English Premier League Season Preview: Manchester United

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Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United made a blistering start to the new campaign following a dominant opening day victory over West Ham at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils strengthened their squad over the summer with three key signings, two of which earned starts in the first Premier League game of 2017/18.

manchester united
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku is big on first impressions; the 24-year-old has now scored on debut for three of the four English clubs he’s played for – West Brom, Everton and Manchester United.

Romelu Lukaku terrorized The Hammers defence with a clinical brace on his Premier League debut with Manchester United, while Nemanja Matic could very well be one of the shrewdest signings of the season.

Despite being one of the three big signings this summer, Victor Lindelof didn’t earn a spot in the matchday squad against West Ham. Jose Mourinho has called for patience, drawing parallels with one of the greatest centre-backs he’s ever signed: Ricardo Carvalho.

“I think Real Madrid (UEFA Super Cup) was too early for him. He played because (Phil) Jones and (Eric) Bailly were both suspended,” said Mourinho.

“I’ve had players coming from different leagues to the Premier League and, normally, it’s not easy…I brought Ricardo Carvalho to Chelsea in 2004 and he was a phenomenal defender, one of the best central defenders in the Premier League, but he struggled. It was difficult for him to come in and adapt in the beginning.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and substitute Anthony Martial all impressed against West Ham, while it was a relatively comfortable outing for the backline – David De Gea only needed to make the one save.

Manchester United now travel to Wales to meet Swansea City, and with just Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw on the injury list, are heavy favourites with a close to full-strength squad.

Predicted XI vs. Swansea

manchester united
Hard to argue with keeping the starting XI exactly the same as last week, especially considering mid-week European fixtures are yet to come into the equation. Ander Herrera’s absence is a noteworthy one; the Spaniard was one of Manchester United’s finest midfield players last season, and incredibly versatile, but he’ll surely feature sooner rather than later with the addition of European and Cup fixtures.

Jose Mourinho rarely shies away from voicing his opinion on fixture lists, but one thing he can’t complain about is a difficult start to the season.

The Red Devils play none of the five teams that finished above them last season in August or September; their first high-profile encounter is against Liverpool at Anfield, but that doesn’t take place until mid-October.

If Manchester United are indeed title challengers this season, then they’ll need to take as much of an advantage as they can from a relatively straight-forward run of fixtures in the opening two months (even though the opening weekend’s results show that football is never quite so straight-forward…).

Manchester United’s August and September EPL Fixtures:

manchester united4-0 – vs. West Ham (H) – Sunday August 13, 2017

manchester unitedvs. Swansea City (A) – Saturday August 19, 2017

manchester unitedvs. Leicester City (H) – Saturday August 26, 2017

manchester unitedvs. Stoke City (A) – Saturday September 9, 2017

manchester unitedvs. Everton (H) – Sunday September 17, 2017

manchester unitedvs. Southampton (A) – Saturday September 23, 2017

manchester united vs. Crystal Palace (H) – Saturday September 30, 2017

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