With pre season now out of the way, the domestic campaign kicks off in less than a week. Arsenal have already lifted the first piece of silverware, beating Chelsea 4-1 on penalties, in the Community shield at Wembley.
Manchester United host West Ham United at Old Trafford, Sunday 13th August. Before that though, there is a little matter of the Super Cup. Champions League winners, Real Madrid face United, who themselves had claimed the Europa League back in May. This fixture is being played in Skopje, Macedonia. A chance for Jose Mourinho to add to his already impressive record of trophies and the three that he won last season. United have competed in the Super cup on three occasions, winning once and losing at the last two attempts. Mourinho, and United, will be hoping for some better luck, when facing Ronaldo and the rest of Zinedine Zidane’s star studded squad.
Prediction – Runners Up
Premier League, Holders – Chelsea
United really must kick on this season after finishing in a not very satisfactory, sixth place. Too many draws undermined what good work the team had done, specially on the 26 game unbeaten run, which coincidentally consisted of only half the games being won. Zlatan Ibrahimovic for all his goals ( 26 ), missed an absolute shed load of chances too. Jose has spent big on Romelu Lukaku, a player in which fits the role of a Jose Mourinho team, Think Didier Drogba, Diego Costa. Nemanja Matic has been brought in to add defensive steel to the midfield, enabling both Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba, to be more influential in the opponents half. The bare minimum for this season has to be challenging for the title. Chelsea were 24 points better off than United last season, Mourinho cant allow that to happen again.
Prediction – Runners Up
FA Cup, Holders – Arsenal
The FA cup is a tough one to call this season. Depending on the draws, luck with decisions, it really is anyones to win. A lot of mid table Premier League sides, Bournemouth, Swansea, West Ham and such, all seem to play weakened teams now in the early rounds, to concentrate on league survival. The money in the Premier League dictates this which is unfortunate. Any of the top six to eight could all go on to lift the cup. United felt hard done by last season when Ander Herrera was sent off in the 1-0 defeat away at Chelsea. A good run in the cup is by no means a given. Jose will look to conquer on all fronts.
Prediction – Winners
League Cup, Holders – Manchester United
Jose Mourinho loves the League Cup, winning it on four occasions. Although United fielded some of their squad players in the earlier rounds, Mourinho changed to his first team when the going got tough at the business end of the cup. With added pressure this season from the Champions League, it would be no surprise if the boss decided to give some of his up and coming players, McTominay, Gomes and Mitchell, a run in the side.
Prediction – Sixth round
Champions League, Holders – Real Madrid
United entered the Champions League via the back door. Winning the Europa League enabled Mourinho’s men to go straight into the group stage. United have flirted with the Champions League in recent seasons with qualification only being achieved twice in four years. The previous attempt under the guidance of Louis Van Gaal was somewhat of a damp squid. United failed to reach the knock out stages and tumbled into the Europa League, only to go out at the hands of Liverpool, in the last 16. Advancement from the group will be the very least in which the manager will tolerate from his players.
Prediction – Last sixteen
With United fighting on four fronts again this season, its clear to see that the squad will be stretched to its limits. There are still three weeks left before both the transfer window and Ed Woodward’s cheque book slam shut. All eyes on this week, a very entertaining start to the season. Come on you reds!