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Review & Ratings: Martial and Maguire score in Chelsea victory; Fernandes is some player – VAR hurts Chelsea with Two goals ruled out

Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-0 in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side took the lead in the 45th minute through Anthony Martial with Aaron Wan-Bissaka assisting. United doubled their lead in the 66th minute through Harry Maguire with Bruno Fernandes assisting. Chelsea had scored in-between with Kurt Zouma getting a goal back, which was ruled out by VAR. Olivier Giroud scored another, which was ruled out.

United started the game well, trying to play out of their own half. However, Chelsea were all over them seeking to put themselves in the driving seat in the match. Within five minutes, Chelsea had a chance to take first blood after United pressed, lost possession and Willian played the ball into Reece James, who missed the target from 20-yards. United had a corner three minutes later, failing to get anything from the set-piece. United needed to be doing much better.

Chelsea lost N’Golo Kante inside ten minutes to injury, which was a shame for the home side. Eight minutes later, Aaron Wan-Bissaka slipped and Pedro took advantage, keeping the ball on the by-line. The Spaniard tried to pick out Willian but Eric Bailly beat him to the ball to stop the attack. In the 22nd minute, VAR ruled out a red card for Harry Maguire, ruling out violent conduct from the foul. Chelsea had a few more chances in succession, not capitalising from anything so far.

United seemed to be doing everything they could to break Chelsea down but were not getting anywhere. Bruno Fernandes had a shot on goal in the 31st minute which was wide of the target. In the 35th minute, Chelsea were calling for a penalty after it seemed Willian was brought down in the box but he was booked for simulation for his cynical dive. United were banging on the door but not actually getting what they were trying to do but kept trying, never giving up.

Anthony Martial took the lead for United in the 45th minute, just before three minutes of added time was announced. Wan-Bissaka played a great cross into the Chelsea box with the Frenchman lying in wait and heading past Willy Caballero, who was scrambling. It was a good goal, Martial’s 13th goal of the season for the club. United need to keep doing what they have been doing – frustrating Chelsea and aiming to leave Stamford Bridge with another victory this season.

Chelsea drew level with United in the 55th minute of the match with Kurt Zouma, who came on at half time, scoring the goal. However, in the run up to the goal, it appeared that Brandon Williams was fouled by in the box and the goal was ruled out by VAR. Zouma was booked for a poor challenge on Martial in the 59th minute with Fred getting a booking too for his behaviour after the foul. United should be aiming to capitalise with both of Chelsea’s central defenders on yellow cards.

United doubled their lead in the 66th minute from a corner. Fernandes delivered a great ball into the box, to the back post with Maguire beating Rudiger and putting a belting header past Caballero scoring his second goal for United but his first for his new club in the Premier League. I am sure the Chelsea supporters will be moaning that Maguire should not have been on the pitch for the goal but they need to take that up with VAR and stop being bitter. Frank Lampard is a poor manager.

Chelsea scored again, this time through Olivier Giroud as Reece James got the ball down the right, swing in a perfect cross to the Frenchman to meet with a diving header. Chelsea were back in the game. Or were they? VAR had a look at the goal and again ruled out out, the time for offside. Giroud’s foot was offside when the ball came into the box. Lampard was looking annoyed on the sidelines but it is nobody’s fault but his own for his side not being able to beat United this season.

It may have been a bad night for Chelsea but United will be returning to Manchester with three important points in the bag, having beaten Chelsea three times this season, twice at Stamford Bridge. Odion Ighalo got his first appearance for United and could have capitalised with a goal seconds after coming on the pitch. Solskjaer will be happy with what he saw and will now look ahead to Thursday’s return to UEFA Europa League action against Club Brugge in Belgium.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one was beaten twice in the game against Chelsea, however, both goals were ruled out by VAR. In the last minute of the match, he seemed to become injured after Chelsea tried to get back into the game.

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3 Eric Bailly

The Ivorian started off very rusty but soon got into the pace of the game, doing some important defensive work. Perhaps he's the player to form a partnership with Maguire this season? He played well throughout the match after his opening spell of insecurity and could stand in the way of Lindelof now.

