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Premier League Preview: Manchester United

Aug 14, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

manchester united

Each day from now until the beginning of the Premier League season, we will preview two teams from England’s top flight. You can view them all here at PST Preview central. Don’t forget, the 2013-14 PL season begins on August 17th, and for the first-time ever you can watch every game live on NBC Sports.

Manchester United has never finished lower than third place in the English Premier League, and it has won the league 13 times in its 21 seasons. But this year could prove to be the Red Devils’ toughest test to date in that respect.

Despite returning nearly every player in a world-class squad — although Wayne Rooney’s situation still seems to be up in the air — the one change that makes this season tougher than any in recent memory is David Moyes taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson as manager.

Transfers In: D Guillermo Varela (Peñarol, Uruguay)

Transfers Out: M Paul Scholes (retired), F John Cofie (Barnsley, Championship), D Luke McCullough (Doncaster Rovers, Championship), D Sean McGinty (Sheffield United, League One), D Reece Brown (Watford, Championship)

source: Getty ImagesKey Player: Teams at the top that are decked out with more stars than many small galaxies need leadership. Nemanja Vidićs (pictured) role as captain of United just got bigger with Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure. Not only is he one of the best center backs in the world, he now has to lead a group of players through what will surely be a highly scrutinized campaign.

Vidić’s relationship with Moyes will set an example for the rest of the team to follow. If it’s a good one, the club should easily be comfortable with a new man in charge. A proven leader at every level he’s played so far, Vidić just became perhaps the most vital player on the team.

Manager: David Moyes has Premier League coaching experience, and he was personally tapped by Ferguson as the legendary Scotsman’s successor. However, managing players and egos at a team such as Everton, which is on a lower tier in the highest English league, is much different from doing the same at Manchester United.

Lesser men have cracked under that kind of pressure, but Moyes is an exceptional character. He’s been in the English game long enough to know how every facet of it works, and his new club is one of the few that pour unending resources into building a winning team — and it’s also shown patience in trying times.

Outlook: Teams with the talent and resources of Manchester United don’t fold or fail because of a managerial change. What the team might do, though, is have a little trouble against teams of equal status. Expect United to challenge for the trophy again but fall just short, still comfortably qualifying for the Champions League next season.

(MORE: Read all the Premier League previews for each team here)

  1. mafemani - Aug 14, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    The advantage is that Moyes showed he is planning to adopt the same system as Sir Alex, so this is more of a continuation. Thats why Sir Alex recommended him in the first place. If he can add a quality replacement for Scholes, United will challenge. I am not bordered by Sir Alex’s retirement, I am only concerned about our failure to add a quality midfielder. Rooney will stay and hopefully Moyes can find a way to play him with RVP, which given the approach against Wigan, I doubt its gonna work. Personally I would like to see the following Lineup:

    De Gea

    Rafael Vidic Ferdinand Evra

    Nani Carrick Modric/Cleverly Giggs/Zaha

    RVP Rooney

    If Rooney doesnt play, I would like to see Kagawa/Januzaj operating behind RVP who will stand as the main center forward. Simple. We will be unbeatable.

  2. macca1874 - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Prior to the arrival of the Premier League and Sky TV throwing money at Man Utd (the UK TV station planned to buy the club in the mid-1990’s) Man Utd were not even one of the top five most successful clubs of England.

    This is a club that has totally been built up with the help of the media and commercial sponsorship. In terms of history Man Utd were always a just below mid-ranking club (an original member of Division Two), until their fortunes changed when some of their players were killed in a tragic air accident in Munich in 1958. Man Utd had an exciting young team at the time and it was an awful shock for all concerned. A wave of public sympathy swept over the club and their crowds and profile rose in the latter half of the twentieth century as a result. Success was intermittent but the club became a media favourite in light of the events of 1958 and they soon built up an impressive armchair audience allowing them to attract bigger and bigger commercial deals in the 1980’s, 1990’s and beyond.

    Indeed, Sky TV saw a successful Man Utd as being crucial to the establishment of their fledgling TV station in 1993 which led to the channel actively promoting and building the Man Utd brand through TV output and programming. In many ways, they are the club that Rupert Murdoch built.

  3. dallasstars9 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Who care! It’s soccer.

  4. dalecooperscoffee - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Jog on macca, bitter Liverpool fan eh?

  5. dalecooperscoffee - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Also the part about the Munich air crash has to be one of the most offensive and deluded descriptions I’ve ever heard.

  6. adamthemanc - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    Macca is definitely a Loserpool supporter, only someone so brain dead, tactless and lacking in football knowledge could support the scouse scum of the premier league!

    Man Utd the team that Murdoch built???… I don’t think i’ve heard anything so stupid in my life!
    Let me guess macca, this year is Loserpool’s year, right?

    What a joke!

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