Manchester United will host Chelsea in the biggest game of the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.
The last time these two met in the league, Marcos Alonso cancelled out Juan Mata’s opener to give the Blues a valuable point that would go on to help them finish above the Red Devils and claim a place in this season’s UEFA Champions League.
With the teams likely to compete for a place in the top four once again, both sides will be looking to start the new campaign in winning fashion.
But who will come out on top? The Reds or The Blues? Find out what our Editor thinks.
English Premier League
Manchester United vs Chelsea
Sunday 11 August
Man United 23/20
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to start the new campaign on a high after a miserable finish to the 2018/19 season that saw United go their last five games without a win and suffer three defeats, including a 2-0 loss at home on the final day by Cardiff, who were heading out of the Premier League.
United will not have Champions League football to paper over the cracks during the season, with Thursday nights in the Europa League ringed in the calendar instead, but the Red Devils will have lots of reasons to be optimistic heading into the season.
They’ve won all six of their games in pre-season, including notable wins over Inter Milan and Tottenham. The club have also managed to keep hold of their two best players, David de Gea and Paul Pogba, while bolstering their defence that struggled last season, conceding 54 times in the Premier League.
Solskjaer will feel his side’s defensive problems have been solved with the arrivals of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who joined for £50 million from Crystal Palace, and Harry Maguire, who signed from Leicester for a whopping £80 million – a world record fee for a defender. Both walk into Solskjaer’s starting line-up.
Another new addition to the squad is Daniel James. The Welsh winger, who arrived from Swansea in a £15 million deal, looks a star in the making and he’ll be hoping for an opportunity to impress the Old Trafford faithful.
Marcus Rashford will have to step up this season and show emphatically that he deserves to wear the number 10 shirt at Manchester United. Solskjaer will want to see him take his tally to 20-plus goals this season and become more of a poacher. A goal against Chelsea would be a perfect start.
Lampard will be looking to start his managerial career at the Blues with a win over his old rivals. The last time the London outfit won at Old Trafford in the Premier League was back in 2013 when Lampard was still a player, but since then, the Blues have shared the spoils four times in six visits.
Chelsea, under Maurizio Sarri, played United three times last season, drawing both league games and losing 2-0 in the fifth-round of the FA Cup. Lampard will hope to replicate his heroics with Derby County last season by sneaking another famous win at Old Trafford.
With Eden Hazard no longer at the club, Christian Pulisic looks to be Chelsea’s man to watch out for. The USA international was snapped up from Borussia Dortmund for £58 million before a transfer ban came into force, so he will help to fill the void. Old Trafford is a huge stage to make your Premier League debut on, but Pulisic has the talent and temperament to excel.
Chelsea’s transfer ban could prove to be a blessing in disguise as it’s given the club’s highly rated youngsters such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi a golden opportunity to stake their claims.
Abraham, who scored 25 goals in 37 games for Aston Villa last term, has been Chelsea’s first-choice striker in pre-season and scored his first senior goal in the friendly victory over Barcelona. With all eyes on the world’s most expensive defender, Maguire, Abraham will look to steal the show.
Ross Barkley has shown signs he is ready to fulfil his potential. Playing as the central creative talent in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the England midfielder has shone, scoring and assisting goals, while taking over the club’s set-pieces. Given more freedom by Lampard like in his Everton days, Barkley could be a key figure for the Blues this season.
Lampard will be hoping to have N’Golo Kante fit for the clash, while Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger will miss out through injury.
Prediction: Man United (23/20)
I think it will be a tightly-contested affair, but with home advantage and a much stronger backline, I’m predicting a narrow win for Solskjaer’s side. As a die-hard Chelsea supporter, of course I hope I’m wrong.
Written by Chad N
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