EPL: Chelsea confront United at Old Trafford
Goria|Aug. 11, 2019
Manchester United begin their 2019-20 campaign with a huge game against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who suffered a poor end to last season, have enjoyed the perfect pre-season, winning all six of their games.
While United supporters will be concerned at the club’s failure to land a midfielder or replace Romelu Lukaku, who joined Inter Milan on deadline day, the club has notably improved its defence by signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire over the summer.
Old Trafford will expect to witness a high-intensity attacking performance with Solskjaer’s side pressing from the front against a Chelsea team which has not won a league game at the Theatre of Dreams since 2010.
United will feel far more secure at the back following the additions of Maguire and Wan-Bissaka, who are both expected to go straight into the defence to make their debuts against Frank Lampard’s side. Solskjaer will expect the former, along with the composed Victor Lindelof, to set the tone by directing play from the back.
The midfield also largely picks itself following a pre-season which saw Solskjaer employ a midfield pivot as part of a high-pressing 4-2-3-1, rendering the choice of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay – as opposed to the onerous Nemanja Matic, who is out of form – to start the game from midfield an obvious one.
A key battle in the game will, as always, be how Pogba copes with the omnipresent influence of fellow France teammate N’Golo Kante in midfield, with the 25-year-old’s runs from deep so crucial to opening teams up in the final third.
Chelsea begin a new era under manager Frank Lampard with a huge game against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
The former Chelsea midfielder emerged triumphant from his last visit to the Theatre of Dreams in the League Cup last season with Derby County, winning on penalties after the match finished 2-2.
A win on Sunday would give Lampard another slice of history since it would be the first Chelsea win at Old Trafford since 2010.
Both sides will be desperate to send an early statement of intent to the Premier League by claiming a win over a member of the top six on the opening weekend.
It remains to be seen whether Lampard will risk Kante, who was sent home early from Chelsea’s pre-season tour of Japan due to a knee problem – one which has troubled the Frenchman since before the Europa League final – but supporters would have been encouraged to see him feature in Chelsea’s last friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Willian is another player who would normally feature in such a big game – the midfielder scored in a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford in February 2018 – but looks unlikely to be risked having mainly trained on his own over the summer, which means youngster Mason Mount will make his senior Chelsea debut.
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