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Football News: Manchester United v Chelsea Review

Manchester United v Chelsea Review
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Manchester United v Chelsea Review

From a personal perspective I was encouraged that Ole selected a youthful and energetic side. Considering it was only the first game of the season this was a high pressure occasion against one of our top 4 rivals. It would have been easy to select a conservative, pragmatic team and opted for experience in the likes of Matic and Mata in order to navigate a tricky first fixture. Had he done that it would have undoubtedly effected our speed in transition and it could have been a very different game.

I think we started the game sluggishly, our passing was poor, we were unable to retain possession of the football effectively and our pressing was erratic allowing Chelsea to advance easily up the pitch especially in wide areas.

I was at the game and for the initial 20 minutes or so I really struggled to work out our formation. I think on paper Pereria started the game at No10, with Lingard right, Rashford left and Martial upfront however we effectively resembled a 4-2-2-2 for the majority of the first half. Lingard never stays wide and invariably drifts inside in search of the ball. Rashford definitely played more centrally meaning our flanks were terribly exposed resulting in both full backs being isolated and often left overloaded in 2v1 situations. On another day Chelsea may have exploited these positions more effectively and had us in trouble.

Carrying on from last season there is no doubt that we remain an explosive team in the transitions. The speed at which we can break from one end of the field to another is frightening and maybe Chelsea were led into a false sense of security. Despite their superior possession, slick football and overloads in the wide areas they lacked quality and composure in the final third in what was a relatively impotent attacking display. We always looked dangerous on the counter and without Kante they didn't have anyone with the physicality or intelligence to identify or neutralise the threat. It was a very naive Chelsea performance and whilst I think they will play some pretty football this season I can't help thinking it might all just amount to style over substance.

From a Utd perspective I think we improved when we changed to a more traditional 4-2-3-1 in the second half. Lingard was more effective at 10 and Rashford and Pereria were able to provide better protection to our full backs playing in wider areas. This improved further when James came on and his willingness to work hard and then burst forward to support the attack made us even more of a threat and brought balance to the team.

Moving forward I think we still have a tendency to want to move the ball from A to B too quickly often resulting in us either over running or over playing the ball surrendering possession too easily. We must learn to play with more patience and control choosing our moments to break more wisely. Whilst I admire Ole's faith shown in Pereria I think we looked much better when we had more pace and width on the right. I'm not sure he really understood his role and the middle of the pitch was often congested. I see no reason why he can't play the No10 role but I think this works more effectively with two wider players with pace rather than Lingard or Mata moving inside and congesting the middle which also leaves our full backs isolated and exposed. I believe James or Greenwood are much better options from the right and will bring more balance to the team with either Lingard, Pereria or Mata playing at No10.

In summary we were absolutely devastating and ruthless in the transitions and Chelsea simply had no answer to the power and pace of our running. If any team over commits we are going to be a frightening prospect on the break especially with the increased defensively solidarity provided by AWB and Maguire. An encouraging start with plenty of scope to work and improve on.

Written by DLIB August 13 2019 12:58:36


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