Premier League: Man Utd buoyant ahead of Chelsea clash

Frank Lampard's Chelsea is eighth in the Premier League standings, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United is 15th, having played a game less.

Chelsea not won in the league at Old Trafford for seven years and Frank Lampard's (in foreground) reign as manager began last season with a 4-0 hammering by United.   -  Getty Images

Manchester United will approach Saturday's home Premier League clash with Chelsea in buoyant mood rather than in trepidation after a week which has gone some way to banishing the gloom that was descending on Old Trafford.

After going into this month's international break with a 6-1 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, it hasemerged from it with a couple of victories that has kick-started its campaign.

Last weekend's 4-1 win at Newcastle United was followed by a 2-1 victory away to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and, for now at least, the critics have been silenced.

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Chelsea's visit, however, presents a test of United's upswing as it seeks its first home league points of the season following defeats by Crystal Palce and Spurs in which it has leaked a combined nine goals, scoring only two.

Chelsea has had its own issues, notably in defence, although a 0-0 home draw with Sevilla on Tuesday in which veteran defender Thiago Silva was magnificent hinted at a big improvement.

The Blues have not won in the league at Old Trafford for seven years and Frank Lampard's reign as manager began last season with a 4-0 hammering by United. They also lost 2-0 at home, although they did win the FA Cup semifinal between the two.

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Chelsea is eighth in the standings with United 15th, having played a game less, and while the table is still shaking out after an unpredictable start to the season, both clubs need to start showing the consistency required to be title contenders.

Liverpool hosts Sheffield United on Saturday and will be wary of the threat its former forward Rhian Brewster will pose, especially with the champion starting a Premier League game without Virgil van Dijk at the heart of defence for the first time in more than two seasons.

The Dutchman's absence, possibly for the whole season after his knee was damaged by a reckless tackle by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford last weekend, is a huge blow. However, Juergen Klopp's side showed it can defend without him in a 1-0 win at Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday.

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Action begins on Friday as surprise high-flyers Aston Villa, the only club in the top flight with a 100% record, hosts Leeds United whose early season form has dipped somewhat.

With four consecutive wins Villa has enjoyed its best start to a season for 90 years and can go top of the table with a point, but manager Dean Smith is not getting carried away.

“If you're off it at any stage in the league, you can get a bloody nose very quickly,” Smith warned.

Leader Everton goes to Southampton on Sunday when Arsenal hosts Leicester City. Injury-hit Manchester City travels to a buoyant West Ham United on Saturday

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