pogba driving through the middle of the park and set up Daniel James. Great overall performance from the midfielder.

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15 Andreas Pereira

Seemed almost invisible for most of the game. Pressed well with not much contribution for most parts of the game. Began to grow tired and gave away possession. Put in a brilliant cross for Martial’s goal.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Got an early booking in the second half for a poor tackle on Zouma. Seemed to increase in importance in the game following his switch to the no.10 position. A couple of good mazy runs from the middle of the park.

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9 Anthony Martial

Had some hot and cold moments in the game. Had two shots before his goal, one on target but hit poorly and the second, high and wide. Finished well following Pereira’s cross and linked up with Pogba well in the build up to the fourth goal. Ran the channels well which stretched the Chelsea defence. Good performance from the number nine.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Man of the Match. With two goals in the game, Marcus Rashford showed his importance to this Manchester United team. Did well to win and put the penalty away after drawing a challenge from Zouma. Grew in the game following his goal. Dropped back in the second half, which I find was crucial to how the game tuned out. Showed great composure for his second goal after the ball from Paul Pogba. Great to have two goals in the first games of the season.

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Substitutes

21 Daniel James

Replaced Pereira 74'. What a way to make his Manchester United debut. Gary Neville called him a true winger and he was a consistent outlet for United on the counter attack. Took his goal well following Pogba’s run.

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26 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Rashford 86'. Didn’t have too much of an impact in the game. But good to see him on.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Lingard 86'. No impact on the game.

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Goals: Marcus Rashford 18′ (pen), 67′, Anthony Martial 65′, Daniel James 81′

Assists: Andreas Pereira 65′, Paul Pogba 67′, 81′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; Pereira (James 74′), Lingard (Mata 86′), Martial; Rashford (Greenwood 86′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Young, Tuanzebe; Matic

Bookings: Jesse Lingard 46′, Victor Lindelof 69′, Scott McTominay 80′; Kurt Zouma 36′, Jorginho 52′, Tammy Abraham 57′, N’Golo Kante 90′

Written by Adam Bermingham

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