Sunday’s encounter at Old Trafford saw two familiar managers go head to head. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and newly appointed Frank Lampard launched their 2019/20 Premier League campaign, as Manchester United welcomed Chelsea. Headlines pointed out whether Solskjaer’s team had sufficient investment to challenge at the top of the table, following a somewhat poor 6th place finish last season. In the other dugout however stood the familiar face of Frank Lampard, taking charge of his first competitive game managing his former club, since taking Derby County to the Championship play-off’s last season.
Chelsea started the game strong, and despite a converted penalty from Marcus Rashford, they remained strong. But with United maintaining good possession, and closing down Chelsea attacks with ease, they held on to the 1-0 lead at half time. The second half showed a different story however, with United being quick and snappy on the counterattack, seeing Martial get on the score sheet and Rashford grab his second in quick succession. The game seemed to be heading United’s way with ease, and to top it off, debutant Daniel James sealed the victory, converting a deflected effort past Kepa.
During the summer transfer window, lots of eyes focused on United, all begging the question as to whether they could sustainably develop their team into getting results and avoid embarrassments, such as last seasons 4-0 loss to Everton. In their bid to do this they have opted to recruit young English talent from fellow English teams, spending a whopping £145 million in their pursuit to bring back success.
The football world seemed shocked when Maguire joined for a huge £80 million this summer, leaving his former club Leicester City, where he played a fundamental part in the defence during his two seasons at the club. Providing he maintains his performance from Sunday, his price tag will definitely be justified. In the past season, Solskjaer’s defence was poor and lacked structure, commonly leaving De Gea heavily exposed. Maguire made the United defence look completely different, commonly making tackles and interceptions, he fit right into the squad and seemed well respected by all of his teammates. We feel that he deserves a high rating of 8.5/10.
Crystal Palace massively increased their transfer budget, with the sale of their homegrown right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to the Red Devils for £50 million. 21-year-old Wan-Bissaka had been a part of the Palace set up since 2009, proving an important part of their team and winning the clubs player of the year award in his last season. His highly anticipated move to United proved to be positive in pre-season and earnt him a place on the starting sheet against Chelsea. Nicknamed ‘The Spider’, due to his long legs allowing for his effective lunge-tackle, Wan-Bissaka is the right back United have been searching for. He provides security down the right side of the pitch and shows his pace on the counterattack too. It seems like he’ll fit into the United team well, and we feel as though his performance on Sunday was a strong 7/10.
James’s move from Swansea raised some eyebrows, especially because of his young age and high price tag of £15.3 million. James had only made 33 senior appearances for Swansea since 2016, all of which coming last season following their relegation to the Championship. In spite of this, and his relatively un-matured statistics, he gained lots of praise from the United faithful during pre-season. His raw pace and enthusiasm was something United had been lacking, and when he came off the bench on Sunday, he brought energy to the attack. It was clear he couldn’t contain his excitement when his (albeit lucky) shot snuck past Kepa. But his determination to get himself into goalscoring positions is something United need to grind out results this season. His short but successful debut earns him a rating of 7.5/10.