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Manchester United Dominate Chelsea 4-0 in Christian Pulisic's EPL Debut

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2019

Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford (C) shoots to score from the penalty spot for the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 11, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manchester United made a winning start to the 2019/20 Premier League season by beating Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.  

Goals from Anthony Martial and Daniel James, along with a brace from Marcus Rashford, proved enough to help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer begin his first full season in charge in style and also inflict the first defeat of Frank Lampard's reign as Chelsea boss.

Things unravelled for Lampard's men as early as the 18th minute when Kurt Zouma felled Rashford and gave away the penalty the latter calmly converted. Martial and Rashford added to the tally in two second-half minutes, and there was still time for James to come off the bench and score his first United goal.

NBC Sports Soccer @NBCSportsSoccer

RASHFORD 🔥 Catch the rest of the match now on NBCSN or stream here: https://t.co/xhQ2aTI0NC https://t.co/fyFOlsO8Op

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

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There was nothing wrong with the way Aaron Wan-Bissaka acquitted himself during the first half. United's £45 million import snapped into tackles, recovered his bearings quickly whenever Chelsea broke and looked comfortable on the ball.

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Aaron Wan-Bissaka won 100% of his tackles in the first thirty minutes vs. Chelsea. Of course he did. 🕷🕷🕷 https://t.co/2NO7MSiOYX

Meanwhile, Harry Maguire was looking more than at home on the Old Trafford turf. His passing was on point, while the world's most expensive defender also wasn't afraid to get aggressive with 21-year-old centre forward Tammy Abraham.

The new boys at the back were playing well, but the Red Devils still rode their luck against an enterprising Chelsea side that produced the more eye-catching football. Abraham struck the post after a slick move, while raiding left-back Emerson Palmieri clipped a shot off the bar after getting in behind once again.

Chelsea were exploiting space and finding openings with vision and creativity. Few players in the engine room summed up those qualities better than Jorginho and Ross Barkley.

Sachin Nakrani @SachinNakrani

I’ve just decided that I’m going to spend this season counting Jorginho’s passes by hand. See you lot in May.

Sachin Nakrani @SachinNakrani

The amount of space Ross Barkley is consistently finding himself in is ludicrous. A Untied midfielder has to go with him otherwise he’ll eventually do something - an assist or shot - that gets Chelsea back into this game

All of Chelsea's good work going forward was undone by a lapse in discipline defensively when Zouma needlessly clawed at Rashford until the striker went sprawling in the box. A spot-kick was the inevitable outcome, and the 21-year-old was never likely to waste the chance.

Chelsea ended the half stronger, forcing David De Gea into a few saves, but the woodwork and blunders at the back had been the visitors' biggest enemies.

Barkley had been involved, but it was the former Everton man who made way 12 minutes into the second half so U.S. international Christian Pulisic could make his Chelsea debut. Pulisic quickly drew a foul that prompted the referee to show Paul Pogba a yellow card.

United were on the back foot, but a rapid break produced the hosts' second on 64 minutes. It came when Andreas Pereira whipped in a delightful cross Martial met with a decisive touch.

The Red Devils then blew the game wide open moments later when Rashford collected a long ball over the top from Paul Pogba and finished superbly. Solskjaer's men were purring, while Lampard's team looked in shambles at the back:

Gary Lineker @GaryLineker

Stunning pass from @paulpogba, beautiful finish by @MarcusRashford and I suspect Solskjaer is no longer favourite to be the first Premier League manager to get the sack.

ODDSbible @ODDSbible

Just a reminder that as soon as Frank Lampard was announced as the Chelsea manager, he was automatically the favourite with the bookies to be the first Premier League boss to be sacked 👀 https://t.co/tweJ7X6dwa

Lampard's misery was compounded when Pogba found his radar again to play in James. The former Swansea City man's first touch was far from ideal, but he soon set himself and found the bottom corner.

NBC Sports Soccer @NBCSportsSoccer

WHAT IT MEANS TO DANIEL JAMES Catch the end of the match on NBCSN or stream: https://t.co/xhQ2aTI0NC https://t.co/Ydhw8DHhb4

United had made an emphatic statement about the quality of Solskjaer's squad at both ends of the pitch. Power at the back and pace up top is a combination sure to keep the Red Devils in the thick of the race to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League.

Chelsea, by contrast, appear inadequate defensively. Lampard has a lot of problems to fix with the discipline of his back four and the balance in midfield. The hard work starts now.

         

What's Next?

UEFA Europa League holders Chelsea face last season's UEFA Champions League winners, Liverpool, in the UEFA Super Cup at Vodafone Park in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, United continue league duty away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 19.

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