Match Preview – Man Utd v Tottenham


The Barclay’s Premier League 2015/16 begins tomorrow and there is no better way to kick off other than Manchester United starting at Old Trafford against Tottenham.

After last season’s fourth place finish which saw Louis Van Gaal’s first season in charge of the Red Devil’s achieve his objective after a stuttering start to the season. It can be argued this summer, he has invested new recruits that will benefit the team in areas that were lacking in options. However, there has been a clear out as well which has seen players who have been at the club for more than three seasons being surplus to requirements into the philosophy the Dutchman wants to follow at Old Trafford.

The addition of Schneiderlin, who has experience in the Premier League with Southampton will be an added bonus to the team who looks like an ideal replacement for Carrick. The midfield lacked options and having him there will be like a new engine going from one end of the pitch to the other. It was a surprise World Cup winner Schweinsteiger made the move to Man United, although he has plenty of experience in the big competitions and he will be challenged to adapt to the league. The right back position was a concern last season where Valencia filled the position and it was not his strength and with Rafael sold, it is a chance for Darmian to make his name in this position. It will be exciting to see Memphis don the red shirt and he will be looking to rise above expectations and rumours have been floating around he wants to wear the iconic no7 shirt previously worn by Ronaldo, Best and Beckham. So no added pressure!

The opening fixture is always a chance to start the season on a high note by getting a victory and being at home has its advantage with the crowd roaring and chanting around the ground to serve motivation for players on the pitch. The opponents are Pochettino’s Spurs who finished last season fifth will be challenging once again for a top four finish amongst the six teams Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool. The impact and improvement of striker Harry Kane last season’s was their highlight as he contributed with vital goals and scoring in important games. If he delivers another season with 20 league goals, he will be on the radar of the big European clubs.

United will be without midfielder Fellaini who serves a suspension. Obviously, without the British transfer record Di Maria who has departed the club. So new recruits Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Darmian and Romero are expected to make their debuts for the club. It is likely Memphis will partner Rooney in attack. Van Gaal said De Gea’s head is not in the right frame of mind as there is speculation if he will join Real Madrid or not this summer transfer window.  Rojo returned to the club late and is lack of match fitness. Other than that, Van Gaal has a fully fit squad. Spurs have doubts over Soldado and Townsend. The club arrived in the UK late afternoon on Thursday from Munich with a friendly against AC Milan. So there will be selection issues for Pochettino to consider.

Blind looks to start at centre back and it could be either Smalling or Jones who partners in defence. Blind is not the speediest but is technical in his approach. They will need to be aware of Spurs second and third runners who can break from midfield to play in behind. Carrick will sit back and Schneiderlin can be used to be a box-to-box player. Everyone wants to see Rooney play as a striker and get the best out of him. He is certainly a player that can get 20 goals a season but in the previous season’s he has had to do a lot hard work for the team playing in various positions when required. Also, to see Memphis joining the attack with his pace and skills to unlock defences will be something United fans will want to see as Di Maria was that hope to bring the entertainment at Old Trafford.

It will be an entertaining game as this fixture has had many goals in recent history and it will be a great way to kick off the Premier League. United will be in a favourable position as they had a week to prepare with no fixtures in the last week and the tour was carefully planned out. Whereas Spurs have had to deal with friendlies and may not be best prepared.

Possible starting XI:

Man Utd; Romero, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw, Carrick, Schneiderlin, Mata, Memphis, Young, Rooney.

Spurs; Vorm, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Mason, Chadli, Bentaleb, Eriksen, Lamela, Kane.

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