The first super Sunday of the 2019/20 premier league season offers a mouth-watering fixture as Frank Lampard is all set to begin his reign as the manager of Chelsea with a trip to Old Trafford; home to one of Chelsea’s most familiar foes in the Premier League era, Manchester United.
Chelsea has not been able to get the better of United at Old Trafford since the 2009/10 season and ‘Super Frankie’ will definitely look to change that this time around.
Manchester United, too, will look to get off to a bright start by beating the Blues and building on the confidence, on the back of what’s been a successful pre-season for Ole and his boys.
The clash promises to be a cracker as both teams will look to gain an early edge over the other in the title chase. As these two Premier League giants lock horns, let’s take a look at the key battles that might decide the outcome of the game.
Christian Pulisic vs Aaron Wan-Bissaka
With Hazard’s departure, Chelsea’s new signing and United States’ national team superstar Christian Pulisic needs to step up big time if they are to compete for the title this year. Sunday’s game against United is a wonderful opportunity for the skilful Pulisic to show his mettle and prove himself worthy of his price tag which saw him become the most expensive American transfer ever.
He will have his task cut out on the left flank though, as giving him a run for his money will be the Red Devils’ recently signed 22-year-old right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. A bundle of energy, Aaron’s ability to defend in one versus one situation is the most remarkable facet of his game. His perfectly balanced positioning sense enables him to restrict the winger’s ability to dribble infield.
Christian Pulisic vs Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a battle to savour for the neutrals and will definitely have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.
Anthony Martial vs Cesar Azpilicueta
On his day, Anthony Martial can pierce a hole through the tightest of defences. The crafty Frenchman Martial looked sharp during pre-season and is bound to pose a serious threat to Chelsea’s Spanish right-back, Azpilicueta on the left flank. Martial carries with him a bag full of trickery coupled with a deceptive change of pace that could catch the Spanish international off guard.
Having said that, Azpilicueta is certainly not new to the Premier League and has been able to successfully and consistently fend off a horde of talented wingers in the league over the years. The right-back also poses a threat to the United defence with his runs behind the defence and the ability to put in dangerous crosses.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer vs Frank Lampard
While the on-field battles will definitely be the biggest attraction, what will actually decide the United vs Chelsea fixture on Sunday is the off-field tactical and strategic battle between two club legends, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard. The curtain raisers generally turn out to be tense affairs as neither of the teams want to lose their first game of the season and both Lampard and Ole, have a lot on the line. Frank Lampard succeeded with Derby but the Premier League is a whole different ball game.
The pace of the game will be blistering and it will be interesting to see what style Lampard adapts to disrupt the quick passing, counter-attacking football Ole’s lads will be looking to play. Ole, on the other hand, needs to re-instil the faith that the Board and the fans showed in him initially, following which a series of complete disasters knocked United out of contention for a Champions League spot.
United’s midfield and attack is still a huge spot of bother for Solskjaer and he has to bring out the best from the likes of Pogba, Rashford, Martial etc against top-quality opposition such as Chelsea. With his defence now reinforced, Ole will be hoping to give Chelsea and its new manager a torrid time at Old Trafford.