Match Coverage
Previews and reviews of Manchester United fixtures.
Spurs Preview: New season, fresh start

A new season can be seen as a fresh start. Despite finishing in the top four which is what we set out to do this time a year ago, you can still reflect on more negatives than positives from the 2014/15 campaign.

Manchester United are a more convincing unit than they were when Louis van Gaal initially took over. The squad is no longer top heavy like Kate Upton due to an array of options available in midfield. Instead of Anderson and Tom Cleverley we’re set to witness orgasmic combinations such as Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Going into the season last year we had an array of strikers to choose from which meant Javier Hernandez had no other choice but to go on loan and Danny Welbeck headed to Arsenal on deadline day.

Then our ‘savours’ in front of goal failed to deliver. Radamel Falcao had an underwhelming loan stint at the club and Robin van Persie did nothing but sulk on the sidelines.

However, things have improved defensively but not as much as fans had hoped.

Jonny Evans remains and we’ve not signed Mats Hummels, Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi or Sergio Ramos. Former Southampton left back Luke Shaw, who has went from squad number 2 to number 23, has a big season ahead of him and van Gaal will now play an actual full back at right back rather than Antonio Valencia. Bless you, Matteo Darmian.

Upcoming opponents Tottenham, home or away, are never easy. They’ve done well in the transfer window buying players they needed; not a squad load that won’t gel together in one season and will sit out the next being overlooked on the bench. Daniel Levy has been guilty in the past of signing shite yet he holds the award for smuggest chief executive of all time.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino has a habit of using ineffective substitutions and relying too much on breakthrough striker Harry Kane. Granted he can find a balance this season, Spurs will challenge Liverpool for a place in the top five.

Perhaps surprisingly, Hugo Lloris is still at White Heart Lane but for how long nobody knows. It currently looks like the French goalkeeper will be overlooked by United with Ajax’s Jasper Cillessen seen as de Gea’s preferred replacement.

Back to United, Bastian Schweinsteiger didn’t look fully fit on tour and missed the game against Barcelona through injury, so Schneiderlin and Carrick are in better shape to start the first Premier League fixture of the season. As we learned last season, van Gaal is not one to rush players back into the first team and the German will hopefully benefit from that long-term.

The manager said in his press conference on Friday that David de Gea would not start leaving people guess whether Sam Johnstone or Sergio Romero would make their debut. My guess would be the former given the fact he played most frequently on tour, therefore, carries more match fitness.

Also, the way in which van Gaal delivered the update on de Gea fills me with even less confidence behind the belief that he will remain at Old Trafford this season. Ed Woodward has done well keeping a hardline stance with the Spanish giants but it really is a pity that the situation has come to this.

Considering the money United have spent since the Dutchman’s arrival we should not be going into the first game of the season with a makeshift goalkeeper and Blind at centre back. There is just over 20 days remaining in the transfer window and defensive reinforcements are still needed – along with a goalkeeper with Dave’s exit looming.

The game is being television on BT Sport and it’s the early kick off to get the season started, so all eyes on us. No pressure, of course, just fucking do them one.

Kick-off: Saturday 12.45pm – BT Sport 1

Venue: Old Trafford

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Scoreline prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Line-up prediction (4-3-3): Sam Johnstone; Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw; Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young; Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Memphis Depay.

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