Manchester United started their new season by hosting Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday. The two clubs had ended last season on contrasting notes; while the Blues finished third in the Premier League table and also won the UEFA Europa League, the Red Devils were sixth in the table and had not won anything for the second year running.
Chelsea had appointed club legend Frank Lampard as their manager ahead of the new season, but it was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was under pressure ahead of the game. United might have won all 6 games in pre-season, but the club’s average performance in the transfer market had left fans in disarray. Solskjaer, though, was confident that he was satisfied with his team and he had two debutants in the eleven he set out against Chelsea.
The Norwegian started with David De Gea in goal, who also wore the armband for the first game of the season. The back four consisted of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, and Luke Shaw. In the midfield, Solskjaer opted for Scott McTominay alongside Paul Pogba, while Andreas Pereira operated in the No. 10 role. The front three consisted of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford.
It was Frank Lampard’s boys who started the game brighter, pushing United back and even hitting the upright in the opening minutes. However, United grew in stature as the game progressed and went ahead when Marcus Rashford scored from the spot. The first half ended with the score 1-0.
The home side hit a higher gear in the second half, doubling the lead through Anthony Martial before Rashford scored his second of the night. Young Daniel James came on late into the game and found the back of the net to make it 4-0 and ended the night on a high.
While the entire team was impressive, Solskjaer will be delighted with the efforts of these 5 men who helped win the game.
#5 Daniel James
The youngster came on in place of Andreas Pereira in the 74th minute, as Solskjaer looked to utilize the Welshman’s pace in the dying minutes. Daniel James had an immediate impact in the game, driving at the opposition defense and tracking back to help out Wan-Bissaka. And in the 81st minute, when Pogba stormed into the opposition third, the youngster was in position to receive his pass.
Even though it initially looked like he had missed the window to score, James did find the back of the net, albeit with a fortuitous deflection. His goal ensured United had a comfortable grip on the game.
The Welshman went on to win free-kicks in dangerous positions and stretched the game until the last minute, helping United secure all three points.