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5 Harry Maguire

It could have been one of those matches for Maguire. Defensively, he did well for his club but he could have been sent off - something he will gain criticism for despite VAR not giving him a red card. It did look like he kicked out but accidents do happen. Scored his first Premier League goal for United, with a header assisted by Fernandes. The captain played well and will be happy with his goal and the all important three points for United.

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23 Luke Shaw

Playing on the left of a back three, Shaw did well for United. Williams was playing further forward. Shaw threatened at times, busting a gut to get the ball forward but it did not always happen as he may have liked.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

I see a lot of criticism for Wan-Bissaka based on his attacking threat but for the opening goal against Chelsea, he could not have done much wrong. His crossing is better then any other player in his position at the club for the past seven years. He got the assist for an important goal.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian midfielder played well for United again, in a match which came too soon for McTominay. He was booked in the second half for defending Martial after he was fouled. He's going to be a good player to have in the team this season.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian was missed against Wolves about a fortnight ago. He did what he needed to do in midfield with him and Fred releasing Fernandes to play further forward, where he should be play8ing.

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33 Brandon Williams

The teenager has become a permanent fixture in the first team this season, and rightly so. He's beyond his years in terms of ability and is clearly ready to carve his name into the footballing world. Not much seems to faze him - if anything. He was fouled in the build up to Chelsea's equaliser, which was ruled out for the foul. He also managed another booking for the season during the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder had a good game against Chelsea, showing his quality. He was unlucky with a few times in the game but from a corner. he set up Maguire to double United's lead in the game. He played well throughout the match, earning the ovation he received when being replaced by Dalot two minutes into added time.

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21 Daniel James

He played well and his pace was used at times. He did not really get stuck into the match but not every player is going to hit the ground running all of the time. He was replaced by Pereira in the 80th minute of the match, ending his game with United 2-0 up and strolling home.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman headed his effort into the back of the net at the end of the first half, assisted by Wan-Bissaka. The Frenchman was not at his best during the rest of the game and was replaced by Ighalo in the 90th minute.

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Substitutes

15 Andreas Pereira

Replaced James 80'. He did not really have much impact in the game other than to help United with his fresh legs. Chelsea's sting had been removed by this time in the game.

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25 Odion Ighalo

Replaced Martial 90'. Came on with added time remaining. Could have made it a debut to remember, however, he was not able to score his goal. He might need more time to become a starter, however, Thursday could see him have more involvement.

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20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Fernandes 90+2'. Came on late in the game for Fernandes. Had little impact being on the pitch for three minutes or so.

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Goals: Anthony Martial 45′, Harry Maguire 66′

Assists: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 45′, Bruno Fernandes 66′

Manchester United: De Gea; Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams; Fernandes (Dalot 90+2); James (Pereira 80′), Martial (Ighalo 90′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Jones; Mata; Greenwood

Bookings: Willian 35′, Antonio Rudiger 48′, Kurt Zouma 59′, Pedro 64′; Fred 59′, Brandon Williams 76′, Aaron Wan-Bissaka 79′

Confirmed Starting XI: Fernandes playing behind Martial and James; Ighalo on the bench versus Chelsea

Manchester United have travelled to Stamford Bridge to face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in the Premier League this evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have beaten Chelsea twice already this season; a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford in the Premier League at the start of the season and a 2-1 Carabao Cup victory at Stamford Bridge, which has turned United’s fortunes at the stadium around.

United will have had just over two weeks break from their last match, a 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League. Solskjaer will know that he needs to get his team working in the right direction to fight for a place in the top four this season, which is the easier route to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. The other route will be by winning the UEFA Europa League, which could be difficult.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Bailly, Maguire, Shaw;

Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams;

Fernandes;

James, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Jones, Dalot; Mata, Pereira; Ighalo, Greenwood

Chelsea:

Caballero;

James, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta;

Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic;

Pedro, Batshuayi, Willian

Substitutes:

Arrizabalaga; Alonso, Zouma, Tomori; Barkley, Mount; Giroud

United and Chelsea have played a total of 185 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1905. United have won 80 times, drawn 51 times and lost 54 times. In the past five matches, in all competitions, United are unbeaten against Chelsea, winning three times and drawing twice. Stamford Bridge has been a tough place for United to visit, but in their last three United have won twice and drawn once.

