After Manchester City snatched the title from their neighbours in, quite literally, the last minute of the Premier League campaign, Manchester United are ready to do it all again and try to claim their 20th league title.
The Reds travel to Goodison Park to open their account against Everton on Monday night. The last time these two met is being known as the match Man Utd threw the title away. After leading 4-2 at Old Trafford, Man Utd dropped points in a 4-4 draw after goals from Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar brought them back level.
United come into the game off the back of signing a massive coup. Manchester United completed the signing of former Arsenal captain, Robin van Persie. The Football Writers’ Association footballer of the year, PFA fans and players’ player of the year and the golden boot winner last season joined for £24m and has gone straight into the squad for the game against Everton.
Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to hand van Persie his debut alongside Wayne Rooney, a potential mouth watering partnership, what all United fans dying to see. SAF is also considering handing Japanese sensation Shinji Kagawa his Premier League debut whilst Captain Nemanja Vidic is back after a long term injury. Jonny Evans is likely to miss out but should be back next week whilst Phil Jones is out for a month whilst Chris Smalling is out for two months.
Everton have been relatively active in the transfer window as well with Steven Naismith and Steven Pienaar joining permanently. The Toffees are also close to signing Belgium international Kevin Miralles, who is set to undergo a medical over the weekend. However, Everton have sold the likes of Jack Rodwell and Tim Cahill.
Man Utd will have to be wary of Everton’s Nikica Jelavic. The Croatian joined in January having signed from Rangers on the final day of the January transfer window and has quickly settled in, scoring 11 goals in only 13 appearances, including two in 4-4 draw at Old Trafford.
“The Monday night start doesn’t bother me. That’s not a big factor. The fact it’s Everton away holds much more weight. It’s a tough fixture and we’ve not found it easy there in recent years, despite some good results.” - Sir Alex Ferguson
Predicted line ups:
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Fellaini, Gibson, Osman, Pienaar, Naismith, Jelavic.
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Cleverley, Kagawa, Nani, Rooney, van Persie.
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