Arguably, the English Premier league is the world’s famous league and the most watched compared to the other European leagues like the Spanish La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Seria A. But in terms of honours (European Champions cups) English clubs fall short of the Spanish and the Italian league.
Tomorrow 16th August 2014, the premier league will kick off exciting many football fans. To kick off the campaign is my own team, Manchester United squaring it of at midday with Swansea.
Manchester United’s start to the campaign last season was without their famous legend manager Sir Alex Ferguson who had resigned after winning his twentieth league title as manager of the club. That was the first time in more than 23 years that the club was without the iconic figure of Sir Alex.
In his stead was his chosen choice, Scot David Moyes. A lot was expected of him at the post but he will only last 10 months in the United hot seat. He was sacked for poor performance that had seen United slumped to the club’s worst finish in 24 years, ending the season in 7th place, with their lowest points total in Premier League history, and failing to qualify for Europe for the first time in almost two decades.
That was not the United we knew. A first-team coach to Moyes at United, Phil Neville described David Moyes traumatic reign as Manchester United manager as an ‘absolute disaster’.
Ryan Giggs was appointed on an interim basis after Moyes sacking until a substantive manager was appointed and that appointment was Louis Van Gaal, then the coach preparing the Netherlands for the world cup in Brazil.
The news of Louis Van Gaal’s appointment was a welcoming news for all United fans. A man with a proven record had been appointed. Van Gaal had had league successes at Germany (Bayern Munich), Spain (Barcelona) and his native Holland (with Ajax and AZ Alkmaar). He has won the Champions league too. Every United fan watched with keen interest the new manager’s performance at the world cup. I was for the first time going to watch this coach more closely than I used to. I had nothing but full confidence for him especially after he master minded the thrashing of the world and European champions Spain. He made game-changing substitutions and tactical tinkerings, not least in a quarter-final match against Costa Rica when he changed goalkeepers seconds before a penalty shootout. The incoming keeper, Tim Krul, saved two spot kicks and the Dutch advanced. Same was his substitution against the Mexicans when his team was a goal down to win by two goals to one.
Many thought he will take a break after the world cup but the manager drove straight into his new job with US tour to have a first hand assessment of his players. The pre-season offered us the opportunity to see our new manager at work and I have been more convinced following every situation in the United camp than a year ago under Moyes.
Van Gaal appointed club legend Ryan Giggs as his assistant and brought in a strong backroom staff of Frans Hoek – Goalkeeping coach and Marcel Bout – Assistant coach.
Since arriving, the Dutch has made changes to the team’s training ground calling for new surface to be changed and replaced with a similar one at the Old Trafford and trees planted to prevent windy conditions and has installed £500,000-worth of camera equipment at the club’s Carrington training ground
At the tour of the United State, he ordered his players to speak English to each other and rectangular tables were replaced with circular ones at meal times to encourage conversation.
Famous of his changes is moving away from the traditional united formation of 4-2-3-1 which was used by Sir Alex Ferguson to a 3-5-2 one. He is stamping his own authority on the team to adapt to this formation and he tried it during all United pre-season matches. And it has so far worked for United.
United kicked their pre-season campaign with a seven nil thrashing of LA Galaxy, beating AS Roma 3-2 then drawing goalless with Inter Milan before beating them 5-3 on penalties and so edged out European Champions Real Madrid 3-1. Van Gaal will claim his first silverware at United by beating rivals Liverpool 3-1 in the finals of the International Champions Cup. United rounded up the pre-season with the Reunited home game against Valencia beating the Spanish team 2-1. A perfect spirit to the new season and restore the hope of the many United supporters to the expectation ahead of the biggest club in world football.
Now the new season is almost with us. All other teams have sharpen their axes for the title and United will seek to make a strong case to regain the title they lost last year. League champions, Manchester City are considered hot favourite to retain the tile again with the squad strong and intact. They have made some good buying in the pre-season bringing in bringing in five new faces at a cost of £52m including Chelsea legend Frank Lampard. Chelsea have made more significant signings after letting go club legend Frank Lampard and bringing in another club legend Didier Drogba, former Arsenal captain. Cesc Fabregas, last season’s sensation Diego Costa and Filipe Luis. The club spent £85m to bring in these five new players.
Liverpool came close to winning the title last year thanks to the form of strike Luis Suarez. The striker has been sold to Barcelona and Liverpool has filled his void with the signings of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren all leave for Anfield in the close season. But can Liverpool challenge United to the title is what is yet to be seen.
After winning the FA cup last season and beating champions City by 3-0 in the Community Shield, Arsenal can claim strong competitor to win this year’s league. They have boasted their squad with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona.
United are yet to make a signing since Van Gaal took charge though he sanctioned United two buying so far Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. No one can sideline United title ambition considering the man in charge of affairs. We are in not only to qualify for europe but to win the league.