The last defeat against Chelsea came at Wembley in the Emirates FA Cup final on the 19 May 2018, a 1-0 defeat with Phil Jones giving away a penalty and Eden Hazard scoring from the spot. The last defeat before them came at Stamford Bridge on the 5 November 2017 – a 1-0 defeat with former Chelsea striker Álvaro Morata scoring the only goal of the game. United will be seeking to keep their recent good record against Chelsea.

How Manchester United could look against Chelsea; Martial, James and Greenwood leading the line, Fernandes creating, Ighalo on the bench?

Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had had just over two weeks rest before the busy end of the season commences. Solskjaer has beaten Frank Lampard’s Chelsea twice already this season, a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford in the Premier League and a 2-1 Carabao Cup victory at the Bridge sees United scoring six goals with one in reply.

Ensuring United win this match will be important and put United back in the right direction. Falling to eighth in the Premier League at the weekend, United find themselves six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and winning this match is necessary as losing it could mean a nine point gap, drawing keeps it at six points. Solskjaer will need to get his team motivated to win as when Chelsea have dropped points recently, they have not gone all out to get what they need.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Chelsea in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one will lead from the back against Chelsea. He has been in good form in the last few matches that he has played, despite conceding four goals. There have been signs of the player we all know returning and he needs to find his way – continuing to play will help him do just that. United have four matches before the end of the month and De Gea might not play in two of those; against Club Brugge in the Uefa Europa League.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams

I would like to see Eric Bailly form a partnership with Harry Maguire, but after he was missing from the bench against Wolves, it made me wonder whether he was fit. Based on this, Victor Lindelof will keep his place in the centre of defence alongside the England defender. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will start in the right-back position with Brandon Williams returning to the starting XI at the expense of Luke Shaw. I feel this is the best option at this time, granted, Williams does not have bags of experience but this is what he is getting at this moment in time.

Midfield: Fred, Nemanja Matic, Bruno Fernandes

Nemanja Matic was missed against Wolves about a fortnight ago. With him not eligible to play after service a one match suspension, he will come in at a good time. Scott McTominay is expected to miss this game, although that could be wrong. Assuming that he is, Fred will keep his place in the centre of midfield with Bruno Fernandes playing further forward, which is a position that suits him more than the one he played in the second half against Wolves. United need to be creating goals and those further up the pitch, need to be looking for the creativity and utilising it to set the club in the right direction. Failure is not an option.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Daniel James

With Marcus Rashford on the sidelines, United are no doubt weaker up front but will have to make do. Against Chelsea, I expect Anthony Martial to lead the line again. I would expect to see Mason Greenwood in the right and Daniel James on the left. Odion Ighalo is expected to be on the bench, but I could be wrong. This forward three is capable of getting the best results, especially with a bit of creativity in the midfield, which is what Fernandes brings to the table. Martial need to become that player who can achieve things though as in the past few matches, he’s not been doing that.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira; Odion Ighalo

Sergio Romero will be the backup for De Gea against Chelsea although new goalkeeper Nathan Bishop could possibly be on the bench at some point towards the end of the season. I would like to see Eric Bailly start but his withdrawal against Wolves makes me wonder if he’s fit. Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw can fill the fullback positions, if needed with Dalot also able to play a more advanced role. Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira could be useful from the bench. Odion Ighalo might be an impact player from the bench for this game, if he is fit and ready to go.

Preview: Manchester United seeking three wins in three matches against Chelsea this season? Stamford Bridge hoodoo gone?

Chelsea -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Stamford Bridge, London

Monday 17 February 2020, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell 

VAR: Chris Kavanagh Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis

Manchester United will travel to Stamford Bridge to face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have beaten Chelsea twice already this season; a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford in the Premier League at the start of the season and a 2-1 Carabao Cup victory at Stamford Bridge, which has turned United’s fortunes at the stadium around.

United will have had just over two weeks break from their last match, a 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League. Solskjaer will know that he needs to get his team working in the right direction to fight for a place in the top four this season, which is the easier route to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. The other route will be by winning the UEFA Europa League, which could be difficult.

Form: Chelsea are the team in better form, losing once in their last six matches compared to United’s two defeats. However, United have beaten Chelsea twice already this season.

