Key Players and Battles: Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, and Rashford to battle with Kenedy, Abraham, and Zouma in Old Trafford clash


Manchester United start the 2019/20 Premier League season with a clash against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be pitted against Frank Lampard, the former Chelsea midfielders first competitive match as manager of the London club. Both Lampard and Solskjaer will be seeking to start the season on a high. United has a good record from opening games in the Premier League.

United has played Chelsea 183 times with United winning 78 matches, drawing 51 and losing 54. United have not been beaten by Chelsea since the Emirates FA Cup final at the end of the 2017/18 season after Phil Jones gave away a penalty which Eden Hazard scored. United played Chelsea three times last season; drawing 2-2 at Stamford Bridge and 1-1 at Old Trafford in the Premier League, beating them 2-0 in the Emirates FA Cup. United are unbeaten against Chelsea in their last six matches at Old Trafford; winning twice and drawing four times.

Key Players: Both Manchester United and Chelsea have key players in their squads who could be the difference between winning and losing at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday.

Manchester United: Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Daniel James, Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, David De Gea

Chelsea: Tammy Abraham, Kenedy, Christian Pulisic, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Kepa Arrizabalaga

Key Battles: Chelsea and United will be battling all over the pitch in order to win the opening Premier League fixture of the 2019/20 season. Here are three key battles ahead of the fixture.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka v Kenedy

The £45 million right-back has performed very well for United during the pre-season tour which saw United play in Australia, Singapore, China, Norway and Wales. Not just able to defend, the 21-year-old has the attacking strength to get forward and help his teammates by passing and crossing into the box.

Against Chelsea, Brazilian winger Kenedy may well cause some problems for the England U21 star with his nifty footwork and ability to break through the defence and set up or score goals. During Chelsea’s pre-season, Kenedy scored one goal and assisted another, which could be something that gives him the confidence against United. Wan-Bissaka will be tested with tricky footwork but should overcome that.

Harry Maguire v Tammy Abraham

The £80 million central defender who signed from Leicester City at the start of the week has already integrated into the first team and according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he will play against Chelsea on Sunday. Maguire is a set-piece threat, likes to dribble with the ball, play long balls and play the ball off the ground. His concentration is his best asset.

Tammy Abraham will be tested to his limits against Maguire in order to break through on goal. The 21-year-old scored 26 goals in 40 appearances for Aston Villa last season, so he has a few tricks up his sleeve to beat his man. Maguire may be tested also in his first outing for United. I would expect the Sheffield man to get the better of Abraham though.

Marcus Rashford v Kurt Zouma

Marcus Rashford did not have the best end to last season and he was wasteful at times. However, ahead of a new season, he seems to be positive. Rashford scored three times in the pre-season tour and looked to be one of the best player in the squad during the early matches. His instinct, when positive, is great to see and something of a problem for defender.

Kurt Zouma has been picked by Lampard for a number of matches during pre-season after his loan spell with Everton last season, which showed his ability to become a decent defender for his club. Zouma is a strong defender with ability to read the game, also having a great aerial ability. He does lapse in concentration at times, which could be where Rashford could strike, getting the better of his man.

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