Manchester United will welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford in the biggest match of the opening weekend of the Premier League on Sunday.
The Red Devils finished a disappointing sixth in the league last season and parted ways with manager Jose Mourinho in the middle of the season. Club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was hired as a temporary replacement before his job was made permanent later.
In the first summer transfer window for the new manager, defender Harry Maguire joined for a world-record fee while last year’s sensation Aaron Wan-Bissaka came in from Crystal Palace to bolster the defense.
United managed to keep Paul Pogba for another year while winger Daniel James joined from Swansea. However, they did lose Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan while midfielders Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini left the club this year.
Thus, it remains to be seen how competitive the club can be in the league this season and beating top-four hopefuls in front of home fans will be a good start to the campaign.
Coming to Chelsea, they let go of Maurizio Sarri to Juventus after he led the club to a third-place finish and Europa League glory last season. Club legend Frank Lampard came to replace him in the dugout to great fanfare, especially with the club slapped with a transfer ban.
The Blues lost Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, David Luiz to Arsenal and decided against converting Gonzalo Higuain’s loan move into a permanent one. Among the incoming, Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic stands out while making Mateo Kovacic’s loan into a permanent deal looks a good one too.
In the end, Lampard will have to work with the club’s youngsters to fill in the gaps in the squad, for now, a job he has embraced willingly so far. Thus, a trip to perennial rivals Manchester United comes early for him but it also gives an opportunity to lay down a marker.
Coming to team news, Solskjaer will be without Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah who are out with long-term injuries. Paul Pogba is expected to be fit while Alexis Sanchez is short of match fitness and could miss out.
On the other hand, Lampard has a few long-term absentees in the form of Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Willian and N’Golo Kante are expected to be fit for the season opener.
Head-To-Head and Manchester United vs Chelsea Prediction
In terms of head-to-head, United have won just 2 of the last 13 PL meetings between the sides. However, Chelsea’s last win at Old Trafford came in 2013 and the visitors will look to change that.
Despite United’s fall from the top, they have only lost 6 out of their last 65 PL games at home. However, they have failed to register a clean sheet for the last 15 consecutive games in the PL era, highlighting their defensive issues.
Both teams are in good nick after solid pre-seasons and will look to start the campaign wit a win. However, neither team will want to lose and a draw is more likely in the current situation.
Manchester United Predicted XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; James, Lingard, Martial; Rashford
Chelsea Predicted XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Christensen, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho; Pedro, Barkley, Pulisic; Abraham