Manchester United: DWWLLW

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Manchester City 1-0 W, Tranmere Rovers 6-0 W, Burnley 2-0 L, Liverpool 2-0 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W

Chelsea: DWDLWW

Leicester City 2-2 D, Hull City 2-1 W, Arsenal 2-2 D, Newcastle United 1-0 L, Burnley 3-0 W, Nottingham Forest 2-0 W

Top Scorers: United need to find a way to score more goals, keep the momentum moving forward, not regressing at all between now and the end of the season. Can they though?

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Anthony Martial, 10 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United need to start moving forward, rather than taking one step forward and two steps backwards. The January signings; Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo will be an improvement, especially in an attacking sense as the Portuguese midfielder knows how to score and assist the goals. Ighalo has the ability to find the back of the net also, which is something United desperately need having their top scorer, Marcus Rashford, on the sidelines through injury for at least two months.

Chelsea Goals: 15 – Tammy Abraham, 7 – Jorginho, 6 – Christian Pulisic, Michy Batshuayi, 5 – Mason Mount, William, 4 – César Azpilicueta, 3 – Callum Hudson-Odoi, N’Golo Kanté, 2 – Ross Barkley, Reece James, Mateo Kovačić, Antonio Rüdiger, Fikayo Tomori, 1 – Marcos Alonso, Olivier Giroud, Pedro, Kurt Zouma

Chelsea are not the team they once were, despite keeping a place in the top four of the Premier League at this stage of the season. They are in better form than United, losing once, drawing twice and winning three times in their last six matches. United have the same amount of wins, one draw and two losses. However, Solskjaer’s side has beaten Lampard’s Chelsea twice already this season and have a good recent record at Stamford Bridge.

Team News: Fernandes and Ighalo to find the key to scoring goals against Chelsea after winter training break? Rashford, Pogba, McTominay, Tuanzebe, Grant, and Fosu-Mensah sidelined?

United look set to be without Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Axel Tuanzebe, Scott McTominay, Lee Grant and Tim Fosu-Mensah for the visit to Stamford Bridge – although McTominay, Tuanzebe and Fosu-Mensah all travelled to Spain for winter training, the match might come too soon for them. Grant need surgery so will be out for a few months at least.

Nemanja Matic will be back after his suspension for his two yellow cards against Manchester City, missing the Wolves match. January signings Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo will be involved against Chelsea, the former looking to make his second appearance for the club, the latter seeking to make his debut to strengthen United’s forward options.

Chelsea look set to remain without Marco van Ginkel but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic could recover in time to play a part against United as the London club seek to maintain their place in the top four of the Premier League with United just six points adrift of Lampard’s side. Solskjaer has beaten Lampard twice already this season.

Predicted Starting XI: 4-3-3 formation with Fernandes feeding Martial to bang in the goals against Chelsea?

Solskjaer may not be better off after the winter training break unless the likes of McTominay and Tuanzebe are fit to be in contention against Chelsea. Tim Fosu-Mensah would be good to have back too, although I have left them all out of this predicted team at this moment in time. I think Anthony Martial will start as the main striker with Daniel James on the left and Mason Greenwood on the right with Bruno Fernandes just behind Martial, feeding the attack.

Match Prediction: United are unbeaten against Chelsea in the last five matches in all competitions. The last defeat was in the FA Cup final in 2018, before that in November 2017. Stamford Bridge hoodoo gone?

United and Chelsea have played a total of 185 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1905. United have won 80 times, drawn 51 times and lost 54 times. In the past five matches, in all competitions, United are unbeaten against Chelsea, winning three times and drawing twice. Stamford Bridge has been a tough place for United to visit, but in their last three United have won twice and drawn once.

The last defeat against Chelsea came at Wembley in the Emirates FA Cup final on the 19 May 2018, a 1-0 defeat with Phil Jones giving away a penalty and Eden Hazard scoring from the spot. The last defeat before them came at Stamford Bridge on the 5 November 2017 – a 1-0 defeat with former Chelsea striker Álvaro Morata scoring the only goal of the game. United will be seeking to keep their recent good record against Chelsea.

Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United

Is Manchester United’s long and dismal record at Stamford Bridge over?

On Monday night Manchester United take on Chelsea at a ground which has not been kind for the Reds, especially this century, since a 3-0 win in 2002, United have only won just one league game at Stamford Bridge. However, victories in both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup in 2019 give cause for optimism that the hoodoo in South West London could well and truly be banished for good.

