Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clinched a second Stamford Bridge win of his relatively short Manchester United reign last night.
Marcus Rashford’s double sealed a 2-1 EFL Cup win to go with the 2-0 victory in last season’s FA Cup.
United have had an awful record at the home of Chelsea historically, even dating back to the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson.
So Solskjaer deserves immense credit for lifting the United hoodoo, and the supporters will hope that continues into the Premier League trip to west London in February 2020.
Just how bad was United’s Bridge record?
Since 2000, Ferguson only managed to oversee two top flight wins at Stamford Bridge, in 2002 and 2012.
There was a 1-0 Champions League success in 2011 and a comeback from 3-0 down in 2012 also, but United largely struggled there no matter who was in the opposing dugout.
With John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba in the side, Chelsea’s physical gameplan was often too much for United to handle.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho suffered arguably his most embarrassing United result on his old stomping ground in 2016, a humilating 4-0 reverse against the club he left in chaos under a year before.
Even though the personnel changed through the years, something of a mental block had formed when it came to getting a result on the blue half of west London.
What has Solskjaer changed?
Perhaps Solskjaer is a shade fortunate that he is running into Chelsea at a time when they are trying to move towards a more expansive style.
Both Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard wanted their sides to dominate the ball against United, leaving ample space in behind to counter into.
That suits Solskjaer’s preferred gameplan perfectly; it is when United are tasked with breaking down massed ranks that they struggle.
A home win and draw over Chelsea under Solskjaer indicate that he generally knows exactly how to deal with this new-look Blues style.
But he has also liberated the players to play without fear at a ground which posed so many nightmares for United squads far more illustrious and talented than the current one.
For that, Solskjaer deserves huge credit. He now needs to find similarly successful formulas against lesser sides.
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