Man Utd returned to ruthless best vs Chelsea to bring back Old Trafford optimism – John Cross

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At the final whistle, the familiar theme tune of “Glory, Glory Manchester United” was belting out as the feel good factor returned to Old Trafford.

This was back to what United do best: overwhelming Chelsea in the most ruthless fashion and refusing to play along with the Frank Lampard fairytale.

Marcus Rashford scored twice, Paul Pogba provided two assists, debutants Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were both man of the match contenders and another, Daniel James, scored after coming on as a substitute.

As first games of the season go, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not have wished for anything better as a victory like this is a complete game changer, one to change the whole mood from pre-season pessimism to a bright new sense of optimism.

Man Utd ruthlessly dispatched Chelsea for four

Meanwhile, Lampard’s dream job quickly descended into nightmare territory because, as well as they played in the first hour, Chelsea crumbled in the second half.

It was as much of a battle of wills as football match and United stood tall under pressure while Chelsea’s inexperience was there for all to see as they collapsed after the second goal and this promises to be a tough season for Lampard.

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Lampard’s gamble on Mason Mount looked good, Brazilian left back Emerson was good going forward and they played some nice attacking football but that gets forgotten in this sort of score line.

Incredibly, Chelsea had more possession, more corners, more shots and more shots on target but they did not have United’s ruthless streak or mental strength to stay in the contest when the going got tough.

Rashford shone as he stepped up to the task of being United’s main man, Wan-Bissaka’s tenacity set the tone for the whole performance and Maguire looked every inch a future captain.

Marcus Rashford bagged a brace against Chelsea

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has refound the Old Trafford feel-good factor

In fairness to the Chelsea fans, they were still singing Lampard’s name at the end but this was a chastening experience for a manager who was used to winning at Old Trafford rather than being humiliated.

This was United’s biggest win over Chelsea at Old Trafford since 1965 and the match billed as the acid test for both aspiring young managers finished with even Sir Alex Ferguson grinning broadly in the directors’ box. That said it all.

Chelsea started brilliantly, Lampard paced the technical area and Solskjaer sat nervously in the dug-out. Tammy Abraham crashed a shot against the post as the visitors took charge – only for their defence to be undone by Kurt Zouma’s schoolboy errors.

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Referee Anthony Taylor played an advantage in midfield after Andreas Pereira was fouled, Rashford stormed forward and was clumsily upended by Zouma. Rashford had no hesitation in smashing the ball into the top corner.

It was rough on Chelsea but they did not let their heads drop. Ross Barkley forced a fine save from United keeper David de Gea, Emerson crashed a shot against the woodwork.

Daniel James netted on his Man Utd debut

Frank Lampard was given a baptism of fire in his first Premier League match as Chelsea manager

Chelsea kept going after the restart but the United second goal killed them. It came after 65 minutes and the build-up will leave Solskjaer brimming with pride.

Maguire used his strength to nick the ball off Abraham on the edge of the box, Scott McTominay helped it on, Rashford led the counter attack and then fed Pereira whose low cross was turned home by Anthony Martial.

Two minutes later, United got a third. Pogba’s wonderful ball over the top released Rashford, the England striker controlled the ball with a sublime first touch and then powered forward before driving home a low shot past Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

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The rout was complete after 81 minutes when Pogba set up James and the United substitute fired into the far corner.

Over the course of 90 minutes, United’s summer spending on young British talent looks inspired while Chelsea’s youth project will need time and patience under Lampard.





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