Alongside the solitary league win, which came in October 2012, the only other success in the long 17 years since 2019 was a Champions League Quarter-Final first leg triumph in April 2011. That first leg was actually only the third time United have kept a clean sheet at the Bridge since 2002, with the other two shutouts both being 0-0. One of those goalless draws was a league match in May 2007, where United as the newly crowned champions sent a heavily weakened team out to receive a guard of honour. 

Despite this, there have been more dejecting trips than celebratory ones. In May 2006, Chelsea were the ones partying as they swept United aside 3-0 to seal a second title in a row under Jose Mourinho. In November 2009, John Terry’s dubious goal in a 1-0 defeat proved costly for the Reds as they missed out on the title to Chelsea by a single point and although United beat Chelsea at the Bridge in the league in Ferguson’s final season in charge, they lost there in both the domestic cup competitions.

In the League Cup tie of that year, United were 3-2 up with just seconds remaining, only to end up losing 5-4 in extra time. However, possibly the most painful defeat and the most dreadful performance came in October 2016. Mourinho went back to Chelsea in his first season as United manager, only to be on the receiving end of a 4-0 drubbing from Antonio Conte’s side, who were starting to put together a 13-match winning run on their way to the title.

That defeat was certainly deserved, but there have been plenty of occasions where United have played well away at Chelsea and been denied a result by a refereeing descion. Firstly, in April 2008, Alan Wiley somehow gave a handball against Michael Carrick when the ball was struck at the midfielder from a very short distance. The late penalty given by Wiley gave the home side a 2-1 victory. 

Wiley was again pivitol in the aforementioned game in 2009. The goal scored by Terry came from a free kick given by him after Ashley Cole went down easily from a Darren Fletcher challenge, while Didier Drogba can clearly be seen pulling down Wes Brown in the penalty area. Sir Alex Ferguson was seething after the game and in March 2011 he was even more angry, stating that Martin Atkinson wasn’t ‘strong enough’ to referee a match as big as Chelsea against United. Atkinson’s late penalty given to Chelsea gave them another 2-1 win.

“I don’t know why he’s got the game. I must say that, when I saw who was refereeing it, I feared the worst.”

Ferguson on Martin Atkinson’s selection for the game.

Many other late goals have also cost United wins at Stamford Bridge, most recently on their last trip for a Premier League fixture in October 2018 when Ross Barkley struck in the 96th minute to make the score 2-2. In February 2016, Diego Costa equalised in the 91st minute to earn a 1-1 draw while Eden Hazard’s penalty to make the game level at 3-3 in the crazy 5-4 cup tie in 2012 came in the 94th minute. United will be hoping that come Monday they can hold out for the whole 90 minutes and whatever stoppage time is thrown at them.

They certainly had no problem in the 2-1 victory in the Carabao Cup earlier this season, limiting Chelsea to very few clear-cut chances after taking the lead through Marcus Rashford’s incredible free-kick. In the FA Cup tie last February United dominated the first half and also restricted Chelsea to next to nothing in the second half. 

Chelsea will no doubt be out for revenge after their opening day humiliation at Old Trafford and their cup exit, but United have shown on their last two visits that they can weather a storm and get a vital result. Although Monday night’s referee has not yet be confirmed, United and in particular Ferguson will be hoping it’s not a certain Martin Atkinson.

Written by Alex Metcalfe

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford, Lingard, James, Williams and Romero start in Carabao Cup clash against Chelsea

Manchester United will be faced with a challenge from Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup this evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United faced Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at Old Trafford at the start of the season, winning 4-0. But since then the squad has been plagued with injuries and a lack of consistency.

In the past three matches, United did well, drawing 1-1 against Premier League leaders Liverpool at the Theatre of Dreams, winning 1-0 away to Partizan Belgrade in the UEFA Europa League and at the weekend, beating Norwich City 3-1 in the Premier League, the first match they have scored more than one goal in since the opener against Chelsea.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Lindelof, Maguire, Rojo;

Wan-Bissaka, McTominay, Fred, Williams;

Lingard;

James, Rashford

Substitutes:

Grant; Jones, Young; Mata, Pereira, Garner; Martial

Chelsea:

Caballero;

James, Zouma, Guehi, Alonso;

Gilmour, Jorginho, Kovacic;

Hudson-Odoi, Batshauyi, Pulisic

Substitutes:

Cumming, Azpilicueta, Lamptey, Mount, Pedro, Abraham, Giroud

United and Chelsea have played a total of 184 matches in the history of both clubs. United has won 79 times, drawing 51 times and losing 54 times. At the start of the season, in the Premier League, United beat Chelsea 4-0. United were last defeated by Chelsea on the 19 May 2018, the Emirates FA Cup final the season before last.

