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Manchester United Pumped up after Chelsea mauling but Solskjaer remains grounded Justifiably

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Here we go again, City winning for fun, Newcastle fans unhappy with Mike Ashley, Arsenal apparently finding a cure for their travel sickness and Manchester United putting down a marker for the season.

Yes, the excitable media tried desperately to manipulate fans with an array of cheap, speculative tosh, the type that had been missing since the transfer window closed.

They were particularly soppy about Manchester United, who beat a lightweight Chelsea with a flattering 4-0 scoreline but we all know and expect them to face tougher tests ahead. Anyone predicting the outcome of a club’s season based on one performance must be slightly dim and declarations by the press that Harry Maguire is the new Rio Ferdinand are nothing short of farcical.

The expensive central defender was in commanding form but wait until he’s up against marauding Manchester City or he faces the frontline of Liverpool before passing judgements or offering comparisons. Better still, wait until Maguire has achieved as much as the former United defender turned football pundit.

Frank Lampard’s assessment of his side was fairly accurate but you could sense an anxiety in his measured words. He claimed Chelsea were the better team, which for a large part of the match they were but with a young, inexperienced and untested side, the first setback can often start an implosion and that’s exactly what happened as United hit their stride. Chelsea had 70% + and had two clear chances to go in at least 2-1 to the good.

When United turned the screws in the second half, which is a very United thing to do, Chelsea just couldn’t deal with the gear change. The win doesn’t suggest that everything that was wrong with United has suddenly melted away, not after a notably poor transfer window.

They may live to regret not doing more and the rebuilding project at Old Trafford is far from complete, Solskjaer is just scratching the surface.

A section of the media saw the outcome of this game slightly differently but thank god Ole Gunnar Solskjær had a better grasp of what he’d witnessed, than the reporters who are almost suggesting a title challenge.

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Solskjær simply and modesty declared the performance to be ‘a works in progress’. This was mainly because the United rookie boss, knew that his side were desperately fortunate to have a 1-0 lead at half time.

He’s also astute enough to know that games can change against the run of play and that if Chelsea had just been a bit more precise and clinical, Lampard could have been sitting pretty after 45 minutes.

The second half was where it all went wrong for Chelsea, United hit the accelerator and found bursts of blistering speed which Lampard’s youngsters couldn’t handle.

These two sides, along with Arsenal are in transition with no guarantees on their ultimate destiny. It’s also a fact that either of the two mangers involved in this game could also be dismissed if they don’t remain in contention. Out of the two Lampard has the slightly tougher job but only because United were able to reinforce in the summer.

It’s a big ask of the former Chelsea legend who is demanding a flowing style, comprised of flair, effort and commitment and let’s not forget, he took the job just as Hazard departed.

Marcus Rashford delivered an outstanding performance for United by stealing the lead with his 18th minute penalty conversion. He then assisted Martial in the 65th minute to make it 2-0 for United before adding a second himself (67) and we had to remind ourselves why there were concerns over the departure of Romelu Lukaku.

Rashford always epitomised United’s style and with Martial, they could be the perfect foil for each other. United’s new boy Daniel James added the cherry with his 81st minute effort and Lampard’s misery was complete. Let’s see in another six games where these two old rival gladiators will be, it’s way to early to get carried away in either direction.

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The Highbury Flyer
Anti Kroenke , anti Gazidis but always a gooner. Still wishes he could watch from the stands at the Highbury library.

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