Manchester United began their 2019-20 Premier League season on a strong note, winning 4-0 against rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men rode their luck throughout the game but came out with a win and a clean sheet despite the Chelsea attack coming close several times.
But, the Red Devils manager will be pleased by the result despite the performance. Let’s take a look at 3 takeaways from Manchester United’s point of view:
Solskjaer to play a quick counter-attacking game
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer set up the Manchester United side to play on the counter-attack, to utilise the speed of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, and Anthony Martial to expose the Chelsea backline – and that tactic worked to the T. With Paul Pogba’s phenomenal passing range, which was on display for two of the four goals, as well as the ball-winning ability of Scott McTominay, United were efficient in moving the ball quickly from midfield to attack. It remains to be seen if the same tactic can be used with regularity – and if Manchester United’s players have the ability, to open more stubborn defences.
New signings were excellent
Two of the three new signings – Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, started the game against Chelsea, while the third signing, Daniel James, came off the bench in the first game of the season. Both Wan-Bissaka and Maguire were impressive in Manchester United’s defence, showing their great defensive and offensive prowess.
While United did look vulnerable for a lot of the first half, that was perhaps down to the central midfield, which allowed the Chelsea midfield to advance with the ball, while left-back Luke Shaw didn’t have a very good game, and it seemed like the Blues specifically attacked on that side of the pitch.
You can win with kids
Alan Hansen’s famous “You can’t win anything with kids” was proved wrong by the Manchester United side of the 90s, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems set to want to prove that quote wrong once again. The average age of Manchester United’s starting XI that played against Chelsea was just 24 years and 227 days, with the oldest player in the lineup being goalkeeper David de Gea at 28 years of age.
This is clearly the direction in which Solskjaer is going to take his squad, getting rid of older players or, at least, not featuring them in the first XI week in week out, and showing trust in the younger players at United. 5 of the 11 players in the starting XI came through the Manchester United academy, while there were two more players on the bench. It seems that Solskjaer trusts his young players over more experienced players like Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, and Ashley Young who were all benched for the game against Chelsea.