Manchester United Premier League Preview
Players In: Robin Van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell, Sean Goss
Players Out: Park Ji-Sung, Paul Pogba, Tomasz Kuszczak, Matthew James, Oliver Norwood, Ritchie De Laet
Sir Alex has finally taken the plunge and bought a midfielder although perhaps not the midfielder everyone was expecting. Kagawa has looked bright in pre-season and was part of a wonderful Dortmund team that passed the ball about electrically in the final third. His ability to beat a man could be crucial to what is at times a slightly pedestrian United team.
Even in a season when United failed to live up to their billing as champions elect and played some turgid football they still only lost out on goal difference to the last goal of the season to a club that has spent £500m in four seasons. The unbendable will or Ferguson means United will always be competing for the title and this year is likely to be no exception.
The capture of Van Persie is a signal of intent from Ferguson. Only with Berbatov has he paid that sort of money for a player over 25. Does this hint at some short termism from Sir Alex? Will he be leaving when Van Persie is passed his prime? These questions are immaterial for this season and if glass ankles can stay fit his goals should be enough. With City resting on their laurels (as it stands) then the creative hub that is Kagawa and the finishing of Van Persie could prove to be the difference. If Cleverly can return to the levels he showed at the start of the season United’s midfield will be a lot more mobile this season.
Vidic returns to the defence and will be bring an enormous amount of confidence to that unit. With the youngsters another year on in their development competition for places will be intense and Ferguson will have some tough decisions to made to keep them all happy.
First game analysis:
Goodison Park is never an easy start to the season and Sir Alex Ferguson knew he was was clutching at straws when he blamed the crowd for influencing the referee and not awarding a penalty for a Danny Welbeck tumble. Manchester United can have no complaints about the 1-0 scoreline, they never got going, with Wayne Rooney off the pace for 90 minutes and Robin Van Persie’s only contribution was to take two penalties. Shinji Kagawa looks a steal at the rumoured £15 million, but including him, Rooney and RVP will take some tactical system or impressive man management skills.
Vidic’s timely return and the signings of Van Persie and Kagawa should turn what was a frail United team last season into the favourites for this season. Ferguson’s drive and passion for the game still astounds and petrifies in equal measure and it is hard to see anyone, especially City beating him two years in a row. With the Premier League title tough to defend, United are our champions elect.