Manchester United should prepare for a Chelsea side with revenge in mind
Manchester United’s season got off to a flying start on the opening weekend of the Premier League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side saw off Chelsea 4-0 to send Old Trafford into raptures the last time the teams met.
But as United travel to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night in the EFL Cup and plenty has changed at both clubs.
Solskjaer must be ready, resisting the temptation to over-rotate, in preparation to face a rampant side, spearheaded by Tammy Abraham.
Clinical finishing distorted August meeting
The thumping 4-0 scoreline created the illusion that Solskjaer’s United revolution was far further evolved than Frank Lampard’s at Chelsea.
Solskjaer has been in the hotseat for longer, was able to spend money on high-profile upgrades last summer and managed to keep Paul Pogba from Real Madrid’s clutches, while Eden Hazard left London for the Bernabeu.
A devastating second half spell, and nervous performances by Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen earned United a big win.
Lampard has been able to implement a far more impressive brand of football within a matter of months than Solskjaer has mustered in nearly a year.
Mason Mount, Fiyako Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James and Tammy Abraham look much better than Andreas Pereira, Tatith Chong, Angel Gomes and even Jesse Lingard in terms of academy graduates.
Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Brandon Williams are comparable to Chelsea’s crop, but overall, Lampard looks to have much the better developing talents.
Chelsea have won their last seven games and United will travel to a ground where they have an awful record to face a side who may have revenge on their mind.
Abraham won’t be as wasteful again
Talking of Abraham, he slammed an early chance against the post in that 4-0 thumping. Scoring it would have altered the course of the match.
At that stage, suspicions persisted that he was a Championship striker thrust too early into a Champions League team, without the physicality or ruthlessness to lead the line for Chelsea.
Now, the £50,000-a-week (Spotrac) striker has eight Premier League goals to his name already, only two less than Marcus Rashford’s career best top flight tally.
He is brimming with confidence and will not be as wasteful on Wednesday as he was at Old Trafford in August.
United should be preparing themselves to face a far more confident and compact Chelsea team, spearheaded by a red-hot striker looking to make amends for their opening day humiliation.
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