Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea: 5 Tactics from Solskjaer that won the game
When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent out his team at Old Trafford to face Chelsea on Sunday, he had a lot going on in his mind. His old adversary Frank Lampard was in the opposition dugout, but that was the least of his worries. The Norwegian had invested heavily in his defense in the summer and had a new-look back four playing for the first time together.
He had also lost Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan and had not replaced the Belgian, preferring instead to believe in the players at his disposal. And the fact that the Red Devils had not replaced the departed Ander Herrera had fans questioning the effectiveness of the midfield. Solskjaer knew that 3 points could ease all the doubts and he named his first team accordingly.
The Norwegian opted for David de Gea in goal, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw making up the back four. The midfield consisted of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, while Andreas Pereira was stationed as the No. 10. In attack, he opted for Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford either side of Anthony Martial.
Despite being on the back foot in the opening stages of the game, United took the lead when Marcus Rashford scored from the spot in the 18th minute. In the second half, the home team upped the tempo and hit an even higher gear. Anthony Martial doubled the lead in the 65th minute before Rashford made it 3-0 in the 67th minute. Young Daniel James came off the bench to make it 4-0 in the 81st minute, to round up a stellar opening night for the Red Devils.
While the players took all the plaudits, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deserves all the credit for masterminding a brilliant win. Here are 5 tactics from the Norwegian that got United all 3 points.
#5 Weathering the initial storm
Manchester United were caught on the wrong foot at the start of the game. Chelsea were brighter, proactive on the ball and had intent in their stride that was missing from the Red Devils on the pitch. This pushed the home side back and United were lucky not to concede early in the game. Solskjaer watched from the bench as Frank Lampard’s wards stretched the United team and created a lot more in the final third.
The Norwegian could have been tempted to change his tactics and react to Chelsea’s pressure. However, Solskjaer decided to weather the storm instead, trusting in his players and knowing that if United played their natural game, things would soon fall into place. It was a plan that worked like a charm, as the home side regained their composure and took the lead in the 18th minute.