Chelsea could learn a few things from Manchester United’s win over Paris-Saint Germain on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford.
Overall last season, Chelsea had a fairly poor record against Manchester United.
Despite the 3-1 win in the FA Cup semi-final in July, the Blues lost the other three meetings between the two sides last term including a 4-0 loss at Old Trafford in August 2019.
Chelsea have made a significant improvement in terms of squad quality with their summer spending spree, but Manchester United will certainly be a big test, particularly for their much-criticised defence.
Here are three things Chelsea could expect from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Three at the back formation
Solskjaer has used 4-2-3-1 in the four Premier League matches they have had so far.
But, with Harry Maguire struggling with a small muscle tear, the Norwegian went for a 3-5-2 formation against PSG in the Champions League.
Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe were deployed as left and right-sided centre-backs respetively, with Victor Lindelof playing in the centre, and they did well against PSG’s formidable attacking trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel di Maria in their 2-1 win.
Should Maguire have to miss the weekend’s game, Solskjaer will likely stick with his three-man defence to potentially deal with similarly pacey Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount or Hakim Ziyech.
Tuanzebe, in particular, has been getting praise for his athleticism during the PSG game.
Marcus Rashford to lead United’s attack
Against PSG, Solskjaer opted for Rashford and Anthony Martial for his striking pair.
However, with the latter having to sit out the weekend’s game due to suspension, Solskjaer will have a decision to make: to play Rashford as a lone striker or start him alongside his new signing Edinson Cavani who might not be fully ready fitness-wise.
In-form Rashford, who has racked up four goals and two assists in just seven games for United in all competitions this season, would arguably be the one Chelsea have to pay the most attention to.
Particularly considering the England international scored four goals in four games against Chelsea last season.
Bruno Fernandes to pull the strings in midfield
This could be a problem since Lampard doesn’t really have a natural holding midfielder at his disposal at the moment.
Lampard will surely hope that N’Golo Kante would be able to shut down the Portugal international.
However, as we often see, Kante tends to roam from his position and could potentially leave the likes of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic having to deal with Fernandes.
That said, Chelsea will have a similar threat in Kai Havertz who can hopefully pin down the likes of Scott McTominay and Fred, potentially allowing Chelsea’s double pivot to focus on shutting down Fernandes.