United do not have a great record at Stamford Bridge, which has caused problems for them year after year. However, in the last four meetings, two of which were played at Stamford Bridge, United have won twice and draw twice which is a pretty good record against Chelsea. Solskjaer will be seeking to extend that unbeaten record this evening.

What We’ve Learned: Harry Magure is a rock in defence; Daniel James is going to be a star

Manchester United started their 2019/20 Premier League in style at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, beating Frank Lampard’s Chelsea 4-0. The United starting XI had an average age of 24 years and 227 days which shows just what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to do with his team during his tenure as the manager of the club.

There were lots of things that were learned from the match and from this United squad, some positive some heading into the negative but with room for things to change, after all, Rome was not built in a day. There is a massive return for positivity though after this new-look United team turned their back on the 2018/19 season.

Harry Maguire is going to be a rock at the back…

The £80 million central defender seems to have eased into this United squad despite having just under a week of training with them, which some suggested could have been a gamble but for professional players, they can learn things quickly. It turned out that Maguire looked like he had been a part of this squad for much longer than a week. As he said himself, he will only get better as times goes on.

To have a player like Maguire in this team, right now, is such a great thing as United look to overcome adversity and put last season behind them, something that rival supporters and the ABU brigade in the media will not want to forget as they will always remind United about the past six years, which saw them fall from glory and into obscurity. The best way to hit those people is to keep on rising and with Maguire, United will rise again.

The midfield has a lack of steel but there is room to grow…

With Marouane Fellaini leaving for China during the January transfer window and Ander Herrera leaving for Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent this summer, the least that was expected was replacements for one of them or ideally, both. That never happened. United headed into the season with Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic, and Scott McTominay in midfield – only four of these are true central midfielders.

Against Chelsea, both Pogba and McTominay were partnered in the centre of midfield and at times, they did not seem able to bring much creativity into the team. However, this season, with the transfer window now closed, United will need to endure this and find a way forward. Some will resort to the doom and gloom, seemingly preferring United to fail rather than succeed. There is some positivity here though, his name is James Garner.

Not yet considered ready for the first team based on him not being selected, this week alone, he has put in some great performances which will keep Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s eyes firmly on his development. When given the opportunity, Garner could be a great addition to this squad, another member of the academy and a player with the ability to hold the midfield, create goals and as has been shown during his relatively short career, scored some bangers, as has been seen this weel alone.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka really is a great addition to this squad…

The 21-year-old was Solskjaer’s second signing this summer and what a signing he is so far. He seems to have turned a problematic position into a position that has been filled for the best part of a decade. He is able to defend and attack, beat his man and based on pre-season, even cross the ball into the box. That is one problem in the team sorted. Of course, it is not going to be this good all season as player will have off periods and may even be rested, but United have moved forward at right-back, finally.

The right-wing position is something that may need some integration with the likes of Mason Greenwood or even Diogo Dalot, who played in this position at times last season. But having Aaron Wan-Bissaka, it takes some pressure of the right-wing, on the attack anyway, which means the player in this position could cut inside and be an extra man with the right-back playing the ball into the box with United looking to find a goal. Solskjaer has done some great business in this area. Let’s see how well he does in a few months time.

Daniel James has dealt with the pressure and risen to the occasion…

When United signed the 21-year-old Welsh winger, it was like it was a well-known fact that this boy had the talent to play for United. I had seen him play for Swansea City a few times last season and watched him play for Wales this summer and saw just why Solskjaer made his move. In a year or so, he was going to be a player courted by many other teams, and United struck to get the deal done now, which is great.

During pre-season, Daniel James showed his pace, ability on and off the ball and his hunger and desire. Straight away, he was a great addition to this team. I was disappointed not to see him start against Chelsea but then thought about his impact off the bench, which could chase Chelsea down when they were in a period where tiredness could be striking. Seeing him replace Andreas Pereira made me think of what could come.

