The Frank Lampard era officially began at Old Trafford some fourteen months ago, and it began in a most inauspicious way with a 4-0 defeat that didn’t really feel like a 4-0 defeat but was still very much a 4-0 defeat.
Things have of course improved from there, but quite often, the feeling remains that we are not quite getting the results our play and certainly our potential would ... deserve? Deserve is never a good word to use however. You deserve what you get.
We ended up playing United no fewer than four times last season, twice in the league and once in each of the two cups. We lost both games in the league without even scoring a goal, and also lost in the League Cup. But, finally, we beat them in the FA Cup back in July after the Restart. Fourth time the charm!
United and Chelsea were two of the youngest teams last season, and the similarities in the coaching situations — not to mention the results, both this season and last — have also led to constant comparisons. Now, it’s time for another progress check, and one also colored by our investment over the summer.
Date / Time: Saturday, October 24, 2020, 17.30 BST; 12.30pm EDT; 10pm IST
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Referee: Martin Atkinson (on pitch); Stuart Attwell (VAR)
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBC, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemunod Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Manchester United team news: If you thought Chelsea’s results were all over the place, United puts those to shame. They’ve yet to win a game at home, losing to Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur by a combined 2-9 (NINE) scoreline. Meanwhile, they’ve yet to fail to win away from home in five tries, including twice against Brighton, once in the league and then again in the League Cup a few days later. More impressively, they beat PSG 2-1 in Paris on Tuesday, to follow a 4-1 win at Newcastle last weekend.
The 2-1 win over PSG was the first time all season that the away side in a United match failed to score at least 3 goals.
So, this game is likely to be just as season-defining for them as it will be for us, especially as they face RB Leipzig and then Arsenal in the next seven days.
Solskjær, who looked one foot out the door after the 6-1 loss to Spurs, will not have Anthony Martial available through suspension, while Eric Bailly, Jesse Lingard, and Phil Jones are all injured. Embattled duo Harry Maguire and Mason Greenwood may pass their fitness tests, while new arrival Edinson Cavani (!) might be ready to make his debut.
United also signed left back Alex Telles and midfield Donny van de Beek over the summer, though the latter has not been as involved as one might have been expecting, while the former just made his debut midweek.
View from the enemy: The Busby Babe
Chelsea team news: The Blues will be without third goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who injured his shoulder while watching Édouard Mendy keep a clean sheet against Sevilla, and Billy Gilmour still, who’s in the final month of his knee rehab. Thiago Silva, who’s reportedly dealing with some discomfort in his hip, has been confirmed fit, though fellow new arrival Hakim Ziyech may still not be quite ready to start.
Chelsea’s midweek 0-0 against Sevilla was a welcome result in the sense of keeping a clean sheet, but less welcome in terms of offering little threat going forward. While these sorts of games can happen — in fact, this was just the first scoreless draw of the Lampard Era — let’s not make a habit of it. Keep the defending habit, of course, while still creating chances and shots.
Finding that balance may not be easy, but that’s why Lampard’s getting paid the big bucks.
Previously: Chelsea have not won a Premier League match at Old Trafford since 2013, but we have done so in the cups, including in the FA Cup last season. Olivier Giroud and Mason Mount scored on either side of half time (the latter with a helping hand from David De Gea as well), before Harry Maguire added a third via an own goal.