What former Chelsea players did to Manchester United’s defence as Paul Scholes proven wrong

As Chelsea brushed Malmo aside at Stamford Bridge, in the north west Manchester United were struggling to edge past Atalanta at Old Trafford.

Eventually a Cristiano Ronaldo header rescued Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, clinching three points after being 2-0 down at half-time following a dreadful early display.

Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire got the other two goals but despite the spirited comeback it is a performance that should leave the club and their fans worried about where they are going.

The combination for the opening goal at Old Trafford will have caught the eye of many back in London, however.

As Atalanta broke down the right hand side, Davide Zappacosta made a darting run beyond the unaware Victor Lindelof.

Receiving the ball, the Italian fizzed a wicked ball across the six-yard box where Mario Pasalic was waiting to fire home the opening goal of the game.

Both players are former Chelsea men. Zappacosta spent four years with the club between 2017 and 2021, making 52 appearances. Pasalic had an even less successful time, however.

In six years as a Chelsea player, the Croatian did not make a single first-team appearance and was sent out on loan five times.

But many a Blues fan will have been delighted to see him grab a goal against United on Wednesday night, not least to help hammer home a point to Paul Scholes.

During TheOverlap’s fan-event, Scholes got into a debate with Chelsea fan Lewis Gebreselassie from Chelsea Fan TV, stating that he felt the Londoners had the worst defence out of United, Chelsea, Liverpool and City.

Paul Scholes doesn't believe Chelsea will challenge Man City and Liverpool for this season's Premier League title
Paul Scholes doesn’t believe Chelsea will challenge Man City and Liverpool for this season’s Premier League title

“I’m just not sure that you’ll score enough goals and that you’re defensively good enough,” he said, ruling Chelsea out of the title race.

“I think [Antonio] Rudiger’s been really good but, other than that, you’ve got Thiago Silva who’s 36 or 37, Andreas Christensen’s a young player… I think in the middle of the pitch you’re alright. Jorginho and [N’Golo] Kante are really good players.

“I’m just not sure that you’ll score enough goals and that you’re defensively good enough.”

“Well, Liverpool have got the best centre-backs, [Manchester] City have got two great ones, I think United have got two really good ones,” Scholes added.

“I think Chelsea are probably the weakest out of the top four defensively.”

It was a comment ridiculed by much of the footballing community at the time given how many cleansheets the Blues have kept since Thomas Tuchel arrived at the club.

So supporters will have been thankful to see their ex-players help hammer home their point in a match Scholes himself was working on for BT Sport.

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