Image taken from AM Point TV
So today was the day, the start of the new season where every team has new hopes and dreams. For Manchester United the hope for their first game would have been to get off to a winning start. The dream would have been to beat Chelsea convincingly and get Old Trafford rocking. Today was the day for that United dream to come true…
First up today for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men was Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, probably an unknown quantity at the start of this season. A team that is under a transfer embargo with a man in charge that has limited managerial experience. They are a team that doesn’t lack quality however and no doubt will still be in with a good chance of pushing for a top four position come the end of the season.
The early stages of the game saw Chelsea start the brighter, worryingly for United Chelsea looked much sharper and brighter than they did and were unlucky not to take the lead when Tammy Abraham saw his effort crash off the post. Chelsea then hit the woodwork for a second time in the opening 45 minutes when Emerson Palmeiri’s shot from the angle hit David De Gea’s crossbar.
Despite Chelsea’s dominance in a first half where United seemed surprisingly out of sorts, against the run of play Solskjaer’s men took the lead. Marcus Rashford firing home a penalty confirmed by VAR for the first time at Old Trafford in the Premier League. The penalty was awarded correctly after Rashford was bundled over by Chelsea centre back Kurt Zouma.
At halftime United may well have been fortunate to be in front but in the second half The Reds were a different beast and soon showing Lampard the ruthless nature of the Premier League. The Reds blew Chelsea away with 15 minute period of breathtaking football.
United first doubled their lead in the 65th minute when Anthony Martial had the freedom of the oppositions box to squeeze home a great cross from Andreas Pereira. Before Chelsea knew it they were 3-0 down when Rashford latched on to Paul Pogba’s perfectly timed ball to double his tally for the day and give United an unassailable lead. On 81 minutes after just being introduced in to the game it was time for new signing Daniel James to ensure that his debut would be a dream one, finishing expertly to round off a near perfect day for the Old Trafford side, getting their season off to the perfect start.
Whilst this result will have come as a surprise to many, today, especially the second half performance was a continuation of the good work Solskjaer and his squad have been showing in pre-season. A trip to Wolverhampton Wanders next up will pose a different challenge for United, a challenge they could not overcome last season on two separate occasions, but United will go in to this one full of confidence and determined to right the wrongs of last seasons performances at Molineux.