Within seven minutes, he had scored a debut goal, which would have fed his hunger but also added more hunger to it. To score at Old Trafford must be a great feeling, especially in a match that saw United beat a rival in this manner, which will be something that could well affect them for the rest of the season. James gave a fitting tribute to his father, who died this summer and he was surrounded but his teammates, which showed the connection these players have after a short amount of time. Daniel James is onto bigger and better things now and he is going to be a star.

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford can share the responsibility…

For years now, we have known that both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have the determination and skills to be the players to provide the goals for this great club. The last few season’s for Martial may not have been the best but getting his number nine back after the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan this summer, may once again bring out the best of the Frenchman, who is not only looking to succeed at United but also get himself back into the France squad in time for UEFA Euro 2020 next summer.

Rashford has seen opinion on his performances change as often as his socks but still manages to dig deep for his club. Last season, he scored ten goals, adding six assists in the Premier League alone, his best at the club so far, which should be progressing into a lot more. Two goals against Chelsea (one for Martial too) have given him the confidence to provide a lot more this season. United have a wealth of attacking talent, which on their day, much like today, can be devastating to their opposition. However, this is not a matter which has been solved as there are still 37 matches to play in the Premier League, more in other competitions. Rashford and Martial have proven they have what it takes to dig deep. As the season grows, I hope it remains the same.

There will be much more to come from United this season. Hopefully, there will be more highs than lows. Looking at the opening match though, there certainly is scope for the season to continue on a high with the next match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux a week tomorrow, meaning that United have seven days to rest before their next match, which should be one to undo the defeats to Wolves last season.

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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11 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

Report: Rashford, Martial and James sink Lampard’s Chelsea 4-0 in Old Trafford Premier League opener

Manchester United beat Frank Lampard’s Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Marcus Rashford scored a brace (one of them from the spot) with Anthony Martial and Premier League debutant Daniel James getting in on the action as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side start their new Premier League season with a bang.

It was a game that would end a summer of moaning, or at least it should as the supporters would now have something to concentrate on instead of wishing players the club were not interested in were actually members of the squad. The summer has been pretty bleak without United, even pre-season matches did not stop the hunger without a major tournament.

Chelsea nearly opened the scoring inside the first five minutes with Tammy Abraham hitting the far post with a strike that David De Gea would not have been able to stop. United had an opportunity in the eighth minute of the match after Kurt Zouma passed the ball straight to Anthony Martial inside his box but the Frenchman could not find an advantage for United.

Chelsea seemed to be the more dominant side in the early stages of the game but United started to get forward more and in doing so, won a penalty in the 18th minute after Zouma again made an error, this time bringing Marcus Rashford down in the box. The 21-year-old took the resulting spot-kick, beating Kepa Arrizabalaga from 12 yards.

With the goal against the run of play, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have been hoping that it gave his side more confidence to take on this Chelsea side, who are winless at Old Trafford in around six years. There was a slight stoppage in play around the 22nd minute after Andreas Christensen had a head injury from hitting Paul Pogba’s arm when he jumped to win the ball.

In the 25th minute of the match, Aaron Wan-Bissaka ran up the right flank for the first time in the match, taking on two defenders, managing to get past one but Emerson Palmieri stuck with him, blocking his cross into the box. United had started to grow into the match, playing with a lot more confidence since the penalty was scored by Rashford.

Rashford found his second goal in the 34th minute of the match but he offside. However, Pogba was fouled by Mateo Kovacic in the run up to the goal but no foul was given against the Croatian midfielder. Zouma was booked in the 36th minute for a foul on Andreas Pereira, which will resume his bad game against United.

Emerson Palmieri hit the crossbar in the 40th minute after Chelsea pressed United, the second time Chelsea has hit the frame of the goal in the first half of the match. De Gea made his first save of the game to deny Ross Barkley in the closing stages of the first half. United had also rotated their front three during the half now with Jesse Lingard leading the line.

Two minutes were added on at the end of the half with United seeking that second goal to add a bit of a cushion to the scoreline. United had advanced and the ball was heading to Lingard but Chelsea cut possession and headed on their own pursuit to find an equaliser before the break, however, it was not forthcoming.

