The Premier League is back, and no other fixture stands out this weekend as much as this one, as Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford, kicking off at 4:30pm local time on Sunday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard, both club legends, will want to get their season off to a flying start. Who will put down a marker?
Home Team: Manchester United
Manchester United had a season to forget last year, and aside from a couple of months, it was tough viewing for the club that is used to so much success. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had an immediate impact since being in the job, but it started to tail off as soon as he signed a full-length contract. His job is to rebuild the side and become a dominant force again, but that cannot be achieved overnight. With the transfer deadline coming to an end on Thursday, he has acquired two English defenders, including Aaron Wan-Bisakka and the £80 million record fee for a defender, Harry Maguire.
In addition to that, he has signed Welsh youngster Daniel James. There may be more signings to come between now and the transfer deadline, but United’s biggest issue last season was perhaps their defence, which is looking sturdier on paper now. Can they keep Chelsea’s attack quiet?
Away Team: Chelsea
Mauricio Sarri finished his solitary year at Chelsea with a top three finish in the Premier League, and a Europa League success. Despite the constant negativity thrown his way, he managed to deliver a successful season for the Blues. He has now joined Juventus, so Chelsea have felt it’s the perfect time to hire club legend Frank Lampard to replace him. He would have wished he took over in better circumstances, as he has to manage the club with the inability to sign any new players, and have had to deal with the loss of former key man – Eden Hazard.
Chelsea did already purchase Christian Pulisic, and have called back many players on loan, so they should have enough ability to challenge for the top four again at least, with maybe one eye on a title race. Frank Lampard impressed during his time at Derby, and even managed a victory at Old Trafford during his time there. Can he win again this coming Sunday?[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]
Head to Head
Chelsea are one of the few teams to boast an impressive record against Manchester United in the Premier League era, and have won at Old Trafford more than any other club since the name change of the top division in 1992/1993. However, when the clubs met three times last season, Chelsea couldn’t muster one victory. In both league games, they cancelled each other out with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, and a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford as recent as April.
Their other meeting was in the FA Cup, during Solskaer’s great away winning run, which saw United win 2-0. Chelsea have an excellent record at home to Manchester United, but their great away days at Old Trafford have not been happening in recent years, with their last away win at the stadium back in the 2012/2013 season.
My Predictions and Betting Tips
Manchester United are slight favourites at 6/5 to win, with a draw and a Chelsea win both priced at 23/10. It’s a tough one to call on the opening day, but I believe Manchester United may get the win here. The fans will be optimistic and upbeat with the new signings, and Chelsea won’t pose the same threat without Eden Hazard.
I’d pick Manchester United to win 2-1 at 8/1. Harry Maguire, who will likely play his debut, is at generous odds at 10/1 to score at any time during the match. For the visitors, you’d be wise to have money on Michy Batshuayi to score at any time at 21/10, or to score in a loss at 10/1. There could be some potential VAR reviews on Sunday, so might be worth backing a penalty to be scored at 10/3.
Finally, for the tipsters, there is excellent value on a HT/FT bet which is Chelsea / Manchester Utd at 28/1.[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]