• Analysis

Match Preview: Manchester United vs Chelsea

Manchester United v Huddersfield Town - Premier League
Getty Images

Frank Lampard will make his Premier League debut as a manager at Old Trafford against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.

It is Manchester United vs Chelsea in the first round of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.

What makes the derby game even more interesting is the encounter between two legendary players, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard, now in charge of their former clubs.

The Norwegian will start his first full season at Old Trafford, while ‘Super Frank’ will make his managerial debut both at Chelsea and in the Premier League.

It is the perfect chance for both sides to see where they stand at the start of the new campaign, but however, it is unlikely for either one to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the title this season.

Team news

Harry Maguire is set to make his Manchester United debut this Sunday, after becoming the most expensive defender in the world when he signed from Leicester City in an £80 million transfer deal.

Paul Pogba, who missed the Red Devil’s last friendly is back in contention, while Eric Bailly and Alexis Sanchez are both sidelined for United’s Premier League opener.

Frank Lampard will have to make a late decision on N’Golo Kante, who will go through a late fitness test on Sunday morning.

Willian is definitely out, however, as well as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Antonio Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi. New signing Christian Pulisic is expected to start at Old Trafford.

What did the managers say

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United will not have any problems in the attack, despite selling Romelu Lukaku to Inter earlier this week.

“I’m very confident that we’ll get goals from [Anthony] Martial, [Marcus] Rashford. Dan James will come in and create,” Ole said via the Manchester United official website.

“I’m sure Jesse Lingard will get more [goals], so we do have a different attacking set-up this season.

“You do have players that you think are going to make an impact and Mason Greenwood’s pathway would have been a lot more difficult, of course, if we had another forward there. So, for me, I believe that Mason’s going to be playing and involved a lot, and, when he is, he’ll score goals.”

Frank Lampard was asked if he has prepared his final message to the players before his debut in charge of Chelsea FC.

“No! I haven’t yet. But there is a lot to prepare. We are watching Manchester United. We will have meetings. I will speak to the players as I feel it,” said Frank Lampard at the pre-match press conference.

“I am not one for absolute schedule or to say the same every game. Part of the job is to feel the atmosphere and say the things you feel need to be said.

“By that moment all the tactical work is done, and the message will be something around passion and giving everything, fighting for the team collectively. Those are the basics. You can’t go to Old Trafford and expect a result if you don’t do the basics. The players will be reminded of that.”


Stats (via BBC)

This will be the first opening-day meeting between Manchester United and Chelsea since Jose Mourinho won his first Premier League match with the Blues back in August 2004.

United have not hosted Chelsea on the opening day of a league campaign since 1958, when they won 5-2 courtesy of a Bobby Charlton hat-trick.

The Reds have triumphed in just two of their last 13 Premier League games against Chelsea (D6, L5). However, at home, they are unbeaten in six consecutive games. (W2, D4).

Chelsea are the only club to have won more Premier League matches against United than they have lost, with 18 victories and 15 defeats since the rebranding of the English First Division.

Manchester United could equal the club Premier League record of four consecutive winless home fixtures if they fail to win on Sunday.

However, the Red Devils have lost just one of the last 26 matches when they kicked off their Premier League campaign at Old Trafford. (W19, D6).

The last Chelsea manager to lose his first Premier League match in charge was Avram Grant. It was a 2-0 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford in September 2007.

Frank Lampard won on just one of his nine Premier League appearances as a player against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (D3, L5), and was outscored 4-1 by the Norwegian.