Manchester United v. Chelsea FC Sunday, August 11, 2019 Old Trafford, Manchester 11:30AM EST / NBCSN (US) The first match of the 19/20 season sets us up against Ole Gunnar's Manchester United, who finished 6th place in the League last year. Chelsea, finishing 3rd and winning the Europa League, moved on from head coach Sarri this summer, replacing him with club legend, Frank Lampard. Chelsea, under a transfer ban until summer 2020, have managed to stay busy during the close season, introducing January signing Christian Pulisic into the fold while making Mateo Kovacic's loan permanent. The club also inked long term deals with young hopefuls Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount. Will Callum Hudson-Odoi be next? Shuffled out of the mix were Gary Cahill, Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata, and Eden Hazard, who has found greener pastures (and pockets) at Real Madrid. Manchester United, seeking to strengthen their squad after a disappointing season at the hands of both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, have brought in Wan-Bissaka at right back and Harry Maguire in central defense along with the speedy, but untested winger Daniel James. Romelu Lukaku's future at the club is both confused and unresolved, as is Paul Pogba's. Both players would like a change of scenery, but how that gets done is another matter entirely. Injuries: (Chelsea) Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Antonio Rudiger, Reece James, and Marco Van Ginkel are all out. Kante and Willian are questionable. (United) Bailly, Fosu-Mensah are both out. Paul Pogba, Perreira, and Alexis Sanchez are all questionable. Recent head-to-head matches have not been kind for us. We last defeated United in May 2018 in the FA Cup final. This result was preceded by a 2-1 League loss in February 2018 and followed up by two draws and a loss across all competitions. Manchester's preseason has gone well, defeating all opponents by knocking in 12 goals to their 3. Chelsea suffered a humid defeat in Japan, but looked confident, if not inconsistent, in their other match-ups, winning three and drawing one. Prediction: United 3-1 Manchester have a deeper squad than Chelsea at the moment but the key will be for Ole to synthesize the team to maximize it's potential. It's hard to see where the goals might come from for our West London club. Frank Lampard's system is an all-inclusive one that may lead to a wider distribution of goal production post-Hazard, but question marks abound: Ross Barkley's consistency, Mount and Abraham's inexperience, neither Kovacic or Kante are tasked with scoring goals, Michy's unfulfilled potential, Willian's desire and age, CHO and RLC's health, Pedro's slow-drip drop in quality, Pulisic's familiarity with the league, etc. More alarming is the defense, where few changes were made this off-season. The loss of Rudiger and Kante would be a blow for any team's defense, so here's to hoping they can remain/stay healthy and come back into the squad very soon. In the meantime, David Luiz and Andreas Christensen will have to avoid (or limit) the seemingly avoidable mistakes we've seen from them over the years.