Rampant Manchester United Look A Lot Better

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United passed their first major test of the season, recording a fantastic 4-0 victory over potential top four rivals Chelsea.

United ended the last campaign with a whimper and questions marks continued to surround them as they only brought three new faces into the squad.

Yet they looked very assured today, particularly in the second half.

I, like many others, may have questioned the price tag that came with the Harry Maguire transfer but I didn’t doubt his quality.

Man United looked very good with Maguire and Victor Lindelof partnering each other at the back.

Harry was superb in the air and you could see that he’s already a strong talker within this Man Utd pool.

United only kept two clean-sheets in the whole of last season, so it’s great news for the new look defence that they’ve managed not to conceded in their first ninety minutes together.

£85m man Maguire won four aerial duels, made the most clearances and had an 87% passing success rate (Stats From Whoscored). He already looks like he’s been in that defence for years and deserved his man of the match award.

I think at times United looked a wee bit vulnerable on the lefthand side.

Forward Marcus Rashford didn’t track back enough in the opening half. That meant that Left-back Luke Shaw was often caught with two players on his side and that would sometimes mean that Maguire would have to mop up behind the fullback, thus leaving some space in the middle. It improved greatly in the second half as Rashford worked harder to follow his runner and that gave the United team more balance.

Fellow new boy Aaron Wan-Bissaka was assured in his competitive debut. His pace allowed him to get back and win the ball back whenever it went over the top. Solskjaer will hope that the right-back can settle in quickly at Old Trafford and that he’ll gain the confidence needed to become more of a threat in the opposition’s half.

Man United looked tentative in the first forty-five minutes. In particular Paul Pogba struggled to get into the game and often played at a pedestrian pace. The French World Cup winner would lose the ball in dangerous areas, struggled to push forward with any conviction and his passes were a bit sloppy.

It was almost as if Pogba’s mind was in Madrid rather than in Manchester. That changed in the second period. He demanded more of the ball, his passing was delightful and he helped his side by creating two assists. Paul became a leader in the second half and hopefully that first half performance was just a blip.

Young midfielders Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira ran their socks off. Like everyone else in the game, they made mistakes early on but the two didn’t let their heads go down. Scottish internationalist McTominay made two successful tackles out of his two attempts. Pereira made a great cross that gave Anthony Martial is goal.

Don’t get me wrong, Chelsea gifted Man United some of their goals due to their own mistakes. Kurt Zouma was a silly boy making a rash challenge that gave United their penalty. Some of The Blues defenders were slow on defending crosses and through balls.

But in fairness, Man United were ruthless and that’s all you can ask for. Ole will be delighted that his two forwards Rashford and Martial managed to grab three of his team’s strikes. Those two strikers have the pace and the instincts to become great Premier League goalscorers and they need to prove that in this campaign.

They’re helped by having Jesse Lingard buzzing around them. He does the graft and helps to keep the ball and win it further up the pitch.

Solskjaer will also have been delighted that his third new signing, Daniel James, managed to come on and make an impact from the bench. The twenty-one year old winger clearly has pace to burn and he looked rapid against this Chelsea defence. The Welshman burst onto a Pogba through ball and he then slipped his shot across Kepa and into the net. I should also say that James was brilliant in holding his run when waiting for Paul’s pass.

It was a terrific win for Manchester United. They really grew into the game and had an entry in the second half that Chelsea couldn’t contain.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has a strong foundation to build on and he needs to make sure that he gets consistency from his team, if they’re going to succeed this season.

Ten out of ten on the exciting start!

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