“Red wine helps” said Sir Alex Ferguson when reflecting on the Red Devils losing out on the Premier League title on goal difference last season. In many respects, last season was expected to be a transitional one for Manchester United, particularly after the departures and retirements of some experienced players. Defeat in such circumstances, as title number 20 looked to be in the bag, will probably never happen again – but failing and dropping points in such a manner, having been eight points clear was what made losing the title all the more galling for United fans.
As has become customary with Manchester United under Ferguson, it is the response that follows that is the most dangerous as Arsenal and Chelsea have found over the years having won Premier League titles, the Red Devils are always out for revenge. Last season was the club’s first trophyless season since 2004-05. Many critics out there seem to be writing United off for the season ahead, which is a dangerous thing to do, certainly as long at Ferguson reigns supreme at Old Trafford.
It was been a strange yet interesting summer at Manchester United, particularly in terms of off the field issues. Talk of IPO’s and MANU beginning floating on the New York Stock Exchange in order to raise funds, as murkier details of the Glazers ownership and how they intend to move forward. Even Ferguson struck a nerve with fans when in an interview he stated that “real fans” would see the Glazers are not damaging the club.
Just two summers signings have been made by United, both of which are very exciting signatures; 18-year-old Nick Powell from Crewe and Shinji Kagawa from Bundesliga side, Borussia Dortmund. There have been plenty of links for other players; Brazilian Lucas Moura who was linked with move to Old Trafford has decided to join PSG in January, 2013, United have already had two bids rejected for Arsenal striker, Robin Van Persie, yet remain in poll-position to sign the Dutchman before the window closes at the end of the month. Despite speculation, no move has been made for Everton left-back, Leighton Baines and despite Patrice Evra’s sharp decline in form; Fabio da Silva has been allowed to join QPR on loan. It also looks unlikely that United will sign a central-midfielder which they continue to cry out for.
Fergie doesn’t look to be near retirement just yet, but many would suspect that Manchester City are now presenting him with his final challenge. They will be under pressure to retain their title this season, while United will continue to do what they have always done but with so many genuine title contenders this season it could be very tight at the top of the Premier League come the end of the season.
Opening five fixtures: Everton (A), Fulham (H), Southampton (A), Wigan (H) and Liverpool (A).