A decade ago this was the biggest game in English football.
Manchester United and Chelsea may be championship outsiders for the 2019/20 Premier League, but there’s no shortage of intrigue when they meet for the final game of matchday one.
Both clubs are in a transitional phase, United are still finding their feet six years after legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down, whilst Chelsea – under a Fifa-sanctioned transfer ban – start a third consecutive season with a different manager at the helm.
That being said, we should be in for a good show at Old Trafford, a new season, after all, means a new opportunity to do things better.
Read on for Man Utd vs Chelsea live stream options, team news, stats and TV channel info.
When is Man Utd v Chelsea?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Sunday, August 11
Kick-off: 4:30 PM BST
Where can I watch live?
UK residents can watch Manchester United’s game against Chelsea on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, channels 401 and 402 respectively on Sky, and channels 501 and 502 respectively for Virgin Media users.
Chelsea’s last trip up north to face United saw them rescue a point from the jaws of defeat. Juan Mata, against his former club, gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men an 11th-minute lead but that was cancelled two minutes before the half-time interval by Marcos Alonso.
You have to go back to May 2013 for the Blues’ last win at Old Trafford; back then as the game was heading towards a goalless finish, Phil Jones inadvertently – with three minutes remaining – put the ball into his own net.
Man Utd wins: 78 Draws: 51 Chelsea wins: 54
Solskjaer begins his first campaign as Red Devils boss, the Norwegian coach initially succeeded Jose Mourinho last December on an interim basis, however, a spectacular start to life at Old Trafford saw the powers that be subsequently convert his part-time status into a full-time gig. He’ll be hoping for a return to winning ways as United failed to win any of their final five league games of last season (two draws and three defeats).
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There will also be a relatively new face in the opposition dugout. Sunday marks Frank Lampard’s official debut as Chelsea manager having succeeded the much-maligned Maurizio Sarri this summer. The club icon, and Blues record goalscorer inherited a team unable to be strengthened in the transfer window, but they did make one key signing beforehand and Lampard is determined to make use of their illustrious academy.
How many new boys will start?
As mentioned, Chelsea did make one big acquisition before Fifa slapped a two-window ban on them for breaking youth transfer rules. That purchase was bringing Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund; though struck in January the American forward would remain in Germany for the remainder of last season. To say he’s been making up for lost time is an understatement. Pulisic looked menacing throughout pre-season and is expected to fill that Eden Hazard size hole in Chelsea’s frontline.
He’s not the only new boy looking to start on Sunday with Man Utd expected to comprise of three debutants in defenders Aaron Wan-Bissaka (whose job will be to take care of Pulisic) and Harry Maguire plus winder Daniel James. The addition of Wan-Bissaka and Maguire should go a long way to helping the Red Devils improve their defensive game as they were very leaking in 2018/19. Solskjaer’s team in their final six games shipped 11 goals, including four without reply at Everton.
Who does this game matter the most to?
To say the pressure is on Solskjaer is an understatement. He couldn’t have enjoyed a better honeymoon period. Under him, the Red Devils would secure 10 wins from his opening 11 matches in all competitions. But the wheels came off in March, a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal began a run of eight defeats from 12 outings. In fact, Utd have won just one of their last nine matches. This coupled with an eventual transfer window has placed the spotlight firmly on the former baby-faced assassin; football, first and foremost, is a results business. He knows anything less than a positive start will only heighten the murmuring in the crowd.
Club legends aren’t immune from getting the chop. Lampard must be looking at Solskjaer’s current predicament knowing full well it could happen to him. Unlike the expectations at Old Trafford, many won’t be quick to judge the ex-England international as his hands have basically been tied since returning home. But it would be crazy to imagine Lampard getting a free hit this season especially if the worst-case scenario occurred. Chelsea and Utd, despite their problems, are expected to battle for a top-four place. There can be no excuses if they are not.
Man Utd go into their opening Premier League fixture of 2019/20 with Eric Bailly in the physio room whilst Alexis Sanchez is a doubt. Solskjaer is expected to give Wan-Bissaka and Maguire their debuts, the latter partnering Victor Lindelöf in the heart of defence. Anthony Martial is tipped to lead the line with James and Marcus Rashford flanking him.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are definitely missing for Chelsea this weekend. N’Golo Kante is fit, but Lampard will decide last minute whether to select him. Willian and Antonio Rudiger could sit this game out. David Luiz’s departure to Arsenal means Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen start in central defence with Tammy Abraham likely to start up front.
This should be a cagey affair given how there’s little to separate both teams. Utd’s home advantage could be the deciding factor, but it depends how well their new look back four gels. Wan-Bissaka v Pulisic will no doubt be the duel to savour and potentially where the game is won or lost. But we are sensing a third consecutive Premier League stalemate between the sides. Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea