Premier League 2019/20: Manchester United vs Chelsea - tactical analysis tactics

There was discontent this month as the transfer window closed. Fans took to Twitter to direct their anger towards Ed Woodward and the owners due to what they perceived to be unfinished summer business.

While the anti-Glazer green and gold movement has been implemented since Alex Ferguson was in charge, it is somewhat premature to see it re-emerging before the 2019-2020 campaign has even begun. For Manchester United fans, it’s certainly counterproductive to start with such negativity as Ole Solskjaer begins his full season in charge.

Slow and steady progress

On the contrary, they should be optimistic. After all, the signing of Harry Maguire saw the bookies close the gap between the Red Devils and Chelsea in the latest football predictions and the 4-0 win over the Blues in the opening game saw them surge ahead to fourth favourites at 28/1 to win the league.

For a team that has won the Premier League as many times as the Old Trafford-based club, battling for runners-up honours might be perceived as an under-achievement. But for a club that has gone through managers like they’re going out of fashion, and finished so poorly last year, fourth place presents itself as progress.

It’ll take time, patience is the key; sticking with a manager and allowing their vision to evolve is crucial. Fans may be discontent over United not signing a striker matching Romelu Lukaku’s skill set and knowledge, however, they appear to forget he was Marcus Rashford’s understudy by the end of last season.

Keeping their options open

Anthony Martial led the line against Chelsea, although Rashford had licence to drift into central areas from the left forward position. Between them, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has two options well-suited to his counter-attacking, high energy game plan, and they scored three of the four goals against Chelsea as they started the season in promising fashion. There are also other options to call upon for that role such as Alexis Sanchez and the emerging Mason Greenwood who had a good pre-season; Solskjaer is keen to see what he can do in the first team. Daniel James impressed on his debut as well as he grabbed a goal and was a constant nuisance down the wings.

But the issue of United not recruiting in vital positions is only half of the problem when taking into account the consequences of last summer’s transfer window as their recruitment lacked a clear sense of direction. The Red Devils failed to secure nearly enough goals but perhaps more troubling was the amount they conceded. They shipped more goals than Wolves, Leicester City, Everton and Newcastle during the season as well as everyone who finished above them.

Solskjaer’s recruitment focused on correcting key areas. United needed a strong, imposing centre-half – they’ve got one now in Harry Maguire – as well as a right-back, which has been fixed through the acquisition of Aaron Wan Bissaka. With some faith in the defence, perhaps the Norwegian boss’ tactics will enable the Red Devils to be more adventurous at the other side of the pitch. United were certainly clinical going forwards in their rout of Chelsea.

Of course, the team was linked with a number of players to add to their midfield depth over the summer while the squad is limited in the centre-forward’s position. However, Liverpool didn’t sign Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Allison and Roberto Firmino in a single transfer window – these players were introduced over a stretched period of time. United fans should have patience as well as optimism as this is just the start for Solskjaer and, with a much-needed technical director set to be implemented, a new United era.