For Once Man Utd May Not Be Everyone’s Favourites For The Title
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As the Premiership season moves ever closer, pundits, armchair fans and football purists make their case for their club.
Will Man Utd once again lift the Premiership crown? Can big spending Man City finally mount a serious challenge to the title? Can Kenny Daglish inspire Liverpool to glory? We begin with a look at Manchester United and their title chances, along with some key early fixtures.
There is no doubt that Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd just about deserved the title last year, and once again they will be the team to beat, however there are some signs that this is a side in transition. The defeat to Barcelona in last season’s Champions League Final will put no doubt in Alex Ferguson’s mind that his side still require plenty of quality and investment to be able to compete at the highest levels in Europe. Key players and inspirational members of the side Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Edwin Van Der Sar have all retired.
There is no doubt that this summer has been one of the busiest in the transfer market at Old Trafford, and it is clear that Alex Ferguson has definite rebuilding and restructuring of his side to address.
The deadwood has been shifted, with Jon O’Shea and Wes Brown shipped off to Sunderland, while Ferguson has spent wisely, bringing in Spain Under-21 and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea and bolstering his defence with the arrival of 19-year-old defender Phil Jones from Blackburn. While Jones and de Gea will be rough diamonds awaiting the Ferguson polish, experienced England interntional wingman Ashley Young has been brought in on a five year deal from Aston Villa.
Together with Nani in midfield they look the perfect foil for Wayne Rooney, and we have already seen exciting glimpses of what we can expect during Man Utd’s tour of the US. Javier Hernandez was a revelation last season, firing in 20 goals in 45 games, while of course the forgotton man Dimitar Berbatov is waiting in the wings, the Bulgarian once again firing in over 20 goals.
Of course, the famous Manchester United youth academy is still churning out a group of talented youngsters, in particular 21 year old midfielder Tom Cleverley, who is sure to break into the Utd starting XI this year after impressing during his loan spell at Wigan. Much is expected of Chris Smalling (21) who joined the club from Fulham last year and Jonny Evans. Both featured in the title winning side and Alex Ferguson can also count on the scoring ability of 20 year old Danny Welbeck, who fired six goals during his loan spell with Sunderland last season.
Defensively, however, Utd could struggle. Rio Ferdinand has lost a yard of pace, and seems to be perpetually struggling with injury, managing only 19 League appearances last term. A rock at the back has also been removed with the retirement of Edwin Van Der Sar, and with two young keepers in Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea competing for the number one spot the Red Devils may not have an aura of invincibility at the back.
This Sunday should give us a good indication of how capable the new look Man Utd side are, when they face rivals Man City, who themselves have been busy in the transfer market once again. The game is the traditional season curtain raiser and will be screened live on Sky Sports 1HD.
United have a tough start to the new season so the new signings will have to hit the ground running. United fans have the pleasure of being able to watch the first three fixtures live on Sky Sports HD, so no need to look for some dodgy online streams! Unless you don’t have Sky Sports, or access to a local pub!
They kick off the new Premier League season at the Hawthornes against WBA on Sunday 14th August at 4pm, WBA were the only side to take points off United at Old Trafford last season, but Fergie will be confident his men can get the season off to a positive start and claim all 3 points.
The next two fixtures see North Londoners Tottenham and Arsenal travel to Old Trafford and these games will be a real marker for the season. Nothing can build confidence quite like getting one over a rival early on, so Man Utd have the opportunity to do just that at Old Trafford. But with the uncertainty at the back, things might not be as simple as some of the Old Trafford faithful would like.
Utd are 9/5 to lift the Premiership crown and even though they will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, for once Alex Ferguson’s men may not be everyone’s favorites for the title.
Don’t forget, to fully enjoy the new season get yourself a Sky Sports HD package, sit back and enjoy the action!
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