Manchester United thumped Chelsea 4-0 to race off the Premier League blocks at Old Trafford on Sunday. Though the visitors were unlucky to lose by such a huge margin, the Red Devils turned in an accomplished display, sending their fans into a frenzy.
The Blues started the game excellently and rattled the woodwork early. However, a poor bit of defending by Kurt Zouma offered United the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot. Marcus Rashford made no mistake and arrowed the spot kick into the top corner in the 18th minute.
Anthony Martial doubled the hosts’ lead in the 65th minute after getting on the end of Andreas Pereira’s cross. A couple of minutes later, Rashford tripled the Red Devils’ advantage with a cool finish.
However, Chelsea’s afternoon got worse in the 85th minute when substitute Daniel James racked up his first goal for United.
Here is a look at the five talking points from the game:
#5 Manchester United’s pressing leaves Chelsea gasping for air
Ever since his appointment as Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has professed to preach an exciting brand of football. Though the above didn’t materialise as often towards the back end of the 2018-19 season, the Norwegian got the Red Devils dancing to his tunes during the 2019 pre-season. And, a vital component of that effervescent style of football has been an intense high-pressing tactic.
On Sunday, Chelsea put out an attacking line-up, suggesting that they wished to trade punches with the hosts. However, with United pressing effectively, the Blues’ ploy of playing expansive football caused the away side a few problems.
In the formative stages of the first half, the home side imposed itself on the game by pressing Chelsea relentlessly in the latter’s defensive third. The strategy forced Zouma to give the ball away on numerous occasions and that laid the platform for United to build their offensive movements.
Additionally, they pinched the ball in midfield several times and quickly transitioned into attack, meaning that they caught the visitors’ defence off-guard. And eventually, they scored their goals in the second half through that medium.
The current decade has seen the Red Devils shunt from managers embracing different philosophies in a bid to zero in on an identity that synchronises with the rich history of the club. Ironically though, the club has kept searching for the trait it has craved most, in major part due to their impatience with managers.
However, with Solskjaer assured of his job, at least for now, United might start getting recognised for its high-pressing team. And, one reckons that is a significant upgrade after the moans and groans from the terraces at Old Trafford last season.