United begin the season away against the same opposition they finished the last at home, Swansea City. The biggest difference between this game and the last? This one is in Swansea? David Moyes is now manager? Wayne Rooney might even make the bench? No, according to some naysayers, United are about to embark on a race for fourth. Fourth! I’ve even seen some ‘pundits’ claim United could finish outside the top four! Now I’ve addressed the most farcical claim of any summer since agents #ITK claimed Sneijder was Old Trafford bound I think I’ll focus on the match preview.
With no new major signing United are expected to line up in a very familiar fashion. From preseason I think we would be justified in expecting Moyes to field a 4-2-3-1 formation. The centre back positions are going to be increasingly interesting to predict this season as many, Rio Ferdinand included, are expecting Evans, Jones and Smalling to push on for starting spots. Tomorrow, however, I am fully expecting Moyes to utilise the experience of Ferdinand and Vidic. Rafael serves the last of his three match ban which means Jones or Smalling will probably fill in at right back.
If Moyes does, indeed, line up with two holding midfielders we could see Cleverley and Giggs/Anderson line up in the middle as Carrick still winks his way through an eye infection. In front of them is where we could Moyes make his earliest and boldest statement. He could afford Zaha a league debut on one wing with Welbeck on the other, both aiming to supply Van Persie with plenty of ammunition. It’s who plays behind the Dutch master is where the statement may be made. Rooney has travelled with the squad and will hope to gain further match fitness but Kagawa, a player looking to make a bigger impact on the team this year, may well start in the ‘number ten’ position.
Provisional squad: De Gea, Lindegaard, Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Buttner, Fabio, Zaha, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Anderson, Giggs, Lingard, Januzaj, Welbeck, Rooney, Van Persie.
For the home side, de Guzman misses out but Pablo Hernandez and world beater, Jonjo Shelvey, are fit. Wilfried Bony will be expected to make his Premier League bow for the Swans
• United lost their opening Premier League match of last season – 1-0 away to Everton.
• Manchester United have taken 10 points from their four Premier League encounters against Swansea.
• Manchester United came from behind to claim 29 points in the Premier League last season.
- United to come from behind to win @7/1
- Van Persie to score first in 2-1 win @33/1
- Zaha to score in a United win @5/1
Follow me, if you’re at a loose end, @matthew_james7