With the players’ holidays coming to an end, the Manchester United team will be returning for pre-season training soon and I’m already finding myself getting increasingly excited for the new season to start. There are five big reasons I can’t wait for the kick off:
1. Ashley Young
I’ve thought the winger belongs at United ever since he started to flash potential when Watford came to the Premier League, now he’s here this signing could be a big impact on the team. Many see Young as a similar mould as Nani and Valencia with his pace and skill. However Young’s direct finish product in his crossing ability will be the best in the United team, something I can’t help but sometimes feel Nani lacks. Also being a set piece expert, Young should give United the opportunity to be threatening from free-kicks and corners again.
2. The Manchester Derby
With City’s team strengthening by the transfer window the Manchester Derby’s are growing more and more competitive and this is represented in the football betting. That’s why I have never loved Wayne Rooney more and been more relived when his goal of the season, acrobatic kick flew into the noisy neighbour’s net. It’s not only just the derby matches themselves now, the rivalry has grown to a scale on which City are poised to compete for the Premier League title. If this is the case next season then any points taken from derbies will be even more vital. An even more exciting prospect would be if the two meet in the Champion’s League knockout stages, in which case let’s just hope United can bring City’s fast progression to a halt.
3. Michael Owen
I almost feel like I shouldn’t be writing this and realise it is the most bizarre aspect of United to be excited about and I would not be surprised if I am on my own with this. Plagued with injury since his return to the Premier League and only netting 14 goals since his arrival, two years ago, at United does not make Owen much to shout about. Despite this I can’t help but get excited when I see him on the pitch in United colours. He is a natural finisher, proven through a fantastic career, and at 31 is not over the hill. If Owen can overcome fitness issues he can still grab the goals to change a match. If rumours of Berbatov’s departure materialise I don’t think Ferguson will bring in a replacement yet but may instead trial Welbeck and Macheda. In this instance Owen may receive more playing time and may finally become a reckoning force in the United attack, something I think he is still capable of.
I’ve sung Javier Hernandez’s praises until my throat is sore this last season, and that’s the least he’s deserved. The striker enjoyed an emphatic start to his United career netting twenty goals in his first season without being an every game first team starter. Towards the end of the season Hernandez overtook Berbatov as first choice for Rooney’s strike partner, and so surely will keep this role next season. The difficult second season syndrome is a rotten concept in football and is something which looms ahead of the new United favourite. The reason Chicharito is an exciting prospect for me next season is because he has shown he is a natural striker and continued to improve throughout the season. Therefore I think he can overcome second season syndrome to pass last season’s goal tally and continue to develop into a world class player.
5. The defence of a title
Finally what better reason to look forward to a new season than your team having one of the most prestigious titles in the footballing world to defend, the Premier League champions. Next season’s title race promises to be an exciting with presumably Chelsea, as always, contending United for the league and this time round possibly even City and maybe Liverpool pushing for the top. However so far United seem to have strengthened their team the most and so we will have to wait and see how their rivals respond. Fans will also be looking for another run at the Champions League and so does another tussle with Barcelona await?
Read more of Tom Daniel’s articles at Red Flag Flying High