There were no changes at the start of the second half. Lingard was booked in the first few minutes of the half for stepping on a Chelsea player. United were playing with a lot of energy once again, especially in attack but in the midfield was not creating much to feed them. Chelsea has a shot in the fifteenth minute through Pedro but he was well over the crossbar.

Jorginho became the second Chelsea player to be booked in the game after a challenge on Lingard whilst running into the Chelsea half. United were then keeping the ball well around the Chelsea box. Both Rashford and Lingard showed their quick feet before Harry Maguire passed the ball back to Rashford to hit his shot, which was blocked.

Chelsea then had a chance to add pressure to their opposition with Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross aiming for his teammates in the middle of the box and fell for Emerson, who was waiting in the box. He smacked the shot towards the goal but De Gea made the dive, pushing the shot clear of his goal. Abraham was then booked for a challenge on Scott McTominay. It was reviewed by VAR for a potential red card, but it was just a yellow.

Chelsea made their first substitution on the 59th minute with Barkley being replaced by Christian Pulisic, who made his Premier League debut for his club. United won a corner in the 62nd minute of the match which was played to Maguire, who could not be the difference in United being 2-0 up in this game.

Maguire showed just why Solskjaer wanted him this summer with is tussle with Abraham in the 64th minute, winning the ball fairly. A minute later, United were 2-0 up with Anthony Martial scoring after United broke through on the right with Lingard, passing Pereira who got past Zouma, swinging the ball into Martial who beat Kepa from six yards.

The 2-0 scoreline was shortlived though with United finding a third through Rashford after Pogba picked up the ball in United’s half, played a superb over the top ball to Rashford, who took it down with one touch and finished to beat Kepa for the second time on two minutes. Solskjaer will be happy with what he is seeing from his team today.

In the 69th minute, Chelsea made their second substitution with Olivier Giroud coming on for Abraham. What a start for Solskjaer and his team to the season, scoring three goals against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea. In the 73rd minute, Lampard made his final substitution with N’Golo Kante replacing Jorginho. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 74th minute with Daniel James replacing Pereira to make his Premier League debut.

Chelsea seemed to be out of the game heading into the final ten minutes with the visitors having 14 shots compared to the eight United had at the time. However, United were not yet finished. McTominay was booked for a foul on Giroud in the 80th minute, something Martial did not seem too happy about. In the 81st minute of the match, something special happened.

Daniel James has been on the pitch less than ten minutes as United lunched forward once again. Pogba and Martial linked up brilliantly on the left which set Pogba away. The Frenchman then drove clear and played the ball into the box for the Welshman, who hit his shot which deflected off Emerson and spun past Kepa. A goal on his debut. What a great feeling.

Five minutes from time, Mason Mount had a shot for Chelsea, which was an easy one for De Gea to stop. Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 86th minute, bringing on Mason Greenwood and Juan Mata for Rashford and Lingard respectively. After Emerson played a cross into the box, which Pedro missed, Kante was booked for clipping the heels of James.

Four minutes of time was added on at the end of the half, with United doing enough to not only keep a clean sheet but to keep in line with their competition this season, meeting the four goals Liverpool has scored, despite them conceding one, and just one behind Manchester City, who beat West Ham United 5-0 on Saturday. What a win for United and Solskjaer.

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′

Confirmed Starting XI: Maguire starts against Chelsea, Rashford leads the line; supported by Martial, Lingard and Pereira

Manchester United start the 2019/20 Premier League season with a clash against Chelsea at Old Trafford this afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be pitted against Frank Lampard in his 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 have won 18 of their opening matches of the Premier League out of the 27 seasons that have been played. Solskjaer will be seeking to make this the nineteenth opening match victory for the club. On the other hand, Chelsea has won 17 of their opening fixtures, one fewer than United so Lampard will be seeking to match United’s 18 opening match victories at the start of the Premier League season. I cannot wait for the football to return to the Theatre of Dreams this summer. It is now time to get behind the manager and the players on the pitch.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Pogba;

Pereira, Lingard, Martial;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Young, Tuanzebe; Mata, James, Matic; Greenwood

Chelsea:

Arrizabalaga;

Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson;

Jorginho, Kovacic;

Pedro, Barkley, Mount;

Abraham

Substitutes:

Caballero; Alonso, Tomori; Kante, Kenedy, Pulisic; Giroud

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.

copyright: JW