Manchester United‘s first game of the season ended in favour of the Red Devils, as they comfortably defeated Chelsea in Frank Lampard’s first game in charge of the Blues. But, the final score did not clearly show how the sides were evenly matched for large parts of the game as Chelsea were unlucky not to score, hitting the post twice.
Former Liverpool player Steve Nicol has said that Manchester United were outplayed by Chelsea until they scored the opening goal against the run of play, while also saying that United will struggle against a better attacking unit than the one that Lampard fielded.
“Until the first goal, Chelsea were outplaying Manchester United at home for fun. Manchester United for me weren’t in the game before the first goal.
“And when I say particularly the first half, both sides were so desperate to get forward that both sides left big holes all over the place, and Manchester United if they do that against a team that has a far potent attacking force they are going to be under severe pressure. They are going to be losing goals,” Nicol said on the ESPN FC show.
United won the game thanks to a brace from Marcus Rashford, and a goal each by Anthony Martial and debutant Daniel James. But Chelsea had their fair share of chances as they hit the post twice, while also coming close several other times, with Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea making several saves.
Why Nicol is right and Manchester United need to improve
Against Chelsea, Manchester United were lucky not to go to half-time two or more goals behind the Blues as Lampard’s men were impressive in the opening 20 minutes of the game.
United’s defence, especially the left side, was exposed time and again, while Solskjaer’s wide players did not defend well too.
The Red Devils were set up to hit Chelsea on the counter-attack, but they gave their opponents too much time and space to attack and create chances, while the Chelsea full-backs and wide players also had acres of space to run into.
Solskjaer has to rectify this soon as they could be punished against better attacking sides. New signings Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka performed very well against Chelsea, which will give them good confidence, while the form of De Gea will be encouraging for the United manager as well.
United, however, need to dispossess the opposition midfield quickly and not allow them to dictate the tempo of the game. Maguire and co. can’t bail them out time and again.
Another area that the Red Devils need to strengthen is on the left side as Luke Shaw was targetted time and again in the game, which could be a tactic that other teams could employ.