Facing Manchester United at Old Trafford is never an easy task. In the first match of a new season, under a new head coach, and after a transfer banned summer of losing one of the best players on Earth, not to mention the multiple key injury still affecting the squad, it was especially so.
All that aside, the 4-0 scoreline still hurt like the dickens. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t a true reflection of the balance of play. United made their chances count, regardless of how they came about. And Chelsea did not. At the end of the day, that’s what matters on the scoreboard.
“I can’t drag players out of the medical room, these are the players that played. We were the better team in 45-60 minutes. They were ruthless.
“I believe in the squad that we have. If we were more clinical then it could have been a different game. They won it in our box by being clinical. That is where we let ourselves down. It is hard to talk about it after 4-0, it sounds stupid. They took their chances.”
Chelsea started brightly and certainly could feel hard done by the scoreline in the first hour or so. Tammy Abraham and Emerson were cruelly denied by the woodwork in the first half, while at the other end, United were gifted a penalty against the run of play.
xG map for Manchester United - Chelsea— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) August 11, 2019
rarely watched a 4-0 that felt less like a 4-0. United did play really well on the counter once Pogba got space to work. pic.twitter.com/ZW5rFXw4KM
But even the narrative of things that might have been if small margins had gone in our favor instead of United’s does not erase the problems presented by the selected eleven, especially at the back. Unfortunately, that’s the side effect of the various decisions and circumstances that have led us to the situation at hand. Finding success is going to be a process, and possibly not very a short one either.
“This is going to be a work in progress in a degree. I want to work. I think what the fans want to see is a team that wants to play the right way.”
“The players are disappointed, but there were elements that I really liked. [I liked our] control of the game. Intense in periods of the game, whether it be Mount or Pedro.”
“[Pulisic] is 20 years of age, I think he is going to be a brilliant player for the club. I felt it was better to start with Ross and Mason, the game went quickly away from us.”
And we can certainly take some positives. While the game was close, Chelsea outplayed United in terms of passing, possession, and creativity. Being clinical in the final third and keeping concentrating in the defensive third are issues that can be worked on, improved, and learned. Chelsea are very young; there’s tremendous opportunity for growth.
Neither a positive nor a negative outlook will change the fact of what ultimately turned into a hammering at Old Trafford. Things got out of control in the second half, and that in itself is something that should not be allowed to happen. Again, another learning opportunity, another step in the process.
Or so we hope.
“Everything could be magnified. It’s not a great difference. I have lost here before. It should hurt, [but] it shouldn’t consume us.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Ahead of the game, there was a lot of excitement surrounding this Chelsea team under Frank Lampard. One game should not make all that go away. Two games, three games should not make all that go away. Too many big defeats will not be good of course, but we have to keep the bigger picture in mind. Rome was not built in a day, nor was any title contender.
It’s a long season ahead. There will be better days.
So say we all.