Frank Lampard endured a frustrating opening game in charge of Chelsea in a competitive fixture as his side were beaten 4-0 by a clinical Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
Despite controlling large periods of the first-half, United went into the break 1-0 up thanks to Marcus Rashford’s penalty, after the forward was fouled by Kurt Zouma inside the opening 20 minutes.
The Blues saw two efforts strike the woodwork prior to half-time, with Tammy Abraham’s early effort inside five minutes nearly giving Lampard the perfect start at Old Trafford.
Emerson also saw his close-range shot bounce away off the crossbar in what was an encouraging first 45 minutes under Lampard.
Defensive frailties came to the fore in the second-half, however, with Anthony Martial, Rashford and Daniel James all finishing quick counter-attacks as Chelsea pushed for a way back into the game.
Here are four things we learnt from the Blues’ opening game of the season.
Lack of midfield balance without N'Golo Kante
Though both Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic had relatively solid performances, the absence of Kante was clear for all to see.
United were able to waltz through the midfield with the lack of an out-and-out defensive minded midfielder in the form of Kante, and the game was already won by the time he was introduced from the bench.
The midfield will restore balance to Chelsea’s midfield when he is fully fit, and allow the more advanced players to play the free-flowing attacking football Lampard is looking for.
Zouma struggles at Old Trafford
The Frenchman looked incredibly nervous on his return to the Chelsea side, especially in the opening exchanges, and a loose pass early on played the Blues into trouble.
His clumsy challenge on Rashford changed the game completely and allowed the home side to take the lead following a bright start from Chelsea.
Positives to take despite the result
Despite the result, Lampard will certainly be able to take positives away from the Blues’ performance. Emerson had a strong performance down the left and arguably looked the biggest goal threat, with one of his efforts hitting the bar and a number of good efforts on target.
Mason Mount certainly did not look out of place despite such a big game, and Chelsea did look a threat going forwards.
Abraham in at the deep end
Abraham nearly capped his first appearance as Chelsea’s number nine with a fine goal, but his powerful early strike crashed against the post. Unfortunately for him, however, he had little to feed off after that, especially given Harry Maguire’s standout performance at the back for United.