Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea: Analysis
Marcus Rashford scored two goals with Anthony Martial and Daniel James also on the scoresheet to earn Manchester United an emphatic 4-0 victory over Chelsea in their opening match of the Premier League.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed debuts to Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire while his opposite number Frank Lampard opted to start without United States international Christian Pulisic, but did name youngster Mason Mount in his line up.
The visitors were the better team in the early exchanges and will feel that the opening goal came against the run of play.
Referee Anthony Taylor played advantage following a foul by Jorginho and in the next phase of play Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma was adjudged to have fouled Rashford in the box.
Following a short consultation with the Video Assistant Referee, Taylor pointed to the spot and Rashford made no mistake.
The goal galvanised United who improved after taking the lead, but it was Chelsea who came closest to scoring when left-back Emerson Palmieri rattled David De Gea's crossbar.
Lampard introduced Pulisic for his Premier League debut on 58 minutes and he showed some bright touches, winning a free kick with his first involvement.
However, as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser, Chelsea were caught on the counter-attack and were 2-0 down on 65 minutes.
Maguire won the ball on the edge of the United box before playing in Rashford. The England forward passed it to Jesse Lingard. He teed up Andreas Pereira, who swung in a tantalising cross, which was finished off by Martial.
And just two minutes later, it was 3-0 when Pogba won the ball in midfield and played in Rashford, who beat the offside trap to slot the ball past goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Solskjaer introduced James, who got in on the act with a debut goal on 82 minutes to make it 4-0 when played in by Pogba after another United counter.
The result represents a dream start to the campaign for Solskjaer but, for Lampard, there will have been some serious concerns as to how much his side struggled to deal with United's counter-attacks.
KEY TALKING POINTS
1. Zouma wilts under pressure
Over two years since last wearing a Chelsea shirt, Kurt Zouma’s long-awaited return was inevitably going to invite unwanted pressure.
After David Luiz’s late departure applied new spotlight to that, the French centre-back’s clumsy error gifted United the opener.
It was a totally needless foul from Zouma when he slid his foot through to get Rashford down and it was definitely the latter's penalty goal that cheaply gifted the momentum to a United outfit that was raring to break down Chelsea's defence.
Zouma's mistake cost the Blues dearly as it literally took the game away from Chelsea who looked really promising in the early stages, but United were clinical in putting away their chances.
The lingering questions over the defence will doubtless perpetuate. Ultimately, though, it was Lampard’s faith in the Frenchman that saw him pack Luiz's bags, but Zouma was frankly a nervous wreck at Old Trafford.
2. United’s relatively experienced youngsters see off Chelsea challenge
Throughout the 2019 summer break, Manchester United and Chelsea were touted as teams being in transition and the naming of several youngsters in both playing elevens on Sunday was not exactly a surprise.
Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were asked to spearhead the hosts’ attack and were supported by Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay.
In defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka made an impressive debut while Daniel James scored the fourth goal and Mason Greenwood got a piece of the action.
In contrast, a few of Chelsea’s youngsters failed to live up to their billing and turned in average displays.
Andreas Christensen and Zouma looked out of their depth in defence and Emerson’s positioning was also found out.
In attack, though Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount sparkled intermittently, they failed to combine those facets when opportunities presented itself. Christian Pulisic was unable to make a mark when he came on too.
MAN OF THE MATCH : MARCUS RASHFORD
The English international was at his ruthless best yesterday night, having scored a double. The first one was a penalty he smartly induced off Kurt Zouma and the youngster calmly slotted the spot kick home past a hapless Kepa.
The second was a thing of beauty from the striker as he made a brilliant run to collect Paul Pogba's defence-splitting pass. The first touch was supreme and the finish was composed to make it 3-0 for United.
2 shots on target, 2 goals. Our man of the match is Marcus Rashford.