After finishing runners up in the Premier league last season to rivals Manchester City, United will have more than a point to prove this season, after dominating the Premier League since its inauguration in 1992 nothing will have hurt more than losing out to their most bitter of rivals.
United had a relatively poor 2011-12 season by their own high standards, finishing without any major honours for the first time since 2006. Following a shock defeat at home to Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup quarter finals, the Red Devils succumbed to a 2-1 defeat by Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup and they also failed to reach the knock-out stage of the Champions League and again falling in the last sixteen of the Europa League.
After a promising start to last seasons Premier league campaign the Reds will be even more disappointed as they seemed to be set to retain their title with just a few games remaining, however they uncharacteristically capitulated with just a few games remaining and finally lost out in the title race on goal difference to their arch rivals.
After a relatively quiet pre-season in the transfer market Manchester United have already signed Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund for a transfer fee thought to be in the region of £12m and Nick Powell from Crewe in a reported £3m deal. United have now also completed the transfer of Arsenal captain Robin van Persie, who will now team up with Wayne Rooney to form one of the Premier Leagues most formidable forward partnerships.
United will have to cope with the absence of defender Chris Smalling who is likely to miss up to ten weeks of the season due to a broken metatarsal, however United will be boosted by captain Nemanja Vidic’s return from injury, and the news that Darren Fletcher has returned to training after a long absence with health problems.
Several players have left Old Trafford this summer, including Park Ji-sung who has joined Queens Park Rangers, Tomasz Kuszczak to Brighton on a free transfer, Paul Pogba to Juventus, Fabio Da Silva also to Queens Park Rangers on loan, and Michael Owen who has been released by the club after failing to claim a regular starting place in the team.
The key fixtures for this season will definitely be against Manchester City, who they face at the Etihad Stadium on in December and at Old Trafford at the beginning of April, an away game at Arsenal and a home game with Chelsea in their last four fixtures could define United’s season as they look to claim their twentieth league title.
By: Sarah Graham