Date: Sunday 11th August 2019
Venue: Old Trafford
Kick-off: 16:30 BST
This could be a bit of a baptism of fire for Frank Lampard’s first Premier League game as Chelsea manager, as we open the 2019/20 campaign away at Old Trafford.
United were a bit of a different prospect last season and irrespective of how we played under Sarri, we still wouldn’t have feared playing them. As well as bringing in three new signings though, United will have had a good look at themselves over the summer. Let’s be honest, clubs like that won’t allow the rot to set too deep, so I think we’ll get a proper game from them today.
As for Chelsea, well we didn’t exactly cover ourselves in glory last season either. We ended the season with the smaller trophy in Europe and landed a Champions League place but if we’re honest, that was more through luck than judgment. So, off the back of a relatively poor season in footballing terms, and with only transfers-out permitted over the summer, this season will be no easy task for the new manager.
This isn’t just any new manager though, is it? This is the return of an absolute club legend – and that alone will give us some of the leadership we’ve been missing so badly since Frank hung up his Chelsea shirt.
Going into today’s game, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reflects on the squad he has available, saying “I think when the transfer window closes it’s that great feeling of relief. Now it’s done, we know (who) we’re looking forward with and I’m delighted with the three we’ve signed. Well (frustration) is not the feeling inside the club anyway and the feeling with the fans I’ve met, they are excited with the ones we’ve had. The players are here now, they’ve been shown that trust and we believe in them.”
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard (how great is it to say that?) meanwhile, says “We have to remain competitive while we are in this position. With the ban it has been easy to write off this squad, and I don’t write off this squad at all. I think that what is important is that you have a target within the group. What matters is how we approach things. We will see how we go.”
For Manchester United, Alexis Sanchez is not expected to start after returning from the Copa America, and Eric Bailly is injured. Paul Pogba (back) is in contention and new signing Harry Maguire is set to make his debut following his move from Leicester.
For Chelsea, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi (both Achilles) and Reece James (ankle) miss the start of the season. The game may come too soon for Willian (hamstring) and Antonio Rudiger (knee) who has just returned to training. N’Golo Kante (knee) also faces a late decision. Christian Pulisic will make his Premier League debut and Mason Mount should make his first competitive appearance for us, if selected.
MANCHESTER UNITED (Possible line-up): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, McTominay; James, Lingard, Martial; Rashford
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Christensen, Emerson; Kovacic, Jorginho, Barkley; Pedro, Pulisic, Abraham
Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (28th April 2019)
- United have not hosted Chelsea on the opening day of a league campaign since 1958.
- United have won in just two of their last 13 Premier League games against Chelsea (D6, L5) but they are unbeaten in six home matches (W2, D4).
- Chelsea are the only club to have won more Premier League matches against United than they have lost,
- Manchester United failed to win any of their final five games last season, losing three and drawing two.
- They could equal the club Premier League record of four consecutive winless home fixtures.
- United can win their opening match in five successive top-flight seasons for only the second time.
- United have lost just one of the last 26 matches when opening a top-flight campaign at home (W19, D6).
- Chelsea lost just one of their final 13 games in all competitions last season (W8, D4).
- Chelsea won only two of their last nine league games on the road.
- Chelsea have never been defeated when opening a Premier League season on a Sunday.
- The last Chelsea manager to lose his first Premier League match in charge was Avram Grant, a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United in September 2007.
BBC Sport: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea
Sky Sports: Manchester United 1-0 Chelsea
WhatsTheScore: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea