The final match of a Premier League gameweek is often the biggest one, and for the season’s opening slate of game, that’s likely no different.
Two sides constantly surrounded by intriguing storylines and drama from the off-season will square off in Manchester, as United do battle with Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
The Blues had a rough off-season following their transfer ban. Without being allowed to purchase any players, Chelsea had to recall many of their younger talents who were out on loan to other clubs. As a result, Chelsea likely isn’t as deep as they’ve been in recent seasons. This is also true when you consider they lost their engine on offense in Eden Hazard. The prolific Belgian carried Chelsea for years, and it remains to be seen how the offense will fare with his departure.
For United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is back at the helm on a permanent managerial contract. Though the Reds had a late season dip in 2018, they believe they’ll be even better in 2019 and will land one of the coveted Champions League spots. They waited until the end of the window, but they finally solidified their defense by bringing in big Harry Maguire from Leicester City to anchor their back-line. Along with Victor Lindelof, United have a nice foundation to build around and despite the drama – things are finally turning in the right direction for United.
This should be a great matchup, as it always seems to be when these two sides face off. Regardless of outcome, you can bet both fan bases will be wildly overreacting to whatever occurs. There’s also money to be made to end your betting week on a high note, so read on below the odds and take a look at our tactical preview and wager for Chelsea vs. Manchester United.
Manchester United vs. Chelsea Betting Odds:
Manchester United (+121)
Over 2.5 (-104)
Under 2.5 (-116)
Manchester United vs. Chelsea Pick:
Of all the Premier League clubs I’m looking forward to seeing at the start of the campaign, Man United has to be at the top of the list. They’ve finally embraced an exciting youth movement at the club, and should be able to put together an exciting brand of football going forward.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka will solidify the right side of defense at just 21 years of age, while Daniel James will be pouncing all over Chelsea’s defense on Sunday from the striker position. The former Swansea man is also just 21 years old. There was also a big emphasis placed on solidifying their back-line, and after Eric Bailly went down with a knee injury in training camp, bringing in Harry Maguire was an absolute must. Even if you do feel Man United overpaid, Maguire is a rock-solid defender who will play immediate dividends, including this week.
For all of Man United’s changes and strength at the back, expect Chelsea to be unsure and timid going forward. Without Hazard, there’s no clue who can or will fill the offensive void and score goals for this team. Especially in Week 1 with Callum Hudson-Odoi out and Willian not yet at 100% percent fitness. Olivier Giroud will likely lead the line, but don’t expect his plodding approach to really test this new Man United defensive structure. Chelsea should do well in the midfield though, where Jorginho, Mason Mount, and N’Golo Kante will work tirelessly to win balls back.
Look for United to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation vs. Chelsea. They’ll employ a creative group of Anthony Martial, Danny James, and Jesse Lingard to play right behind the speedy Marcus Rashford – but that group also needs to ensure they can and will win balls from a pesky Chelsea midfield.
If United can at least win half of the midfield battle, and move the ball quickly up top to Rashford or out wide to their creative flanks, this could be a great start for the Reds. Man United seem the more prepared and settled of the two sides entering, and Chelsea’s back-line seems in flux at the moment with injuries to Antonio Rudiger and the recent departure of veteran David Luiz. For once, expect a positive, drama-free start for United in this contest.