A familiar face will oppose Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Old Trafford dugout on the first day of the season.
Chelsea have confirmed that Frank Lampard is their new manager.
United know well how powerful the new manager bounce can be. Solskjaer won nine of his first 10 games in charge.
After the season ended poorly, United need to get the upcoming campaign off to a flier.
The first home game against Chelsea will be televised and the pressure is on.
With an away tie against Wolves in our second match, it’s essential we head there with confidence and three points in the bag.
Facing Lampard’s Chelsea won’t be easy. The Blues have a good record of frustrating us at Old Trafford, and predicting how they will play will also be a challenge for Solskjaer and his staff.
While Chelsea have lost Eden Hazard, they have a number of talented young players and internationals who can pose us problems.
Losing the opener at home to Lampard’s Chelsea would be a sickener, and sap any positivity which is gained from pre-season.
Opening game aside, Solskjaer and Lampard will be compared throughout the season.
Last year Solskjaer got an easy ride from the press. He was the ‘new kid on the block’ in charge of the top six.
His mistakes were written off or glossed over, as products of the last regime.
Now he will have had a full transfer window to work with – Chelsea are banned by the way – and he will be held to more scrutiny.
A few weeks into the season, if Solskjaer’s United are struggling, and rookie boss Lampard has Chelsea flying high, the critics will start to sharpen.
Chelsea’s move for Lampard is similar to ours. They want a man in charge who knows the club, it’s values, and says he will trust in youth.
Their similarities are what will make their results comparable.
We aren’t trying to talk Solskjaer down, it’s just the nature of the media and the Premier League and the challenges he will face.
Lampard could end up making Solskjaer look bad if Chelsea outperform us. Solskjaer’s had more time, a transfer window, and is also more experienced.
Getting off to a fast start and beating the Blues in the opening weekend is essential.